Shipping in Hong Kong


Although HFW has successfully broadened the scope of services it is able to provide to clients in the region - to include broader litigation, corporate and finance capabilities, among others - shipping-related work remains central to the firm's strategic offering out of Hong Kong and accounts for a substantial proportion of the office's overall revenue. Led by Christopher Chan, the team's well-established practice provides comprehensive coverage to P&I clubs, charterers, and owners, across the spectrum of wet and dry matters, both in the context of purely local mandates, as well as multi-jurisdictional ones - where it is aided by a pervasive network of offices which includes experts based in other key maritime locations, including Shanghai, Singapore, Piraeus, and London. Both Chan and George Lamplough have vast litigation experience between them, from charterparty disputes and cargo claims at the "dry" end of the spectrum, through to collisions and salvages at the "wet" end. Lamplough, in particular, has developed a strong reputation helping clients navigate challenging issues of crisis management,  including piracy and ransom scenarios. Senior associate Nicola Hui is also a key member of the team and is developing a flourishing reputation among local and international shipping entities across a range of charterparty, bills of lading, and cargo claim disputes, where she is able to add value, not only as a result of her legal skills but also her language capabilities (which includes fluency in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin).

Practice head(s):

Christopher Chan


‘Very strong in all types of shipping matters.’

Key clients

Genting Hong Kong Limited

Fat Kee Stevedores Limited

Gold Star Line Ltd

PT Tugu Pratama Indonesia General Insurance

NewOcean Petroleum Co Ltd

Caravel Shipping

Work highlights

  • Advised Genting Hong Kong Limited on its $900m sale and lease back transaction of m.v. “Genting Dream”, a 2016-built cruise ship.
  • Advising a Hong Kong warehouse operation company in relation to disputes and claims arising out of a fire which broke out at the River Trade Terminal
  • Acted for Caravel Shipping Inc, as sub-charterer, together with a related Caravel entity as contractual seller, in a complex shipping dispute involving the sub-sale and alleged misdelivery of a cargo of steam coal in bulk discharged from the vessel “UNIVERSAL BREMEN” at a major Indian port.


A longstanding heavyweight in the Hong Kong market and also able to leverage significant resources in other key Asian maritime centres, including Shanghai, Beijing, and Singapore, Ince continues to be seen with great regularity in many of the region's most significant disputes and transactions, for a varied roster of clients, including shipowners, port and terminal owners, lessors and P&I clubs. Experienced senior partners Rosita Lau and Max Cross head up the office's dry shipping offering and provide commercial and astute advice to clients across a myriad contentious cross-border mandates, including bills of lading, loss of cargo, pollution claims, and coverage disputes. Master mariner Richard Oakley forms an integral part of the firm's cross-office dedicated emergency response offering that is able to provide round-the-clock representation to clients in marine casualties anywhere in the world. As well as his sector-specific transactional expertise across corporate, commercial and financing matters, senior partner David Beaves is also recognised for his thought leadership on trends and developments impacting the global trade and shipping sectors. Managing associate Ruaridh Guy has a versatile shipping practice that not only includes work across a range of core wet and dry disputes, but also commodities-related work, as well as drafting and negotiations in relation to charterparties and sale contracts.

Practice head(s):

Paul Ho; David Beaves; Gary Wong

Key clients

Taiping & Sinopec Financial Leasing

CMB Financial Leasing Co Ltd

CSSC (Hong Kong) Shipping Company Limited (“CSSC”)

Commodities & Minerals Enterprise Ltd

Shanghai Time Shipping / The Swedish Club / PICC

China COSCO Shipping (various subsidiaries)

Work highlights

  • Represented a shipowner in a high-profile dispute in the English High Court which made new law in relation to the“must scarp” clause in ship sale and purchase contracts and sets the precedent for the English and global maritime industry.
  • Advising Commodities & Minerals Enterprise as claimant in US arbitrations relating to (i) the non-payment of hire and other costs under a time charter and damages for early redelivery and (ii) non-payment for provision of services in relation to a contract for the operation of an iron ore transfer station at the mouth of the Orinoco River, including damages for early termination.
  • Represented CMB Financial Leasing on the sale and leaseback of the cruise ship Genting Dream, in what was the first ever syndicated leasing transaction in history.

Hill Dickinson LLP

Benefiting from a longstanding shipping heritage, both in the region and internationally, Hill Dickinson Hong Kong office forms a vital part of the firm's overarching maritime offering, which is effectively able to service the local and international needs of a broad range of clients, including P&I clubs, owners and charterers. Damien Laracy spearheads much of the firm's contentious shipping work and is well-versed at handling formal court proceedings and international arbitrations, as well as providing advice on the pre-emptive early steps to secure claims by way of injunctive relief. Laracy also has experience advising on ship mortgage enforcement work, and ship arrests, for both banks and other creditors, and this skill-set forms a vital component of the firm's ancillary strength in relation to restructuring and insolvency work in the maritime sector, an area that is overseen by commercial and insolvencies disputes head Brian O’Hare. PRC and UK-qualified legal director Edward Liu is well regarded across a range of shipping litigation and arbitration, and continues to grow the firm's presence among owners, charterers, and operators in mainland China. The team is rounded out by Antony Cowie, who regularly handles transactional shipping work (including sale and purchase agreements, charterparties) as part of his broader corporate,  commercial, and finance offering.

Other key lawyers:

Pansy Tsang; Maggie Lee; Felix Cheung


‘Hill Dickinson is well known in the shipping industry.’

‘The client-friendly and responsive Edward Liu has excellent credentials among Chinese and international shipping companies for arbitration and commercial mandates. As a Chinese lawyer and English solicitor, Edward has in-depth insights into and knowledge of Chinese and English law and the shipping industry.’

Key clients

COSCO SHIPPING Energy Transportation Co., Ltd.

Elim Spring Marine (Hong Kong) Limited

HBIS Group Co., Ltd

China Minsheng Banking Corp., Ltd.

COSCO (HK) Shipping Co Ltd

Yongchuang International (Singapore) Pte Ltd

Hydor AS

Ratu Shipping Co SA

Simpson Marine Limited

Cargo Container Line Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising shipping company in relation to Iran sanctions.
  • Advising the purchaser on liability and risk in respect of lost cargo on board a ship, following its running aground off the coast of Brazil
  • Acting for a P&I Club in relation to heavy lift cargo damage during the discharge process when the wire of the vessel’s crane suddenly parted and cargo fell.


Co-headed from Hong Kong by Steven Wise and Andrew Horton, and benefiting from the ability to draw upon the expertise of lawyers based on the ground in mainland China and Singapore, CMS provides an integrated service to a range of shipping stakeholders, including P&I clubs, owners and charterers. Although the team has capability across the bandwidth of dry and wet litigation, it is perhaps best-known for its ship arrest prowess, and benefits from many years' experience negotiating security guarantees and bail bonds, as well as taking action to obtain security for claims in many other jurisdictions, via arrest or similar proceedings. Senior associate John Butler continues to develop a strong practice across a range of shipping-related international arbitration and commercial disputes.

Practice head(s):

Steven Wise; Andrew Horton

Other key lawyers:

John Butler; Helen Tang


‘The team has many years of practical experience in maritime affairs, and has a deep history of co-operation with ship transactions under English law and Chinese leasing companies in overseas ship business.’

‘The team is able to understand the ideas and needs of Chinese customers.’

Key clients

Bumi Armada Berhad

CCB Financial Leasing Corporation Limited

Charterers’ P&I Club

COSCO Shipping



ICBC Financial Leasing

Jaldhi Overseas Pte Ltd

Noble Group Ltd

The UK P&I Club

Work highlights

  • Advising CCB Financial Leasing Corporation Limited in respect of the $206m sale and leaseback financing and delivery, of the FSRU “Höegh Galleon” to be chartered to a Bermudan incorporated affiliate of Höegh LNG.
  • Advising Jaldhi Overseas, a Singapore-based vessel company, in opposing the restoration of a Hong Kong company to the register. The applicants were representatives of IRISL, the Iranian national shipping corporation, which is currently under US sanctions. It was the first reported case of successful objection to the restoration of a company to the Hong Kong register of companies.
  • Representing a PRC Shipping company in several ongoing disputes with minority shareholders under a shareholder agreement and counter-guarantee relating to a joint-venture company incorporated in Hong Kong which operates semi-submersible heavy-lift vessels.

Howse Williams

Instructed directly by clients, including charterers, shipowners, and insurers, as well as receiving a significant amount of law firm referrals, independent Hong Kong-based law firm Howse Williams has an excellent pedigree across a wide array of wet and dry shipping litigation. 'Very capable and well-connected' founding partner Chris Howse has lots of experience in the local market, with particular expertise handling problems arising from the shipment of coal, iron ore, nickel ore, and fluorspar. David Coogans co-heads the team, alongside Howse, and as well as representing clients in charterparty and bills of lading disputes, is also well-versed at handling admiralty matters, including collision, salvage, and pollution cases. The team also has niche expertise handling personal injury work for shipowners and terminals, where it benefits from the ability to tap into the expertise of a medico-legal department (that includes two partners also qualified as doctors).

Practice head(s):

Chris Howse; David Coogans


‘Chris Howse is very capable and well-connected.’

Reed Smith Richards Butler

Reed Smith Richards Butler's Hong Kong office mirrors the firm's overarching strength in the maritime sector across a range of wet and dry litigation, as well as ancillary expertise in related corporate, commercial, and finance work. The team is led by market-leading shipping litigator Lianjun Li , who 'provides practical, helpful and solutions-oriented advice' to P&I clubs, as well as PRC-based owners and charterers. Peter Glover 's recruitment in September 2019 from Norton Rose Fulbright strengthens the team on the wet side and his arrival means the office now has two master mariners within its ranks (the other being Ron Clark ). Associate Joyce Cheung is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Lianjun Li


‘The firm provides knowledgeable, efficient, and cost-effective advice.’

‘Lianjun Li provides practical, helpful, and solutions-oriented advice.’

Stephenson Harwood

Led out of Hong Kong by the 'practical and pragmaticAndrew Rigden Green, and also able to draw upon the expertise of shipping lawyers based out of Singapore and Shanghai, Stephenson Harwood has the resources and knowledge to handle a tremendous range of contentious and non-contentious shipping-related work throughout Asia Pacific. On the litigation front, the team has garnered a particularly strong reputation handling cross-border enforcement work, including injunctions and forum challenges, while shipbuilding arbitration is another niche area of expertise. Recently promoted partner Elizabeth Sloane has 'substantial experience' across a range of wet and dry litigation, as well as trade finance and banking disputes with a shipping and commodities focus. The team welcomed of counsel Jason Toms who rejoined the firm from Reed Smith Richards Butler in March 2021.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Rigden Green

Other key lawyers:

Elizabeth Sloane; Jason Toms


‘The shipping disputes team is very strong and reliable – I know I am going to get clear, straightforward, and accurate advice. I find the team very easy to work with, approachable, accessible, and responsive.’

‘Andrew Rigden Green provides practical and pragmatic shipping advice.’

‘Andrew Rigden Green is a standout practitioner. He has the expertise to assist us with a range of matters, but also makes himself available for ad hoc questions and assistance.’

‘Elizabeth Sloane is a strong practitioner and we particularly appreciate her ability to reality check junior staff while at the same time providing pragmatic advice.’

‘Elizabeth Sloane has substantial experience in shipping (wet and dry), trade, fraud, and insolvency matters, which gives Elizabeth a broad context when seeking her advice. She is very responsive and understands what in-house counsel needs.’

Key clients

China Development Bank

China Development Bank Financial Leasing

Everbright Fortune International Leasing

Guodian Shipping (Hong Kong) Co. Ltd

ICBC Financial Leasing Ltd.

The People’s Insurance Co of China (Hong Kong) Ltd

The Export-Import Bank of China

CMB Financial Leasing Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Acted for OCBC Wing Hanh Bank Ltd, the successful party to this leading Hong Kong case which confirms definitively for the first time under Hong Kong law that express wording must be used in order to incorporate an arbitration clause from a charterparty into a bill of lading.
  • Representing Société Générale in an approx. $80m claim in the Hong Kong High Court arising out of an alleged bunker marine fuel oil trading fraud.

Clyde & Co LLP

Led out of Hong Kong by Christopher Jobson and benefiting from a strong regional presence, which includes key offices in mainland China and Singapore, Clyde & Co LLP provides an effective service to owners, P&I clubs, cargo insurers, charterers, and operators across a myriad of shipping litigation and arbitration. The team is particularly focused on dry disputes, including charterparty, casualty, and cargo-related arbitration and litigation. English, Cantonese, and Mandarin-speaking partner Matthew Lam has an excellent reputation among local and international clients and has recently handled several large cargo claims.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Jobson

DLA Piper

Conversant with a range of arbitral rules and also well-positioned to handle multi-jurisdictional mandates by virtue of the firm's extensive international network of offices, DLA Piper provides a 'cost-effective and client-oriented service' to owners, charterers, operators and shipyards, across the spectrum of dry shipping and marine casualty work. Ernest Yang and the 'outstandingKevin Chan co-head the practice, which is also well-versed at handling big-ticket disputes involving overlapping projects and infrastructure mandates, where it is also able to leverage complementary practice areas within the firm.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Chan; Ernest Yang


‘The firm provides a cost-effective and client-oriented service.’

‘The team as a whole demonstrated outstanding efforts of professionalism in analyzing the merits and demerits of the current arbitration case. The lawyers involved realistically anticipated the possible issues and unexpected events beforehand arising from the arbitration proceedings.’

‘Kevin Chan is an outstanding team leader, with a great commercial understanding of his cases and excellent client care skills.’

Key clients

Ping An Property & Casualty Insurance Company of China

Tsui & Co

Leveraging off his strong ties with P&I clubs, insurers, charterers, and owners, Tsui & Co's name partner Sam Tsui has a strong reputation in the local market across a range of insurance-related disputes, both from a traditional litigation and arbitration perspective. As well as core shipping expertise relating to charterparty and bills of lading disputes, and freight forwarding, Tsui also handles maritime-related personal injury work.

Practice head(s):

Sam Tsui

Other key lawyers:

Raymond Chan


‘Sam Tsui is practical, straightforward, and can be relied on to take care of the client’s interests.’

Key clients

Dayang (HK) Marine Shipping Co Ltd

Vanbloom Shipping Limited

Fuji Trading Co Ltd

Work highlights

  • Represented Dayang (HK) Shipping Co in a charterparty dispute regarding one of its vessels.