Allen & Gledhill LLP has experienced a further uptick in shipping and commodities disputes, including those linked to the war in Ukraine. It is also active in the purchase and divestment of assets by private equity houses and is at the forefront of headline restructurings in the sector; it continues to advise multiple major bank and non-bank creditors in relation to the judicial management and the liquidation of Hin Leong Trading, Ocean Tankers and Xihe Holdings. The firm continues to be known for representing banks and financial institutions, along with some shipowners, Singapore shipyards and P&I clubs. Kenny Yap and Yin Soon Yap lead the contentious shipping team, while Yin Chuin Soh co-heads the maritime and aviation practice with a focus on banking and asset finance transactions. Vivian Ang is another highly acclaimed shipping disputes lawyer, along with Corina Song who is noted for contentious shipping, trade and admiralty matters. Gina Lee-Wan has retired from the partnership, but remains a consultant in the firm.
Shipping: local firms in Singapore
Allen & Gledhill LLP
Other key lawyers:
‘Allen & Gledhill is the Rolls Royce of law firms. Service minded, impeccable quality and efficient. They understand the commercial drivers and run a truly unique practice.’
‘Kenny Yap – I have been working with Kenny for close to a decade. He has got significant on-the-ground experience and is knowledgeable, accessible and responsive. Also provides pragmatic advice not just academic. He will also patiently explain the concepts and reasons for his advice.’
‘Erik Widjaja – I have been working with Erik since he was the senior associate and now partner. Kenny Yap and Erik are a great team! Similar to Kenny, Erik is very experienced and knowledgeable. With his Bahasa capability, he is also well equipped for the Indonesia aspect, if need be. Like Kenny, he’s also very accessible and responsive. Erik will also include his recommendation instead of just providing academic advice which some law firms do.’
‘A&G’s shipping department possesses a good mix of deep understanding of shipping laws, the ability to distill the relevant bits (and explain these to a lay person) and the ability to render business-friendly legal advice. Terrific value for money legal advice and the lawyers there are a pleasure to work with. Very responsive and on-point legal advice. With the scope and breadth of the various matters that they had experience dealing with, all these translate to a good understanding of the client’s businesses and what would be in a client’s best interests.’
‘Kenny Yap is the joint-head of the shipping department and he epitomises all that is good with A&G. Very professional and has the rare ability to “level” with the client when it comes to business concerns/considerations. Very often, he is able to help identify the clients’ blind spots in the commercial decision-making process and he plays the role of a business partner very well.’
‘The A&G team provides very timely, comprehensive and actionable advice. The partners have deep in-depth knowledge of the shipping industry and are always available to respond to queries. They can be trusted to provide the best advice for the client’s best interest in the transaction.’
‘Gina Lee-Wan has tremendous in-depth knowledge of any shipping transaction and always takes great effort to make sure that the best commercial advice is provided in the best interest of the client. Soh Yin Chuin also possesses in-depth knowledge of a shipping transaction and will respond to clients’ queries expeditiously and will professionally and efficiently “hold the client’s hands”.’
- Advised multiple major bank and non-bank creditors with high-value claims, in relation to the then judicial management and presently the liquidation of Hin Leong Trading, Ocean Tankers and Xihe Holdings.
- Acted for an oil major and its former authorised trader, in defending claims made by a Canadian company and its alleged financier arising out of fraudulent and/or non-existent contracts which the Canadian company alleged it had entered into with the defendants.
- Advised an informal steering committee of lenders holding $1.34bn of debt on the restructuring of Pacific International Lines.
Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP
Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP‘s shipping and international trade practice has earned many accolades over the years and continues to land many of the prime engagements in the market. It has a large team of specialist partners and associates, along with an in-house master mariner. It represents a range of banks, P&I clubs, shipowners, charterers and commodity houses. Like a number of the top firms in Singapore, it has made its mark in shipping restructurings, along with cargo and charterparty claims, collisions and marine casualties, and ship financings. Kendall Tan heads the team, which includes deputy head V Bala, Toh Kian Sing SC and Leong Kah Wah.
Kendall Tan; V Bala
Other key lawyers:
Toh Kian Sing, SC; Jainil Bhandari; Chua Choon King; Leong Kah Wah; Winston Kwek; Chua Choon King; Max Lim; Nathanael Lin
‘I believe that Leong Kah Wah is one of the best lawyers with whom I can consult on any legal matter. He has a lot of experience about the main shipping matters in Singapore. He always leads to the most efficient way to solve the problems, unfortunate accidents and legal disputes that our client faces.’
‘Rajah & Tann are my go-to firm in Singapore for complex, contentious matters involving shipping or offshore matters.’
‘We have worked heavily with Jainil Bhandari for the last two years on a range of dispute matters, from commercial contract disputes through to a significant offshore casualty and wreck removal matter. The combination of practical knowledge and legal analysis makes them an ideal fit for an insurer to work alongside.’
‘Kendall Tan is an individual I would recommend. Knowledgeable, highly able and very approachable. Good grasp of the law and issues involved and able to get to the central issues.’
‘Big law firm, global expertise, serious brand value to use in your legal arsenal.’
‘They are prepared to go the extra mile to get the job done well. Also practical in approach where required. The partners who in my view stand out the most are Kendall Tan and Max Lim.’
‘The team’s response time is commendable. They are also professional in terms of offering solutions and options to protect the firm’s interests. In addition, their reputation in the market is also good and hence, when engaging with counsels of other counterparties, they are able to engage professionally.’
‘I worked with Nathanael Lin of Rajah & Tann. He is very efficient in terms of turnaround and able to understand our requirements very quickly. He is professional in terms of dealing with counterparties and able to provide alternatives very quickly.’
Hin Leong Trading (Pte) Ltd |Ocean Tankers (Pte) Ltd
Agritrade International Pte Ltd
Owners of the M/V Alnic MC, instructed by M/s Blank Rome LLP and M/s Incisive Law LLC
Roberto 16 Pte Ltd (Owners of “Di Matteo”) and the Standard P&I Club (as the shipowner’s P & I insurer)
ING Bank N.V.
Phillips 66 International Trading Pte. Ltd
Swiber Holdings Limited (“SHL”) and Swiber Offshore Construction Pte Ltd (“SOC”)
Malayan Banking Berhad
[Confidential] KT Japan Co., Ltd.
DBS Bank, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited and United Overseas Bank Limited (Confidential)
Allianz Australia Insurance Limited / XL Catlin
China-Base Group Co Ltd
Super Sea Cable Networks Pte Ltd
Bank in Singapore
- Advised Hin Leong Trading on its $4.59bn debt restructuring, involving more than 23 creditors from multiple jurisdictions.
- Advised the major creditors of Agritrade International in connection with a $1bn suspected massive fraud by Agritrade International.
- Advised the owners of the M/V Alnic MC in a dispute arising from a collision between USS JOHN S MCCAIN and ALNIC MC in the Westbound lane of the Singapore Traffic Separation Scheme.
Dentons Rodyk‘s well-rounded shipping practice is at the forefront of shipping litigation and arbitration, debt restructuring and insolvency work, and corporate support matters. The firm has historically been closely aligned with financial institutions and shipowners, and has earned greater connections to marine insurers in recent years. It is also working closely with venture capital investors looking into LNG assets. The large and multi-talented team is working more intensively in ESG and decarbonisation issues with a range of clients. Lawrence Teh is a leading name in shipping litigation and arbitration, as is Loh Jen Wei. Finance partner Janice Ngeow provides further expertise in ship finance and restructurings.
Lawrence Teh; Loh Jen Wei; Janice Ngeow
Pavilion Energy Pte Ltd
Navios Maritime Partners L.P.
Vinmar Overseas (Singapore) Pte Ltd
Pacific Radiance Ltd
Hong Leong Finance Limited
Stigma Shipholding Ltd
IMSK SE, IMSPL Pte Ltd, ImskMan AS.
- Acted for Pacific Radiance in the consensual sale agreement entered into with secured lenders and an affiliate of ENAV Offshore Mexico for the transfer of 33 secured vessels as part of a debt restructuring plan.
- Advised on a $105m syndicated credit facility comprising of two sub-facilities which are used for multiple purposes including repayment of existing loans and for capital expenditure of certain group entities.
- Acted for Enemalta in connection with damage to an interconnector linking Malta to Sicily caused by the vessel Di Matteo resulting in a nationwide power shortage in Malta.
Joseph Tan Jude Benny LLP
Joseph Tan Jude Benny LLP has a rich heritage in wet and dry shipping, covering the full spectrum of areas from trade finance and cargo disputes, to charterparty disputes, marine casualties and marine insurance. The team has extensive experience in admiralty proceedings. Managing partner K. Murali Pany has a fine record in shipping disputes, as does senior partner Danny Chua and deputy managing partner John Sze.
Other key lawyers:
K. Murali Pany; Danny Chua; John Sze
‘Efficient, proactive and no-nonsense assistance.’
Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras)
- Advised Petrobras, the Brazilian state-owned oil and gas company, in a dispute arising from a sale of petroleum cargo by a Petrobras subsidiary to Hontop, which obtained financing from Natixis to purchase the cargo.
Oon & Bazul LLP
Oon & Bazul LLP has a long history in shipping matters, notably in misdelivery claims and bills of lading-related cases. It has represented clients before the Singapore courts in a series of headline cases in these areas. The firm has also demonstrated its expertise in defending mandatory injunctions taken up by shipowners under letters of indemnity. Bazul Ashhab and Kelly Yap are hugely experienced in shipping cases.
Bazul Ashhab; Kelly Yap
Other key lawyers:
‘The team, led by Bazul Ashhab and Prakaash Silvam, provides timely, practical and focused solutions on a cost-effective basis.’
Winson Oil Trading Pte Ltd
Integra Petrochemicals Pte Ltd
Innovek Pte Ltd
Navig8 Chemical Tankers Inc.
PT Adidaya Energy Mandiri
Visa Resources Pte Ltd
Batavia Eximp & Contracting (S) Pte Ltd / Excel Exports Co (S) Pte Ltd
Ocean Light Shipping Inc.
Red Sea Marine Services
NTS Shipping Pte. Ltd.
Yasa Ship Management and Trading S.A
- Assisted Winson Oil in defending proceedings brought about by misdelivery of cargo.
- Acted for the charterers of Kithnos, who are the owners of the cargo on board the arrested vessel.
- Acted for the appellants to overturn the first instance judgment in the landmark Court of Appeal decision of The Luna, a misdelivery claim, where the Court of Appeal found that the bills of lading were not documents of title on the facts of this case, which were unique to the Singapore bunker industry.
Virtus Law LLP
Virtus Law LLP has a well-established shipping practice, covering shipping finance and shipping disputes. Working alongside international firm Stephenson Harwood LLP, it has domestic and cross-border credibility. As part of its wide-ranging practice, it has worked on a number of headline restructuring matters in the shipping market and continues to advise a number of banks, lessors, P&I clubs, shipowners, commodities traders, and offshore oil and gas businesses. Daryll Ng is a key practitioner in maritime and trade disputes and represents a number of major P&I clubs. Colin Jarraw is at the forefront of ship finance and Jason Yang is an emerging talent in ship finance and sale and leaseback transactions.
Daryll Ng; Colin Jarraw
Other key lawyers:
‘They are familiar with and have extensive experience in the international transactions in which multiple jurisdictions are involved.’
‘Colin Jarraw – among a number of partners in Singapore practising ship finance, he provides us with advice that considers complicated jurisdictional issues at a high level.’
‘Established, experienced, reliable, commercial solutions, competitive billing.’
‘Daryll Ng is a steady pair of hands, qualified in England as well as Singapore. Flexible and helpful.’
‘Virtus is linked to the international law firm of Stephenson Harwood, which has a pre-eminent position in the maritime space both on commercial and litigation matters. The people are exceptional and the industry knowledge and thought leadership are impressive.’
‘Daryll Ng from a litigation perspective leads a tremendous team of professionals at all levels in the shipping litigation sphere. Jason Yang and Colin Jarraw understand shipping transactions from a commercial perspective and also how to layer in and address cross-border issues.’
ABN AMRO Bank
National Bank of Greece
China Navigation Company Pte. Ltd. and Swire Bulk Holdings Pte. Ltd.
- Acted for two major secured lenders on the collapse of Hin Leong Trading, its related vessel ownership group Xihe Holdings and its bareboat charterer Ocean Tankers.
- Advised Nordea Bank on a $34.27m secured loan facility to part-finance three vessels acquired by BW Epic Kosan.
- Advised National Bank of Greece on a $125m secured loan facility deal with Star Bulk Carriers Corp.
Asia Practice LLC
Asia Practice LLC has experienced considerable growth in ship finance, notably sale and leaseback matters involving Chinese lessors. The firm has a background in representing Chinese lessors, along with corporate work for owners and operators. It is also making headway in the Korean market and benefits from a history of dealing with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. Jonathan Tan and Lee Chien Herr are the key partners.
Lee Chien Herr; Jonathan Tan
Helmsman LLC specialises in shipping and commodities trading, with bases in Singapore and Hong Kong. It covers both disputes and transactional work. It has continued to appear in headline shipping disputes, including misdelivery claims and bills of lading judgments. It has also demonstrated its expertise in ship financings, including FPSO vessels and gas carriers. Tang Chong Jun splits his time between Singapore and Hong Kong, specialising in shipping and commodities disputes, with Maureen Poh covering shipping and commodities trading, including disputes and advisory matters.
Ian Teo; Tang Chong Jun; Maureen Poh; Chen Zhida
Other key lawyers:
‘Friendly, knowledgeable and positive response time.’
‘The team has key expertise in the maritime field, particularly dealing with complex maritime issues in cross boarder disputes. They are able to decompose challenging matters and come up with simple and clear solutions in a very timely manner.’
‘Chen Zhida, associate director, has been an excellent resource for us. He is very sharp minded, fine legal framework and a strong sense of commercial thinking which is lacking for most lawyers I had worked with in the past.’
‘Chen Zhida is highly responsive despite regularly being in court. He has developed real tactical nous and a commanding demeanour in courtrooms, crystallised in his ability to present legal problems and solutions in clear and simple terms.’
‘Both Chen Zhida and Peter Huang make a powerful team providing expert understanding of theoretical underpinnings of laws, appreciation for practical problems faced by clients and outstanding preparation.’
Owners of five bunker tankers in The LUNA  SGCA 84
Syndicate of nine international banks in respect of the $1.15bn debt financing for the Barossa FPSO
Keegan Shipping Holdings Pte. Ltd.
United Overseas Bank Limited
Global commodities trader in relation to the Indonesian coal export ban
Kithnos Special Maritime Enterprise
Prima Marine Public Company Limited
Strofades Special Maritime Enterprises
Bunkering arm of a leading international trading house
Owners of the newbuild MT Rhine
- Acted for the owners of five bunker tankers in a successful appeal before the Court of Appeal in a landmark judgment on bills of lading arising out of the insolvency of OW Bunkers.
- Acted as Singapore counsel to a syndicate of nine international banks in respect of the $1.15bn debt financing for the construction and operation of the FPSO vessel to be deployed in the Barossa gas field.
- Acted as co-counsel for United Overseas Bank Ltd in a claim for about $43m against Maersk for misdelivery of oil cargo without presentation of bills of lading.
Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC
Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC has a significant presence in the shipping sector, covering both disputes and transactional work. It has a wide-ranging client base that includes shipowners, charterers, commodities traders, bunker suppliers, P&I clubs, maritime underwriters, and logistics companies. Wendy Tan specialises in maritime and commodities disputes, along with transactions; she led the team that advised PetroChina on issues arising out of the collapse of Hin Leong Trading. Daniel Chia is another key partner.
Other key lawyers:
PetroChina International (Singapore)
AIG Insurance Asia Pacific
Double Rich Limited
COSCO Group – Cosco Petroleum Pte Ltd and Sinfeng Marine Services Pte Ltd
Chimbusco International Petroleum (Singapore) Pte Ltd
Thaumas Marine Ltd (part of Coastal Contracts Bhd)
Prime Star Transportation
Marco Polo Marine
PT Pelayaran Nasional Bina Buana Raya
Starryway Trading & Shipping
Ezion Holdings Limited
- Advised PetroChina on issues arising out of the collapse of Hin Leong Trading.
- Represented Sinfeng Marine Services in investigations and claims arising from the liquidation of Sinfeng’s major supplier, Coastal Oil Singapore.
- Advised Union Services (S’pore) as creditor in the ongoing liquidation and/or restructuring of Genting Hong Kong and its affiliated companies including Star Cruise, Dream Cruises Management and Star Cruises (HK).
Resource Law LLC
Resource Law LLC holds a Formal Law Alliance with Reed Smith LLP and operates a Singapore practice with a distinct focus on shipping and commodities. The firm inhabits both wet and dry dispute fields, financings, transactions and regulatory work. The practice features a number of immensely experienced practitioners, including Bernard Yee and Collin Seah.
Other key lawyers:
‘The staff are very responsible, take inquiries from clients seriously and provide professional and prompt responses.’
‘On the basis of professional, they have more business thinking than others, can put forward practical opinions for customers’ questions, and can track the dispute resolution situation in time, and provide reminders.’