Shipping: foreign firms in Singapore

HFW Singapore LLP

HFW Singapore LLP has 'a breadth and depth of experience in all shipping disputes' and 'can deploy appropriate resources at a cost-effective rate'. The practice is the 'go-to firm' for shipowners, operators, insurers, banks, ports and terminals, commodity traders and shipyards. Chris Metcalf, who joined from Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore, is an expert in contentious and non-contentious shipping matters and has complementary expertise in offshore work and the oil and gas sector. Other core areas of practice include dry shipping, ship finance, acquisitions and disposals and large-scale collisions. Toby Stephens has 'significant shipping law expertise and industry knowledge'; John Forrester and Paul Aston are 'highly regarded figures in the industry'.

Practice head(s):

Toby Stephens, John Forrester, Paul Aston

Other key lawyers:

Chris Metcalf


‘HFW Singapore has a breadth and depth of experience in all shipping disputes, wet and dry and can deploy appropriate resources at a cost-effective rate, whatever the size of the dispute. They are also able to handle UK-based litigation in addition to disputes in Singapore and across the Asia-Pacific region.’

‘Being a large firm, HFW has a lot of resources at its fingertips. Its ability to devote time on critical issues is almost unparalleled in the shipping business. With its office in Singapore, it has a strong network in Asia and is able to find solutions effectively.’

‘Toby Stephens has significant shipping law expertise and industry knowledge.’

‘Toby Stephens – in-depth knowledge of the subject and professional approach. John Forrester and Paul Aston are also highly regarded figures in the industry.’

Key clients

Rubicon Vantage International

KC Maritime

Rubicon Singapore

City of Athens Pte. Ltd and Eco Nine Pte. Ltd

Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB

Work highlights

  • Represented Rubicon Vantage International in the BANI Indonesian arbitration concerning a claim for $25m as a result of an early termination.
  • Advised d’Amico Tankers D.A.C. on the sale-and-leaseback of m.v. Cielo di Houston, a 75,000 dwt newbuilding LR1 product tanker vessel.
  • Assisted City of Athens and Eco Nine with two term-loan facilities from ABN Amro Bank N.V., Singapore Branch to finance the acquisition of two MR2 product tankers under construction at Hyundai Vinashin.
  • Advised Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ as agent and arranger for a syndicate of three banks on a term-loan facility to refinance existing indebtedness relating to one shuttle tanker m.v. Torill Knutsen, owned by Knutsen Offshore Partners LP.
  • Advising Resolve, as salvors, on salvage contracts, including negotiations with owners and insurers.

Hill Dickinson LLP

With a strong offering in wet shipping, the team at Hill Dickinson LLP has been active handling headline work, including in relation to the collision and sinking of Star Centurion and a fire on the Yantian ExpressTony Goldsmith is 'extremely experienced' in leading investigations and handling cases involving fires, explosions and collisions; Andrew Lee has a broad contentious shipping practice; and dry shipping specialist Shanna Ghose has particular experience handling ship sales and purchases.

Practice head(s):

Tony Goldsmith, Andrew Lee

Other key lawyers:

Shanna Ghose


‘I think that the shipping team of Hill Dickinson has represented a broad range of Korean and overseas companies in a shipping and shipbuilding industry sectors and has dealt with a large number of business disputes including complex shipping cases.’

‘Compared to other firms, the shipping team of Hill Dickinson LLP provides legal services in more timely and efficient manner. ‘

‘Tony Goldsmith is an experienced lawyer and give a accurate advice at an early stage.’

Key clients

Gard P&I



Siem Shipping


Tasik Toba Subsea AS

Standard P&I Club

Work highlights

  • Acting for Ardent Maritime Singapore, as the salvors, on a Lloyd’s Open Form with a novel pre-settlement agreement.
  • Representing the owners of Thorco Lineage and P&I insurers, Standard Asia, in a claim against Charterers (Thorco) for bunker contamination leading to grounding and severe damage to the vessel and cargo.
  • Advising Gard Singapore, as the marine insurers of Star Centurion, on possible court proceedings against the hull insurers of Antea in Norway relating to the sinking of Star Centurion after a collision with the defendant’s vessel.  

Reed Smith LLP

Reed Smith LLP handles all aspects of shipping matters, including wet and dry disputes, ship financing, transactional and regulatory work. Other key areas of activity include ship sales and purchases, the registration and financing of vessels, marine insurance and the commodity sale of goods contracts and letters of credit. The practice is headed by the 'reputedRichard Lovell after the co-practice head Barry Stimpson moved to Squire Patton Boggs with Jessica Kenworthy. Senior associate James Scott is noted for marine casualty and issues arising from collisions, groundings and cargo damage.

Practice head(s):

Barry Stimpson, Richard Lovell

Other key lawyers:

James Scott


Strong English law/admiralty capability coupled with effective cooperation and coordination with the Singapore legal team where required. Reliable and pragmatic advice.’

‘Richard Lovell is a reputed partner providing a quality product.’

Stephenson Harwood LLP

Arguably one of 'Singapore's pre-eminent shipping practices', Stephenson Harwood LLP fields a team of 'top-tier lawyers' with wide-ranging expertise in wet and dry shipping, ship finance and marine-related disputes. The practice has been bolstered by the arrival of Gregory Xu from Clifford Chance, a banking partner with experience in shipping and offshore oil and gas financing, particularly for FPSOs, FSRUs and LNG vessels. The hire of former Ince managing partner John Simpson in May 2019 has significantly strengthened the firm's bench strength in shipbuilding, charterparty agreements and dispute resolution, including subsea construction disputes. Head of shipping Gregg Johnston is particularly noted for his experience in English-law governed financings in Korea; Martin GreenIain Young, Martin Brown and Huay Yee Kwan are the other key partners.

Practice head(s):

Gregg Johnston


Stephenson Harwood is one of Singapore’s pre-eminent shipping practices with broad coverage of the market, lots of internal resources and a team of top-tier lawyers.’

Key clients

I.M. Skaugen S.E.

Norgas Carriers Private Limited

The Korea Development Bank

DVB Bank SE Singapore Branch

Standard Chartered Bank

BNP Paribas

Work highlights

  • Advising AET on a $575m fleet RFC facility provided by a syndicate of six banks led by Standard Chartered.
  • Advising ICBC Financial Leasing Co., Ltd on a newbuild lease financing of up to ten 2,200 teu container feeder vessels for Maersk Line A/S.
  • Advising BW Group on a $180m post-delivery facility from a syndicate of international banks, led by Société Générale, using a hybrid or capped guarantee from BW Gas Limited.
  • Advised Minsheng Financial Leasing on the refinancing of a portfolio of 10,000 marine containers, through a Japanese operating lease with call option with head lease and sub-lease structure.

Campbell Johnston Clark Singapore LLP

Campbell Johnston Clark Singapore LLP is a popular choice for P&I clubs, including Britannia, Japan P&I, Standard Club and the Steamship Mutual on wet and dry shipping matters. The team also regularly acts for H&M underwriters, brokers and shipowners. Team head Paul Apostolis and Gareth Williams stand out for their 'excellent knowledge' in this space. Ian Short relocated to the London office in April 2019.

Practice head(s):

Paul Apostolis

Other key lawyers:

Gareth Williams


‘Paul Apostolis has excellent knowledge and experience with practical advice in addition to legal aspects.’

‘Gareth Williams has excellent knowledge and always suggests practical solutions to cases.’

Key clients

Japan P&I

Skuld P&I

BW Group

Fukada Salvage

Shipowners Mutual P&I

Work highlights

  • Advised the P&I Club on the collision and total loss of the pipe laying vessel, Star Centurion, which capsized and sank in Indonesian waters after a collision with Antea.

Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore

Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore is frequently instructed by clients including shipowners, P&I Clubs, charterers and operators, cargo insurers, shipyards, freight-forwarders and logistics companies. The firm leverages expertise from a number of specialists, including Ik Wei Chong for marine insurance; Leon Alexander for trade and commodities; and Thomas Choo for ship finance. Chris Metcalf is now with HFW Singapore LLP .

Practice head(s):

Ik Wei Chong, Leon Alexander, Thomas Choo


At Ince,  Harry Hirst advises on all aspects of admiralty law including collision, salvage, pollution, cargo shift, and loss and damage, among other matters. Another name to note is Maureen Poh for contentious and non-contentious issues arising from the trading and transportation of commodities. Martin Brown and John Simpson departed to Stephenson Harwood LLP in November 2018 and May 2019, respectively; Nicholas Lum has moved to Clyde & Co LLP.

Practice head(s):

Harry Hirst

Other key lawyers:

Maureen Poh

Key clients

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines

Malaysia International Shipping

National Australia Bank



Work highlights

  • Assisting the lenders, National Australia Bank, BNP Paribas and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, with the financing of four LNG carriers to be owned by a Korean company and chartered to an oil major on long-term charters.
  • Advised National Australia Bank, as agent for a syndicate of lenders, on financing four oil tankers owned by the leasing arm of Bank of Communications and chartered to a Canadian operator.
  • Acted for the owners and insurers of the Alnic MC, which was involved in a collision with US warship USS John S. McCain off Singapore, in conducting investigations into the circumstances surrounding the collision and subsequent issues following the collision.
  • Conducted an investigation and provided a view on liability for the insurers of Emerald Star, which capsized and sank off the Philippine coast, resulting in loss of life, ship and cargo.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright fields 'a highly experienced and knowledgeable team of lawyers with excellent industry position and experience.' Projects and asset finance partner Ben Rose heads the Asia-wide shipping practice where he specialises in the offshore oil and gas and shipping sectors, and has recently advised on the $1.2bn financing and delivery of the world’s first converted floating liquefied natural gas production vessel Hilli EpiseyoRobert Driver advises shipowners, charterers, shipyards and banks on a range of commercial shipping matters. Senior associate Sue Ann Gan is another name to note for ship finance and leasing transactions.

Practice head(s):

Ben Rose

Other key lawyers:

Robert Driver; Sue Ann Gan


Highly experienced and knowledgeable team of lawyers with excellent industry position and experience.’


Key clients

Export-Import Bank of Korea

KDB Capital Corporation

Korea Asset Management

Corporation (KAMCO)

Korea Development Bank

Korea Shipping & Marine Transport Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised Fortune Lianjiang Shipping, an indirect subsidiary of shipping conglomerate CSSC (Hong Kong) Shipping Company, on the $1.2bn financing and delivery of the world’s first converted floating liquefied natural gas production vessel Hilli Episeyo, under a sale-and-leaseback agreement.
  • Advising the lenders, Société Générale, on bridge financing provided to a subsidiary of Bumi Armada Berhad of Malaysia, for the acquisition/conversion and operation of an LNG Vessel into a LNG floating storage unit for the Malta LNG-to-power project.  
  • Advising Nord LB, the lenders on the part-financing of 24 vessels acquired by 24 Liberian SPVs, wholly owned by Silver Maritime Pte. Ltd.
  • Advised Société Générale as arranger and coordinator of a syndicate of lenders on refinancing the acquisition costs of BW Group’s first M-type, electronically controlled, gas injection LNG carrier BW Tulip.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP

At Watson Farley & Williams LLPMei Lin Goh specialises in structured finance transactions in the maritime industry, while Simon Petch advises shipowners and bank on all aspects of financing and security structures, ship construction and sale and purchase. The group also has expertise in related areas including offshore oil and gas, LNG, container boxes, ports and logistics.

Practice head(s):

Mei Lin Goh

Other key lawyers:

Simon Petch

Key clients

Credit Suisse


Woori Bank

Golar LNG Limited

Dorian LNG

Korea Development Bank, Seoul Branch

Work highlights

  • Advised Grindrod Shipping Holdings on the proposed spin-off of the South African Grindrod Limited group’s shipping business
  • Advising BNP Paribas on a loan facility to finance the purchase and installation of exhaust gas cleaning systems on the fleet of vessels owned by Quantum Pacific Shipping and managed by Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping.

Wikborg Rein

Wikborg Rein's Singapore office has shipping, offshore and dispute resolution expertise and provides English law assistance to Norwegian and international clients. The practice has a strong focus on shipping and offshore casualty responses, where it is a popular choice for asset operators and insurers. Ian Teare and Robert Joiner have experience handling marine and offshore matters, including collision and salvage, charterparty issues, dry shipping disputes and marine insurance matters.

Practice head(s):

Ian Teare

Other key lawyers:

Robert Joiner

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP is a popular choice for Chinese lessors such as ICBC Financial Leasing Co., Minsheng and China Huarong, and also advises Chinese entities on ship financing structures involving put and call and standby charter structures. The team is also active in shipping litigation. Simon Spells is the lead partner.

Practice head(s):

Simon Spells

Key clients

ICBC Financial Leasing

Minsheng Financial

Leasing Co., Ltd

The Export-Import Bank of China

Clifford Chance

Focusing on corporate, financing and restructuring work in the maritime sector, Clifford Chance further benefits from its strategic alliance with Cavenagh Law to provide shipping dispute resolution capabilities and support to clients in insolvency proceedings. Gervais Green regularly advises on project financing, particularly in the offshore oil and gas and shipping space, for LNG vessels. Kate Sherrard is noted for handling cross-border asset and structured finance transactions

Practice head(s):

Gervais Green

Other key lawyers:

Kate Sherrard

Kennedys Legal Solutions

At Kennedys Legal Solutions, Karnan Thirupathy's advises shipowners, charterers, large trading houses, P&I Clubs and international marine insurers on shipping and trade matters involving charterparties, commodity sale contracts and marine insurance. On the contentious side, Nick Francis handles dry shipping disputes, construction and ship sale and purchase disputes.

Practice head(s):

Nick Francis; Karnan Thirupathy

Key clients

Japan P&I

Standard Club

Pan Ocean

Korea P&I

Britannia P&I

Work highlights

  • Representing the Standard Club in London-seated arbitration in a case involving contamination of a high-value cargo of methanol loaded in China for discharge in Malaysia.
  • Acting for the liability insurer of a Hong Kong Marina following a fire at the marina in which six vessels sank.
  • Acting for the liability insurer of a global freight forwarder in various claim arising out of Super Typhoon Mangkhut.

RPC Premier Law

Known for its expertise in marine and non-marine insurance, RPC Premier Law advises a range of international underwriters, P&I Clubs, shipowners, charterers and cargo recovery agents on international sales contracts and marine-related disputes. Iain Anderson leads the practice, which has bolstered by the arrival of Gerald Yee from Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore in June 2019. Yee has complementary experience in contentious shipping work, including admiralty enforcement, cargo claims, contracts of affreightment, marine insurance and P&I matters.

Practice head(s):

Iain Anderson

Other key lawyers:

Gerald Yee

Work highlights

  • Advising Singapore market reinsurers and their Indonesian cedants on negotiating and supervising the ongoing oil removal and wreck removal operations on the vessel KTC1, which sank off Surabaya in October 2016.
  • Acted for a fixed-premium P&I insurer on negotiating pre-agreed counter-securities from assured customers concerning potential uninsured exposures arising from the IMO Blue Card compulsory liability schemes.
  • Advised a group of lead Lloyd’s Syndicate reinsurers on the review and resolution of a collection of claims presented under a bespoke shipbuilders’ warranty insurance programme.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Now merged with legacy Thomas Cooper Singapore LLP, the shipping team at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP handles a range of work, from high-profile casualties and major maritime losses to personal injury claims and day-to-day commercial disputes arising under shipping contracts. Other areas of expertise include piracy and maritime security issues, pollution, charterparty and bill of lading disputes. Steffen Pedersen and Johan Wong are the key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Johan Wong

Other key lawyers:

Steffen Pedersen