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Editorial

Shipping – Foreign firms

Index of tables

  1. Shipping – Foreign firms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore is commended for its 'deep and wide  knowledge of the shipping industry', 'quick turnaround, very proactive approach and commercially focused advice'. The highly regarded team is led by Asia managing director Ik Wei Chong, who is a key name for insurance and international trade, as well as shipping. The experienced Chris Metcalf has a particular focus on the insurance side of contentious and non-contentious shipping matters and Leon Alexander acts for trading and commodities clients in addition to those in the shipping sector. It advises well-known corporate, trading, insurance and shipping companies and recent work includes acting for a claimant in respect a ship's arrest, a case that was satisfactorily settled before it reached the Court of Appeal. The team also advises on collisions resulting in the damage or loss of cargo. Charmaine Fu and Shi Yi Wong were new arrivals from Ang & Partners in March 2018 and September 2017 respectively.

HFW Singapore LLP's 'top-tier' practice stands out for its industry knowledge. Its expertise spans all aspects of shipping - high-profile, contentious cases, acquisitions and sales of vessels and shipping-related financing. Toby Stephens, who transferred from the firm's London office in August 2017, heads the team and John Forrester, who also relocated from the London office, is a key name on the financing side. The team acts for P&I clubs, commodities houses, shipbuilders, clients in the offshore industries as well as financial institutions. It is handling high-profile cases concerning the grounding or collision of vessels, some of which include serious environmental damage and disputed salvage cases. The team is representing Discovery Drilling in court proceedings and an arbitration concerning an offshore rig. It is also dealing with matters that relate to the alleged breach of sanctions. The team was bolstered by the arrival of senior associate Manik Verma, who joined in August 2017 from  Watson Farley & Williams LLP, and Siri Wennevik, who joined from Wikborg Rein in January 2018. Paul Apostolis departed to join Campbell Johnston Clark Singapore LLP.

Hill Dickinson LLP is 'excellent' across all aspects of wet and dry shipping matters and 'commercially inclined, savvy, experienced and knowledgeable in comparison to other firms'. Experienced duo Tony Goldsmith and Andrew Lee 'seek out commercial solutions'. Sumeet Malhotra, who joined the team in late 2017 from the Noble Group, is noted for 'understanding commercial reality and  finding solutions that make commercial sense rather than lengthy legal routes'. Consultant Chris Quennell is 'first rate'. The team's casualty caseload includes acting for the owners of the LNG tanker Sevilla Knutsen, which was arrested in Singapore following its grounding on a coral reef off the coast of the Federated States of Micronesia; the group negotiated the security for the vessel’s release, which was subject to English law, and is handling related litigation.

Ince's 'skilled' team provides 'prompt' advice. It works with its alliance firm Incisive Law LLC and its global network of offices to provide all-round expertise across contentious and transactional maritime matters. Harry Hirst leads on admiralty work, acting for national and international clients such as shipowners, charterers, leading P&I Clubs and insurers and has handled a number of high-profile marine cases. Nicholas Lum handles international trade issues and China-facing work. Maureen Poh is a key name for charterparty disputes, carriage of goods by sea and cargo claims and is 'proactive, clear and fast in analysing specific points'. The team is acting for a client in defence of two arbitrations over the failure to pay for certain cargo, which includes a counterclaim that the shipments were not of the agreed quality. Martin Brown joined Stephenson Harwood LLP in 2018. Managing partner John Simpson has left the firm.

Reed Smith LLP, which has an alliance with Resource Law LLC, 'provides commercially sound advice at a reasonable cost and is able to handle a wide variety of disputes'.  It has well-established expertise in all aspects of wet and dry shipping work together with ship finance and transactional and regulatory matters. It routinely handles charterparty work for all types of vessels including bulk carriers and tankers, casualty responses, high-value cargo claims and shipbuilding contracts. Richard Lovell is a well-known admiralty expert and Barry Stimpson heads the dry team and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrations. Senior associate (and senior mariner) James Scott is dealing with a number of ship casualties. Mohan Subbaraman, who is the managing director of Resources Law, is valued for his 'prompt responses' and for 'being able to keep his cool'. Associate Alvin Ong is recommended andBernard Yee is also noted for his abilities handling 'the substantive and procedural aspects' of shipping matters.

Stephenson Harwood LLP has a strong track record in the shipping and offshore area and considerable finance-related expertise and is able to draw on experts from the firm's global network. Gregg Johnston, who leads the finance side of the practice, and Durai Shunmugam, who has a focus on contentious marine and international trade,  jointly head the team. Iain Young, Huay Yee Kwan and Michelle Yong are the other key practitioners. The team was strengthened by the arrival of several new hires, including Timothy Cooke,  who focuses on arbitrations and mediations, and joined from Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC's Stamford office in June 2017; senior associate Justin Gan, who  transferred from the firm's Hong Kong office in January 2018; and associates Wei Dai and Sarah Kuek, joined in mid-2017 from a Chinese bank and Gurbani & Co LLC respectively. The team was further boosted by the arrival of Martin Brown, who joined from Ince. The team's recent work includes the construction, acquisition, leaseback and sale of vessels, including offshore platforms and related joint ventures as well as cargo-related and other disputes.

At Wikborg Rein, managing partner Ian Teare has a substantial marine and shipping law practice with an emphasis on casualty matters. In conjunction with colleagues in Oslo, London and Shanghai, he represented a Chinese shipyard in a high-value dispute relating to non payment by a vessel owner for services rendered under a contract to convert a tanker to a floating production, storage and offloading unit. He is also acting for Gard (Singapore) P&I Club in connection with a fire and explosion and the total loss of the geotechnical survey vessel Geos off East Malaysia. Robert Joiner's expertise lies in disputes involving charterparties and bills of lading, which often include arbitration, and he also advises on marine insurance. Associate Emma Binnersley joined the team in March 2018 from Bentleys, Stokes and Lowless in London bringing expertise in a range of dry shipping disputes. Associate HÊlène Sironneau joined in April 2018 from Winter Scott LLP in London. Siri Wennevik is now with HFW Singapore LLP.

Ian Short heads the group at Campbell Johnston Clark Singapore LLP, which undertakes the full range of shipping mandates ranging from transactional matters to casualties involving litigation and arbitrations. Recent work includes acting for a client whose vessel was involved in a collision resulting in its sinking and the loss of life, which involved advising on the salvage and rescue organisation, and assisting P&I Clubs with insurance coverage issues. Other disputes include matters of unpaid demurrage, contamination and environmental issues and ships arrests as well as the sale and acquisition of vessels. The team has been bolstered by the arrival, in August 2018, of Paul Apostolis and Gareth Williams from HFW Singapore LLP and master mariner Andrew Gray from Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore.

The team at Kennedys Legal Solutions, which is led by Karnan Thirupathy, has  'a no-fuss and no drama approach to managing disputes, is thoughtful and measured' and 'is mindful of cost expectations and represents good value for money'. Nick Francis, who jointly heads the team, is valued for 'his insights into commercial and disputed' matters. The team provides comprehensive shipping advice across marine, shipping and international trade matters, where it acts for P&l Clubs, insurers, shipowners, charterers and financial institutions. It is acting for Taiwanese Unison Marine and Japan P&I in a dispute pertaining to a high-value contamination claim concerning cargo that was discharged in Peru, which involves two London-based arbitrations - one defending against certain South American cargo interests and a second commenced against the charterers.

Norton Rose Fulbright's 'extensive network of offices around the world is useful for multi-disciplinary and cross-border transactions' and the team is 'responsive and able to distinguish for its clients what they really need in a deal and what is "nice to have”'. Ben Rose specialises in offshore oil and gas and shipping finance transactions and Stephen Woods' expertise is in corporate and commercial work including mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures in the shipping, transport and offshore sectors. The 'responsive and pragmatic' of counsel Sue Ann Gan stands out for her ability 'to think outside the box in cross-border transactions and her drive to get the deal done'.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP 'really understands shipping and has great industry knowledge' and managing partner Mei Lin Goh is 'a great lawyer, a great managing partner and an amazing role model for women'. Simon Petch has extensive experience of shipping finance and transactions and 'has a good sense of finding mutually acceptable solutions'. Dan Thompson 'is a personable, heavy-hitting partner that rightly obtains instructions from top clients across the Asia Pacific region; his knowledge of arbitration is second to none and his strategic awareness is unsurpassed.' He advises shipowners and financial institutions on a range of transactions and disputes. Andrew Nimmo is another name to note. The team acted for a client in a high-profile case involving defects in vessels it had commissioned, where all of the shipbuilding contracts were in dispute.

The group at RPC Premier Law is led by Iain Anderson , who counts Allied World Assurance, AXA Corporate Solutions, Chubb and QBE among his  clients. He represented international reinsurers in a case concerning a sizeable claim by an oil major for alleged pipeline damage caused by the insured's drilling rig. Marine casualty work is another area of expertise and the group advised a consortium of reinsurers on developing a damage apportionment solution between the clients and the FPSO operator, the mortgagee bank and the insurers following significant damage to a floating production storage and offloading unit operating off the coast of Vietnam . Senior associate Grant Pilkington and associate Nazirah Kairo Din are other key team members.

Thomas Cooper Singapore LLP's team, which is jointly headed by Johan Wong and the 'very commercial, smart and quick' Steffen Pedersen, provides 'a very good level of service'. Clients include P&I clubs, major shipowners and hull insurers and those in the offshore industry. The team specialises in contentious matters spanning marine, shipping and offshore disputes as well as handling ship sales and leasebacks and arbitration work in London and Hong Kong and Singapore. The group was instructed by Britannia Steam Ship Insurance Association to act for the owners of the Thor Achiever following a collision and handled the casualty investigation and the negotiations pertaining to liability and quantum and also arranged for an application to be filed to establish a limitation fund.

The team at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP is 'highly efficient and very knowledgeable in the shipping and offshore industry'. It acts for global clients especially financial and leasing companies. Highlights included advising on the refinancing of two container ships that were on charter, which involved an analysis of the underlying bareboat charters to ensure the interests of the financiers were protected. Practice head Simon Spells is 'commercially minded and responsive'.

Clifford Chance is well regarded for its expertise in the areas of offshore oil and gas and the LNG sector and it is able to draw on its global network to handle corporate, financial and restructuring matters and litigation. The team advised the International Finance Corporation and others on the debt financing of an LNG import terminal, a matter valued at $180m. The work included compiling commissioning procedures, advising on a range of regulatory issues and advising on infrastructure delivery and safety matters. Gervais Green  and Kate Sherrard  are the names to note.


Shipping – Local firms

Index of tables

  1. Shipping – Local firms
  2. Leading individuals

Allen & Gledhill LLP is 'a simply terrific firm that  definitely lives up to its billing as one of the leading firms in Singapore' and 'has deep domain expertise and a good network with maritime law firms in other jurisdictions'. It has a comprehensive range of expertise in matters ranging from financing and debt restructuring to litigation and arbitration where contractual and other disputes arise. The team is acting for a client in a cross-border dispute relating to a project to convert a floating storage and offloading vessel, a matter that has been referred to the ICC for arbitration. In other work, it advises local and international banks and other financial institutions on term and other loan facilities and refinancing concerning the construction of fleets of ships and other vessels.  Vivian Ang, who stands out 'as a strong leader and excellent strategist' and provides 'an outstanding level of service', and Gina Lee-Wan are the highly respected group heads. Other team members include Corina Song, whose practice includes contentious shipping and admiralty cases such as charterparty disputes and mortgage enforcement. Kenny Yap handles a range of contentious and advisory work across shipping and international trade and Harold Or undertakes shipping and aviation matters.

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP 's 'excellent ' team is 'extremely client friendly ' and 'its rates are competitive and it is always accessible regardless of the time or the day of the week and the advice is always commercially sound'. Toh Kian Sing SC is 'an outstanding advocate' and 'is extremely hardworking with a quick and sharp analytical mind and sees points most lawyers may otherwise miss which may turn a case'. Leong Kah Wah is 'an outstanding and experienced wet shipping lawyer and a good advocate, who proposes solutions rather than disagreeing with opposing counsel for the sake of it'. Ian Teo, 'who has a keen eye for detail and whose advice is always commercially sound', 'is developing a burgeoning reputation as a sound advocate'.  'Advocacy is one of the strengths' of  V Bala and 'his background as a marine engineer is particularly helpful' and Winston Kwek is another name to note. Associate Davis Tan stands out for his 'sharp legal mind' and is able to 'punch above his weight considering his PQE'. The team acts for regional and global ship financing clients, P&I Clubs, shipowners, charterers and commodity houses. Work ranges from corporate and insolvency matters to collisions and marine casualties and offshore energy-related mandates. It has acted for the judicial managers of Swiber, which included advising on a number of disputes and arbitrations across Asia, and also represented the owners of the bulk carrier Silvia Ambition in proceedings relating to the vessel’s arrest by a Singapore bunker supplier in Lebanon.

Asia Practice LLC has expertise in corporate and financing work for banks and other financial institutions, investors, shipbuilders and container owners and frequently advises on the sale and acquisition of vessels. The team also routinely advises on related regulatory matters and its cross-border experience spans the region, including in- and outbound work with China. Director Lee Chien Herr and associate director Loh Zhi-Jun  acted for an affiliate of a major independent owner of marine containers on the acquisition of a portfolio of containers from a distressed European container lessor. In other work, the team advised an international bank on the approximately $55.8m financing of a steel bulk carrier and also assisted the Dubai subsidiary of a french entity with the restructuring of a facility that had been extended for the finance and lease of a distressed vessel. The matter was complicated further as the vessel had been arrested in Nigeria and there were a number of other creditors looming. Director Leon Low  has expertise in cross-border asset finance and trade and Jonathan Tan  also handles cross-border shipping finance and related regulatory expertise.

Dentons Rodyk handles ship arrests, cargo claims and  charterparty disputes in addition to a range of finance and transactional work for clients in the shipping and energy sectors. Lawrence Teh and Janice Ngeow handle commercial, cross-border finance and disputes work between them and advise on areas such as onshore and offshore construction, mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. Clients include Navios Maritime Partners, I.M. Skaugen, Global Maritime and a range of local and international banks. In highlight work, partners from Singapore, London and the firm's other offices advised VTB Bank on a $260m 13-year term loan, which was one of the largest bilateral deals underwritten by a single commercial bank.

Joseph Tan Jude Benny LLP provides advice that is  'balanced and weighted in terms of cost, risk and potential benefit' allowing clients to 'make an educated decision' and it is also recommended 'for difficult cases'. The group can handle transactions and disputes across all areas of shipping; it acted for a client with cargo interests on a ship that had been arrested in making an application for the cargo to be released and it is also representing the owner of an oil terminal following considerable damage to the vessel during berthing. K Murali Pany  draws praise for 'his analytical abilities'; Danny Chua is a noted partner and senior associate Brenna Yeo is acknowledged for 'doing a great job of providing quick advice'. Founding partner Dato’ Jude P Benny is now a consultant with the firm.

Wendy Tan, who heads the practice at Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC , has considerable litigation expertise in the shipping, energy, international trade and commodities arenas. She acted for Oil Brokerage International when  Marex Spectron Asia, a commodities brokerage, obtained an ex parte injunction against the client and one of Marex’s ex-brokers on the grounds that the client had induced the ex-broker to breach his contract with Marex. The team also has a strong track record handling arbitration and transactions in areas including international trade, commodities, insurance and offshore oil and gas.

Oon & Bazul LLP  'has huge insight and experience' in shipping-related matters. It assists international and regional clients such as ship owners, operators, underwriters and energy companies with a range of contentious and non-contentious cases and is also a key name for casualty work in the region. Litigator Kelly Yap who heads the shipping group and the China-related work and managing partner Bazul Ashhab, who heads the dispute resolution practice, are the key names. The team acted for the owners of the MV Gazi, which was damaged by another vessel while at Chittagong port and resulted in the Bangladeshi government arresting both vessels involved. The team also assisted the client in respect of its arrest of the other shipowner's sister ship in Singapore as security against the claim.

Virtus Law LLP - Stephenson Harwood (Singapore) Alliance is highly regarded for its handling of contentious, banking and finance and corporate work in the shipping sphere. Managing partner Daryll Ng is adept at marine and commercial litigation, particularly in relation to disputes over charterparties, cargo claims, ship sales and purchases and finance issues. Colin Jarraw's focus is on ship financing and banking matters together with corporate transactions such as mergers and acquisitions. The team is acting for IM Skaugen and its group entities in a significant dispute with various Teekay Group companies concerning the charter of six vessels by Teekay to an IM Skaugen subsidiary, which involves several arbitrations in Singapore and London and court actions in London.


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