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Vedder Thinking | News Francis X. Nolan, III Receives Meritorious Public Service Award from the U.S. Coast Guard

Global Transportation Finance Shareholder Recognized for Outstanding Contributions to the United States Coast Guard as President of The Maritime Law Association of the United States

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Vedder Price is pleased to announce that Global Transportation Finance Shareholder Francis X. Nolan, III has received the Meritorious Public Service Award and the accompanying medal from the U.S. Coast Guard Commandant in recognition of his outstanding contributions as President of The Maritime Law Association of the United States (MLA).

The award, presented to Mr. Nolan on May 1, 2020 at the MLA Spring Meeting via teleconference by RADM Melissa Bert, Judge Advocate General, cites Mr. Nolan’s “forward leaning initiatives that helped forge meaningful dialogue between key industry stakeholders, federal government representatives and the international community to address increasingly complicated and challenging maritime issues. His insightful counsel and comprehensive knowledge of maritime and international law were vital in addressing emerging issues of concern to the global community.” In addition, his “exceptional professionalism and sense of public service are most heartily commended and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.”

“I am humbled and honored to receive this recognition, and appreciate the successful efforts of the MLA membership to gather on Zoom since we couldn’t all be together in person for our Spring Meeting,” said Mr. Nolan. “I’ve worked diligently to support and enhance relationships with the Coast Guard and am gratified that these efforts have achieved such positive results and active engagement with industry and government representatives. I’m leaving my tenure as MLA President feeling incredibly grateful for the last two years at the helm during such an exciting period in the maritime industry.”

Mr. Nolan is a longtime member of the maritime bar and the third generation of his family in the maritime industry. The citation accompanying the award notes that Mr. Nolan “served as a key advisor to the United States delegation to the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Legal Committee, vigorously advancing important United States’ positions at the Committee’s Working Group on Fraudulent Registries. Recognizing the necessity for the legal practitioners to keep pace with new technological threats to the maritime environment, Mr. Nolan strongly supported the establishment of a standing committee on Cybersecurity, which resulted in active engagement with national security experts to advance awareness of maritime cyber risks and the Coast Guard’s Cyber Strategy. Mr. Nolan also used his lightning wit, convivial humor, and gravitas to create robust dialogues between the Coast Guard and expert legal practitioners in marine pollution, marine casualty investigations, and autonomous vessels, which served to advance the Coast Guard’s strategy for managing $5.8 trillion dollars in maritime commerce on U.S. waterways.”

In introductory remarks, Admiral Bert commented on Mr. Nolan’s service. “All of you know Frank Nolan as this extraordinary attorney, leader and leading legal figure in the maritime industry and maritime financing, but his service has gone beyond serving these communities.” She specifically cited his help to the U.S. Government with informed guidance on international trade law and advice as a member of the U.S. delegation to the International Maritime Organization Legal Committee for measures to prevent unlawful registration and fraudulent registries of ships. Admiral Bert concluded, “This is going to be a lasting contribution toward the improvement of the integrity and security of the world’s flag states and fleets.”


Francis X. Nolan, III