Shipping in Hong Kong


The 'comprehensive shipping team' at HFW houses a 'wealth of experienced partners and associates'who are able to 'handle all matters related to shipping: wet, dry, finance and everything in between'. Clients, which include prominent shipowners, P&I clubs, brokers and charterers, also benefit from the team's ability to tap into the firm's wide-ranging network, with practitioners based in other key maritime locations, including Shanghai, Singapore, Piraeus and London. The 'vastly experiencedGeorge Lamplough is well regarded across both wet and dry matters, including transnational fraud and international trade disputes. 'Very commercial' team head Christopher Chan has an excellent reputation throughout Southeast Asia across the spectrum of maritime disputes, from collisions and salvages to charter party disputes and cargo claims. Senior associate Nicola Hui is 'excellent at handling shipping disputes' and is well-positioned to deal directly with clients throughout Southeast Asia by virtue of her tri-lingual language capabilities, including English, Cantonese and Mandarin.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Chan


‘The team is able to deal with all sorts of shipping related claims, inter-alia, dry/commercial disputes, wet claims and fraudulent claims.’

‘The service has been consistently good across different specialties in the shipping space whether it be new building contract-related, cargo claims or  General Average.’

‘The team provides a knowledgeable and solutions-oriented service.’

‘Christopher Chan and George Lamplough are very strong at handling cargo and hull claims.’

Key clients

Owners and P&I Insurers of SANCHI

Ever Judger Holding Company

Fat Kee Stevedores

Caravel Shipping Inc

New Shipping Ltd

Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation

Work highlights

  • Acting for the owners of the oil tanker SANCHI, which on the 6 January 2018 collided with bulk carrier CF CRYSTAL. The collision caused a catastrophic fire on board SANCHI and her entire crew, the vessel and all of her cargo were lost.
  • Acting for the owner of the M/V EVER JUDGER, which has been detained in Indonesia following allegations that its anchor caused damage to a pipeline owned by PT Pertamina (the Indonesian state-owned oil company) resulting in the loss of the lives of several local fisherman and substantial environmental damage.
  • Acting for 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 on 20 January 2019.
  • Advising Caravel Shipping Inc as sub-charterers in a complex shipping dispute involving the alleged misdelivery of a cargo of steam coal in bulk discharged at a major Indian port.
  • Assisting Navios with the swapping of Hong Kong flagged vessels between two facilities.


Benefiting from 'outstanding shipping knowledge' out of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore, Ince is well-placed to provide 'commercially oriented advice' to clients throughout Southeast Asia across the spectrum of wet, dry and transactional matters. The team benefits from a 'strong bench strength of knowledgeable partners', including Rosita Lau and Max Cross, who regularly handle complex multi-jurisdictional shipping-related commercial disputes, with Lau particularly noted for her 'excellent arbitration capabilities'. Master mariner Richard Oakley is a pivotal member of the team on the ground in Hong Kong forming an integral part of the firm's cross-office dedicated emergency response offering that is able to provide round-the-clock representation in relation to marine casualties anywhere in the world. Senior partner David Beaves has vast experience across corporate, commercial and banking transactions in the shipping sector and has a particular engagement and knowledge of China's Belt and Road Initiative. Managing associate Ruaridh Guy 's broad-ranging expertise extends beyond his core wet and dry competence to include work flowing from the international trade and commodities sector, as well as insolvency-related disputes in the shipping sector.

Practice head(s):

David Beaves


‘The solid shipping practice handles a wide variety of wet and dry shipping matters.’

‘The firm keeps clients up to date on key developments in the sector, through electronic and face-to-face sessions.’

‘David Beaves and Gary Wong excel at handling newbuild construction contracts, rig sales and China market matters, to name a few.’

Key clients

Hamburg Commercial Bank (Singapore branch)

Work highlights

  • Advising Hamburg Commercial Bank, as agent and security trustee, in respect of the $67.5m secured term loan facility to ten subsidiaries of Jinhui, a Hong Kong-listed shipping company, for the purpose of refinancing ten Hong Kong flagged supramax bulkers.
  • Acting for a China-based leasing company on the sale and leaseback transaction between it and a well-known Greek shipowner.
  • Acting for a major Australian bank on a refinancing transaction on behalf of a shipowner in Hong Kong.

Hill Dickinson Hong Kong

Hill Dickinson Hong Kong's two-partner team is a relatively established presence in the Hong Kong market and is effectively able to harness shipping strength from across key firmwide offices, including London and Singapore, to provide a 'professional and customer-oriented service' across the gamut of wet and dry litigation. Damien Laracy has 'in-depth understanding of international maritime laws and practices', which he implements to good effect across a panoply of complex maritime disputes, including in relation to the enforcement of ship mortgages on behalf of banks and shipowners. The arrival in October 2018 of 'practical and effective' PRC- and UK-qualified practitioner Edward Liu has significantly enhanced the firm's profile in the mainland Chinese market among shipowners, charterers and operators, particularly in light of his ability to guide indigenous entities dealing with international arbitration and litigation.


‘The firm has a very good reputation for shipping work.’

‘Edward Liu has an excellent reputation among Chinese clients.’

Work highlights

  • Represented a ship operator in the defence of cargo damage liability and/or to claim indemnity damage against a Container Operator under a Vessel Sharing Agreement.
  • Representing shipowners in bringing an unsafe berth claim under a charterparty.
  • Represented a P&I Club on behalf of one of its members in a claim against the charterer arising from a breach of charterparty.
  • Representing the shipowners in the defence of hull and equipment deficiency claims by charterers and to claim unpaid hire from charterers.
  • Representing shipowners in a dispute over the level of fee in relation to an oil cleaning service.

Reed Smith Richards Butler

Reed Smith Richards Butler provides 'timely, practical and professional advice' to P&I clubs, owners and charterers across the spectrum of wet, dry and transactional matters, including charterparty and shipbuilding contract disputes, cargo claims, marine casualties and salvage. Team head Lianjun Li  has 'rich experience' in relation to PRC-related shipping matters, where he benefits from 'good Mandarin speaking skills'and is 'able to quickly grasp the crux of the problem'. Solicitor-advocate Jason Toms stands out in the market for his 'very effective litigation skills', with expertise running the gamut from bills of lading, charter party and marine casualties. On the wet front, the team also benefits from the ability to tap into the expertise of master mariner Ron Clark , while associate Joyce Cheung is noted for her skill in defending cargo claims.

Practice head(s):

Lianjun Li and Peter Lee


‘The team provides very practical and flexible advice.’

Stephenson Harwood

Led out of Hong Kong by the 'hardworking and skilledAndrew Rigden Green, and also able to leverage the expertise of practitioners based in Shanghai and Singapore, Stephenson Harwood has an excellent reputation in the local market across a range of litigation, arbitration and commercial shipping work. In addition to his transactional and advisory expertise (which includes advice on the sale and carriage of goods; the chartering, maintenance and operation of ships), Ridgen Green also has a 'very wide range of disputes expertise in the sector', running the gamut from charterparty and cargo disputes, through to the representation of trade finance banks seeking to enforce security over bills of lading. Hong Kong-, UK- and Australia-qualified senior associate Elizabeth Sloane has a flourishing reputation across a range of multi-jurisdictional disputes, and has handled numerous high-profile casualties, collisions and groundings across the Asia Pacific region.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Rigden Green

Other key lawyers:

Guijun Wang; Elizabeth Sloane

Key clients

Compnia Sud Americana de Vapores

Guodian Shipping (Hong Kong) Co.

Michharry and Company Nigeria Limited

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

Work highlights

  • Advising the shipowners in relation to a grounding of the SOLOMON TRADER in Solomon Islands.
  • Advising OCBC Wing Hang Bank on the recovery of damages from a shipowner in relation to the failure of shipowners to deliver cargo against the original bills of lading.
  • Advising The Swedish Club Hong Kong Ltd., and its member T.S. Lines Ltd in relation to a cargo damage case.

Tsui & Co

Headed by Sam Tsui, Tsui & Co's two-partner shipping team is particularly noted for handling insurance-related shipping disputes on behalf of a range of clients, including P&I Clubs and owners.

Practice head(s):

Sam Tsui

Other key lawyers:

Stella Kong

Clyde & Co LLP

Bolstered on the transactional front by virtue of Christopher Jobson's relocation from the firm's Abu Dhabi office, and also continuing to provide a strong service across the spectrum of wet and dry litigation, Clyde & Co LLP's three-partner team provides 'technically very strong advice' to a broad mix of owners, P&I clubs, charterers and shipyards. Praised for his 'responsiveness and ability to provide high-quality advice in a short time period', Hong Kong- and UK-qualified partner Matthew Lam's work spans both arbitration and litigation, with a focus on casualty, cargo and charter party claims. The team also benefits from the ability to leverage substantial international expertise in core shipping hubs including London and Shanghai.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Jobson

Other key lawyers:

Anthony Woo; Matthew Lam; Iain Clayton


‘The team is very solid and consists of a wide range of lawyers qualified in more than one jurisdiction.’

‘The lawyers are all technically sound and can break down complex issues in an efficient manner.’


Since their arrival in September 2018 from RPCAndrew Horton and Steven Wise have very effectively galvanised CMS' maritime practice in the region, adding to the firm's existing financing and transactional offering. The 'calm, detailed and reliable' Wise represents owners, P&I clubs and charterers across a myriad of contractual and tortious disputes, particularly in relation to litigation arising out of charter parties, bills of lading, sale and purchase contacts and insurance policies. Recognised as 'the best for arrests in Hong Kong', Horton has built up a tremendous amount of experience in enforcement and security actions throughout Asia Pacific, and has transplanted this expertise to his new firm, bringing numerous ongoing cases with him, as well a vast network of connections in the region. Senior associate John Butler is also recommended for international arbitration and complex commercial disputes in the shipping arena.

Other key lawyers:

Gwen Vetuz; Helen Tang; John Butler


‘Steven Wise is calm, detailed and very reliable.’

‘Andrew Horton is the best for arrests in Hong Kong.’

Work highlights

  • Representing a trading house in a dispute with shipowners, following damage sustained by to the vessel during loading.
  • Acting for Korean operators in complex charterparty disputes arising out of the collision of the chartered vessel with the tanker vessel.

DLA Piper

Co-headed out of Hong Kong by the 'efficient and client-friendlyErnest Yang and Kevin Chan, and also regularly working alongside practitioners in mainland China, as well as other key maritime jurisdictions across its international network, DLA Piper provides 'commercial and value-for-money advice' to owners, charterers, operators and shipyards across the panoply of litigation, commercial and transactional engagements. Chan has excellent credentials among Chinese and international shipping entities and is appreciated for his 'insightful and commercial advice' across both litigation and commercial mandates. Benefiting from excellent credentials on the litigation and arbitration front, Nicholas Mallard regularly handles shipbuilding, offshore engineering shipping, and sale of goods disputes.

Practice head(s):

Ernest Yang and Kevin Chan

Other key lawyers:

Nicholas Mallard


‘The firm stands out for its ability to provide an accurate assessment of the legal and commercial risks in any given matter.’

‘The team excels in providing innovative recommendations and formulating effective strategies in arbitration cases.’

Work highlights

  • Advising a major China-based shipping company in two London-seated arbitrations centered around MOA for cross chartering and charterparty documents which were later settled.
  • Acting for a large Chinese shipyard in parallel proceedings in Hong Kong and London in respect of disputes arising out of an assignment of a series of shipbuilding contracts against a major bank in Hong Kong.
  • Advising a leading ports developer in an ICC arbitration seated in London to pursue a claim against a Gulf-based company. The matter is complicated by a number of issues including the validity of a number of agreements and contractual ability under the laws governing those agreements.
  • Advising a major steel producer in a Hong Kong seated arbitration against a buyer of their goods under UNCITRAL rules following a dispute over the payment obligation of the buyer.
  • Representing a major China-based shipping company in a Hong Kong-seated arbitration against a European agent for breach of agency agreement.

Howse Williams

The 'knowledgeable and efficient' team at independent local law firm Howse Williams 何韋律師行 regularly advises owners, insurers, charterers and freight forwarders on both wet and dry matters throughout Asia. Founding partner Chris Howse has a strong reputation in the local market, with particular expertise handling problems arising from the shipment of coal, iron ore, nickel ore and fluorspar. Legally qualified former mariner David Coogans handles a range of wet and dry work, and is well-placed to represent clients engaged in 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).

Norton Rose Fulbright

A key component of a global shipping team that includes experts throughout Asia Pacific, North America, South Africa and Europe, Norton Rose Fulbright's Hong Kong office has a 'strong reputation in the industry' for its domestic and multi-jurisdictional work on behalf of shipowners, charterers and trading companies. Praised for its 'solutions-oriented advice and analytical thinking', the team is well attuned to the needs of Chinese shipping clients and regularly handles big-ticket multi-jurisdictional international arbitrations. Master mariner Peter Glover is a key resource to clients across a range of shipping matters and has substantially enhanced the firm's capabilities (particularly for wet matters) following his relocation from the London office in 2017. The 'outstandingJim James is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Peter Glover

Other key lawyers:

Jim James; Kevin Hong; Annabella Chu


‘The firm’s professional ethics and reputation are outstanding in the industry.’

‘Jim James provides practical and commercial advice on international arbitration matters.’

Key clients


Bank of China

Bank of Communications Financial Leasing Co.

BNP Paribas

CDB Finance Leasing


CMB Financial Leasing

COSCO China Shipping

CSSC (Hong Kong) Shipping

DHT Holdings

Dong Fang International Investment Limited (now Florens)

Export Import Bank of China


ICBC Financial Leasing Co.

Minsheng Financial Leasing Co.

Oldendorff Carriers

SC Lowy


Standard Chartered Bank

Work highlights

  • Acting for the owners of the Eleni and their P&I Club (Britannia, London) in a collision action against the owners of the Heung-A Dragon and in a limitation of liability action in Hong Kong arising out of the collision between the two vessels in waters off Phu My, Vietnam.
  • Representing the owners / managers and P&I Club of the crude oil tanker, Lady M, following a fire in the vessel’s engine control room.