Company Profile
Company Directors
Max Hardberger Profile
Michael Bono Profile
Client Referral Rewards
About — Operations Director Capt. Max Hardberger

Max Hardberger's diverse background includes experience as a ship captain, maritime lawyer, port captain, commercial pilot, flight instructor, and classification society surveyor.  He is also a published author and a court-recognized maritime expert.  As Operations Director for VessEx, he brings wide-ranging legal, maritime, and special-project expertise to the task of asset recovery and protection.  With Capt. Hardberger in command of extraction and protection operations, VessEx clients benefit by having the vital experience of many professions in one man.

A Ship Captain ... Capt. Hardberger earned a Panamanian Certificate of Competency as an Unlimited Master Mariner and has spent a number of years at sea serving as master of ocean cargo vessels in the general cargo trade.

A Shore-Side Vessel Operator ... His shore-side operational experience includes employment as a vessel technical manager, port captain, and liner-service operations manager.  As a port captain, Capt. Hardberger worked in most major ports of the Caribbean and on the north and west coasts of South America.  He has developed an extensive network of contacts throughout Latin America and Europe, including Greece, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Poland and Russia.

A Marine Surveyor ... In addition to possessing extensive operational experience, Capt. Hardberger is an expert surveyor and salvage master.  His surveying expertise includes vessel construction and condition, vessel valuation, collision and allision causation analysis, cargo stowage and damage, dock damage, charter-party review, and lay-time and demurrage calculation.

  • Hull & Machinery Surveyor.  Capt. Hardberger earned certification in Hull & Machinery by the National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS).  As a surveyor, he has supervised numerous repair operations, including Port State Control detention-item remediation, drydocking, and class-mandated repairs. 
  • Classification Society Surveyor.  A unique benefit to VessEx clients is Capt. Hardberger's credentials as a senior marine surveyor.  He has been a class surveyor for Panama, Belize, and Honduras, and he currently performs pre-purchase surveys, marine risk-assessment surveys, and P&I surveys for most of the world's major P&I clubs, including UK P&I, West of England, Steamship Mutual, and the American Club. 
  • Salvage Master.  Capt. Hardberger's experience as a surveyor also extends to acting as salvage master.  In this area his experience includes wreck stabilization, pollution prevention, ballasting operations, external and internal lifting, emergency hull repair, and towage.

An Aviator ... Capt. Hardberger also holds current instrument, multi-engine, and flight instructor licenses from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.  His experience in this area includes acting as a flight instructor and crop duster.  He has also delivered a large number of aircraft to Latin America from the United States.  Capt. Hardberger possesses over forty years of aviation experience. 

A Maritime Lawyer ... After his admission to the California bar, Capt. Hardberger began specializing in vessel arrests, charter party formation and performance, package limitation, salvage, and stevedoring issues.

An Author ... Capt. Hardberger is also the author of Freighter Captain (1998), a semi-autobiographical account of a series of voyages on a tramp freighter in the Caribbean, and Deadweight:  Owning the Ocean Freighter (1994), a textbook on ship ownership.  Deadweight has been described as “Required Reading” by Fairplay Magazine and was quoted in Lloyd's Ship Manager.  In 2010, the Broadway Books imprint of Random House, the world's largest English-language publisher, released SEIZED, Capt. Hardberger's ship recovery memoirs.  He is also the author of several articles on maritime security, including “The Prevention and Care of Stowaways,” published in The Maritime Security Handbook (U.S. Department of Transportation, 1994).  In addition, Capt. Hardberger is the author of more than one hundred articles in WorkBoat Magazine, Marine News, and National Fisherman. 

A Court Appointed Expert ... Capt. Hardberger has also supervised a number of major marine projects.  His expertise was invaluable to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in 1999, when, after several unsuccessful attempts by others, the Honorable Charles Schwartz appointed him to take charge of an abandoned freighter in the Mississippi River, transit her upriver as a “dead ship,” and transship her cargo of 40,000 tons of CARE/World Vision wheat for delivery to Africa.

On Extraction Operations ... Capt. Hardberger’s maritime expertise has also been of service to clients whose ships were seized in non-U.S. ports on fraudulent claims.  He has been successful in each case by utilizing legal acumen, local contacts, and maritime expertise to remove the subject vessel from the port of seizure and deliver her to a port where the legal system protected the owner’s rights.

“In vessel extractions,” Capt. Hardberger says, “every situation is unique.  Each project requires different planning and preparation, and a mix of overt and covert action.  The goal may be simple, but the execution is usually complex.  What sets VessEx apart from other services is our ability to provide prudent and farsighted situation assessment as well as effective planning and action.”

Click here to read an excerpt from SEIZED detailing Captain Hardberger's efforts to free a vessel from fraudulent seizure in Haiti.

Capt. Max Hardberger

Terms of Use
 © Vessel Extractions, LLC. All rights reserved.