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  1. Transport: shipping
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Who Represents Who

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HFW capitalises on its large global team, and all its Australian partners are dual qualified in Australia and the UK. The practice acted for Toll Shipping and its hull and machinery insurers on a claim against an engineering company regarding negligent workmanship; it also represented Triton Shipping as owners of the vessel OOCL Hong Kong in relation to a collision at Port Botany, with a total matter value of A$1.5m. Gavin Vallely’s strengths include ‘his in-depth knowledge of the industry and his commercial awareness of industry players; Hazel Brewer, Stephen Thompson and Nic van der Reyden are also recommended.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s team is led by master mariner Ernest van Buuren and handles a wide range of matters in the sector, among them ship finance, asset restructuring and insolvency, casualty response, environmental issues, and risk advisory issues. The practice represented Rio Tinto Aluminium in a A$5m claim against Svitzer Australia for loss and damage associated with tugs operating with materials containing asbestos, a dispute litigated in the Supreme Court of Queensland. DP World Australia received advice on the impact of Hanjin Shipping going into administration; the company was owed A$1.3m for stevedoring services. Hazel Brasington and special counsel Michelle Taylor are also singled out. Norton Rose Fulbright and Henry Davis York have announced their intention to merge in late 2017.

Clyde & Co LLP’s seven-partner team counts offshore oil and gas as a key focus for contentious and non-contentious work; it also covers dry shipping and marine insurance matters as well as wet shipping and casualty cases. The team represented JKC Australia, charterers of a purpose-built hydro platform for the safe offloading of project cargo for the Ichthys LNG project, in relation to the platform’s redelivery and removal from its berth. Leighton Contractors, Thiess Holdings and CGU Insurance instructed the team in a dispute arising from the grounding of a barge laden with high-value project cargo for the Gorgon LNG project. Practice head Maurice Thompson is recommended, as are Brian Nash and counsel James Cooper. Jonathan Wyatt joined from Sparke Helmore Lawyers; Avryl Lattin has been promoted to partner.

Colin Biggers & Paisley’s team, which is headed by Andrew Tulloch, has been strengthened by counsel Richard Arrage and Stephen Thompson arriving from K&L Gates; Thompson has a focus on maritime M&A, construction, ship sale and purchase, and charter matters. Insurance is another strength: the team regularly acts for Chubb and QBE. The team is representing the Country Fire Authority in A$4m Federal Court proceedings concerning fire services provided to extinguish a fire aboard the Awassi Express. A marine insurer of a forwarder receives advice on shipping issues arising from Dick Smith’s liquidation.

The ‘excellent’ team at HWL Ebsworth has ‘great local contacts’, and delivers a ‘good combination of practical commercial advice and technical knowledge’. It continues to act for a large number of P&I clubs, which is a particular focus of the practice. The team advised and represented the owners of Hanjin California in connection with its arrest in Sydney in 2016 following the insolvency of the vessel’s charterer Hanjin Shipping. Mount Isa Mines, owners of the Thor Commander, received advice in relation to $2m-worth of salvage services provided to the ship following an engine breakdown close to the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland. Practice head Joe Hurley and Simon Liddy are ‘commercial, experienced, very efficient, and render accurate advice’.

At boutique firm Cocks MacNish, Timothy Cocks is regarded as ‘a very good operator’, advising a wide range of clients. The team regularly acts for shipowners and charterers, oil companies, shippers and receivers of bulk, government bodies, hull and machinery underwriters, shipyards and ship financiers. The Perth-based practice regularly acts for clients in maritime matters regarding the establishment, development and operation of oil and gas fields off the coast of Western Australia. Ashley Nichols has experience in maritime casualty investigations and marine cargo disputes.

Mills Oakley Lawyersprovides exactly the level of service and expertise required at competitive rates’. It acts predominantly for marine insurers and, apart from its local client base, regularly advises UK-based insurers and claims agencies as well as international freight forwarders. It advised several marine insurers and cargo owners on claims regarding stranded cargo containers in connection with the insolvencies of Hanjin Shipping and Great Southern Shipping, and defended a hull and machinery insurer in proceedings commenced by an insured entity in the Supreme Court of New South Wales following the insurer’s denial of a $4m claim for damage following grounding in Papua New Guinea. AIG Insurance and Chubb are also key clients. ‘Excellent communicator’ Frazer Hunt has ‘great commercial instincts’ and ‘years of solid experience’, and clients ‘can depend heavily on his advice’. Associate Maurice Lynch possesses ‘excellent in-depth knowledge’ and is ‘a terrific communicator with excellent negotiation skills’.

Boutique firm Norton White acts for shipowners, banks, insurers and charterers; Robert Wilson is noted for his maritime focus. The Sydney-based practice represents clients in admiralty claims and arrest and ownership disputes, and assists clients with bills of lading issues and in cases of casualties, collisions or stranding. Antitrust matters within the maritime industry are another focus area.

Thynne + Macartney significantly grew its practice by merging with Brian White & Associates, welcoming consultant Brian White, who has a particular focus on Papua New Guinea and Melanesia. Clients include shipowners and charterers, ship managers and agents, transport companies, and repairers. It continues to represent the liability insurer in relation to the A$193m grounding of Shen Neng 1 in 2010, resulting in a number of issues, among them criminal prosecutions and civil action for alleged environmental damage. The team regularly acts for QBE Insurance, Vero National Marine, the International Transport Intermediaries Club and all members of the International Group of P&I Clubs. Head of team Michael Fisher is recommended, as is Matthew Hockaday.

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