Shipping: local firms in Singapore

Allen & Gledhill LLP

Top local practice Allen & Gledhill LLP has 'strong industry and market knowledge' and is  'able to add value on top of good legal advice with practical assistance'. The firm is noted for its breadth of expertise in the maritime industry, particularly in transactional and finance work, and top-tier capability in sales and purchases, lending and leasing agreements, restructurings, and dispute work. Key figures include Gina Lee-Wan who is active in ship finance, leasing, and equity transactions, with Yin Chuin Soh and Harold Or also on the transactional side. The firm fields a sizeable group of contentious admiralty law specialists comprising of Vivian Ang, Kenny Yap, Yap Yin Soon, and Corina Song.

Practice head(s):

Gina Lee-Wan; Kenny Yap; Yap Yin Soon

Testimonials

‘I’m impressed with Yap Yin Soon and Kenny Yap. Both are shipping lawyers that possesses in-depth enforcement expertise, and are technically sound, commercial minded to provide practical solutions.’

‘The A&G team was proactive and able to respond very quickly when needed of them, without compromising on the quality of very practical options, discussions, and advice given. Their services are also very reasonably priced compared to their peer law firms.’

‘Kenny Yap – A veteran in the admiralty and shipping industry who could fully appreciate the issue from the client’s perspective, including internal considerations, to provide practical options, discussions and advice.’

‘Soh Yin Chuin, Shaun See Tow Ting Xuan, Li Qing and Wilfred Ong Tjun Wei – A relatively lean team that was primarily responsible for and could amazingly heavy-lift the organisation and drafting of all the corporate agreements and documents, understand the complex needs of the client, face-off our counterparties, and close the transaction.’

‘Strong industry and market knowledge, and able to add value on top of good legal advice with practical assistance. They provide efficient resourcing as well, and are able to manage their legal fees within the budget that we have discussed.’

‘Soh Yin Chuin, Kenny Yap, Shaun See Tow – they are all excellent lawyers, with strong industry and market knowledge, and able to add value on top of good legal advice with practical assistance.’

‘There are few shipping lawyers in Singapore (with the relevant expertise) that can successfully extract/reposition vessels detained in foreign jurisdictions.’

‘In our dealings with Corina Song/team, she has demonstrated her capability in assisting with releasing vessels that are stuck in various unfriendly foreign jurisdictions. Her years’ of experience, coupled with good networking/contacts with oversea counterparts are also crucial and an added advantage in such areas.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for Keppel Offshore & Marine in connection with the deferral of five new-build rig deliveries and the restructuring of seller credit terms provided by the shipyard to Borr Drilling Limited. The deferral and credit restructuring resulted in an estimated liquidity improvement of US$190 million until the first quarter of 2022.
  • Advised Frontline on its sale and purchase agreement with Trafigura Maritime Logistics Pte. and certain related entities to acquire 10 Suezmax tankers through the acquisition of a TML special purpose vehicle.
  • Acting for Natixis, Singapore Branch, a lender and single largest secured creditor of Zenrock Commodities Trading Pte Ltd (“Zenrock”), which provided financing for the purchases and storage of Zenrock’s oil cargoes.

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP's market-leading shipping department is renowned for its strong reputation handling the most significant maritime disputes, for example, representing China-Base Group in Singapore's first case where a permanent anti-suit injunction was granted against ST Marine. Practice head Kian Sing Toh, SC, and Leong Kah Wah are leading advocates in shipping and commodities disputes. Wet shipping specialist Kendall Tan has 'a strong grasp of strategy and determination'. Winston Kwek is recommended for marine insurance and ship construction, as is Chua Choon King, who heads the corporate shipping and finance side.

Practice head(s):

Toh Kian Sing SC

Testimonials

‘The team comprises highly competent individuals but who function as a fully integrated unit, such that each component is interchangeable – if I need to know where matters stand on any particular case I can speak to any team member and get an answer. That is rare in my personal experience’

‘The individuals are very knowledgeable on both law and practice. The lead partner, Kendall Tan, is an impressive manager of his team with a strong grasp of strategy and a determination to identify the evidence required and to track it down. The level of service is very high. The people we work with in R&T are always reachable and available at any time. Highly knowledgeable and professional people. Sharp in their advising, aggressive in litigation. Not cheap but worth the money.’

Key clients

Hin Leong Trading (Pte) Ltd and Ocean Tankers (Pte) Ltd

Phillip 66 International Trading Pte Ltd

Hai Jiang 1401 Pte Ltd

National Bank of Fujairah

Swiber Holdings Limited and Swiber Offshore Construction Pte Ltd

Malayan Banking Berhad

FIMBANK p.l.c.

China-Base Group Co Ltd

Cepheus Ltd

Grand Famous Shipping Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Hin Leong Trading (Pte) Ltd (one of Asia’s biggest oil traders) and Ocean Tankers (Pte) Ltd (one of the world’s largest tanker fleet operators) in a high profile $4bn debt restructuring exercise involving more than 23 creditors from multiple jurisdictions.
  • Acted for Phillip 66 International Trading Pte Ltd in a landmark ruling to recognise bills of lading as contracts of carriage.
  • Acting for the National Bank of Fujairah, a corporate bank in UAE, in the pursuit of multi-jurisdictional and multi-million-dollar claims, in the wake of the collapse of a substantial commodities player.

Dentons Rodyk

Dentons Rodyk & Davidson LLP is a prominent player in the shipping industry and utilises its international network to handle ship arrest, cargo claims, and charterparty disputes, with additional depth of expertise in ship registrations, financings, and corporate work. Senior partner Lawrence Teh is 'very experienced, direct and meticulous' in wet shipping disputes. He is also known for his work in ship construction, international trade, and commodities. Janice Ngeow specialises in ship finance.

Practice head(s):

Lawrence Teh; Janice Ngeow

Testimonials

‘Dentons is well known for its shipping department and has dealt with many complicated matters in Court and Arbitration. They have shipping experts there who can help you with all the issues that are related to shipping be it commodities or vessel per se both wet (collision/grounding) and dry matters which is any issues or disputes in terms of charter parties or bills of lading.’

‘I deal with Mr Lawrence Teh who had also assisted in a very complicated matter involving my parent company. He is very experienced, direct, and meticulous when handling a matter.’

Key clients

Pavilion Energy Pte Ltd

Navios Maritime Partners L.P.

Skaugen

Vinmar Overseas (Singapore) Pte Ltd

Pacific Radiance Ltd

Hong Leong Finance Limited

Stigma Shipholding Ltd

Enemalta

IMSK SE, IMSPL Pte Ltd, ImskMan AS.

IberiaBank Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advising in relation to the procurement of frigate vessels designed in Denmark and to be assembled locally for a state navy, including drafting and reviewing of the purchase contract with the state navy, licence agreement and design services contract with the Danish ship design company, as well as contracts with the various suppliers.
  • Acted for State Bank of India (Singapore Branch), who were the mortgagees of a vessel OCEAN MARE. The vessel had been arrested in Singapore by its ship repairers and was sold by judicial process.
  • Advising and acting for Enemalta in relation to Singapore proceedings brought by the vessel owner to limit its liability and have assisted Enemalta in filing an application to stay the proceedings in favour of the courts of Malta.

Joseph Tan Jude Benny LLP

Often the go-to shipping practice for P&I clubs, vessel owners, and shipping companies, Joseph Tan Jude Benny LLP is well placed to handle both wet and dry matters and admiralty proceedings. Managing partner K. Murali Pany  advises on charterparties, cargo claims, marine insurance, and collisions, among others, while senior partner Danny Chua is highly recognised for his shipping transactional work, particularly financing, sale and purchase, and registration of vessels. Deputy managing partner John Sze is a leading figure in shipping and international trade litigation, representing P&I clubs and listed shipping companies in the highest courts in Singapore as well as in international arbitration. The team also acts for lenders in ship mortgage disputes and undertakes restructuring work.

Key clients

Denko Trading Limited

AmBank (M) Berhad (Labuan Offshore Branch) (“AmBank”)

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Co., Ltd. Hong Kong Branch (“SPDB”)

Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. – Petrobras (“Petrobras”)

Gulf Oil Marine Limited

Work highlights

  • Act for Denko, the leading fue trading company in Myanmar in providing urgent strategic advice to Denko,and instructed to act in the enforcement of their claims. This case is related to the collapse of Coastal Oil Singapore, which led to the seizure of vessels owned by their related entities, which was chartered to our clients.
  • The case involves a claim for over $60m oil trading transaction and is related to Hontop, one of the Singapore-based oil traders.

Oon & Bazul LLP

Oon & Bazul LLP is a prominent local practice that stands out for its Singapore and Malaysian shipping expertise and regularly mandates for contentious work, ranging from bills of lading and charter party claims to vessel arrests and casualties.  Managing partner Bazul Ashhab, Kelly Yap, and Oon Thian Seng are noted for their 'professionalism, expertise and knowledge'.

Practice head(s):

Bazul Ashhab

Other key lawyers:

Kelly Yap; Oon Thian Seng

Testimonials

‘Oon & Bazul has one of the best advisors and shipping lawyers who are equipped with up to date knowledge of the industry. They give sound advice and they give their very best when such a need arises. I have personally worked with them on cases that are very complicated and being tried in courts worldwide. Till this moment, they have never failed me and they have always done their best to achieve results beyond my expectations.’

‘I personally work a lot with Kelly Yap and his team. The professionalism, expertise, and knowledge that they have in them are of the most valuable assets they possess.’

Key clients

Great Lakes Maritime Ltd

Jiang Xin Shipping Co Ltd

Asean International Limited

PT Adidaya Energy Mandiri

Visa Resources Pte Ltd

Work highlights

  • Defended entities under the Bakri Group, a Saudi Arabian conglomerate primarily involved in the energy and marine sectors, against claims brought by Malayan Banking Berhad (Maybank) in excess of $12m.
  • Acting as lead counsel for the Singapore incorporated trading arm of Visa Resource in the defence of a claim brought by Chinese ship owners over a dispute on the unauthorised issuance of bills of lading and changing of discharge ports, which resulted in the arrest of the vessel in India.
  • Assisting the client, a Chinese-linked shipowner to resist a claim by Oversea Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) for the misdelivery of cargo carried on board our clients’ vessel.

Virtus Law LLP - Stephenson Harwood (Singapore) Alliance

Virtus Law LLP - Stephenson Harwood (Singapore) Alliance is distinguished by its ability to undertake work requiring both international and Singapore law expertise, by virtue of its alliance. The team is primarily known for its litigation work and is increasingly present in shipping-related restructuring and insolvency mandates. Daryll Ng focuses on maritime and international trade disputes, while Colin Jarraw and Jason Yang handle the bulk of financing and sale and leaseback transactions.

Practice head(s):

Daryll Ng; Colin Jarraw

Other key lawyers:

Jason Yang

Testimonials

‘While the firm is not one of the largest around, they are able to offer quality services in the specific areas of their specialities and within budgets of customers. One of their key strengths is the high touch, client-focused approach. We hope that they can maintain this winning strategy even as they seek to expand the practice.’

‘We worked very closely with Jason Yang, Partner. When engaged to assist with the deliveries and financing of vessels, Jason has demonstrated deep knowledge and experience in ship finance field, helping us to effectively close the transaction within a short timeline and within budget. Jason provided valuable advice in helping us navigate the negotiation process and achieving a good outcome, a testament to his experience in restructuring exercise.’

Key clients

DNB Bank ASA

Bank of Communications Financial Leasing Co., Ltd.

ING Bank

Nordic Trustee AS

KfW IPEX-Bank

Standard Chartered Bank

ABN AMRO Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising and acting for a major secured lender on the collapse of Hin Leong Trading, a well known Singapore oil trader, and Ocean Tankers. This matter has been in the news recently for alleged fraudulent conduct.
  • Acted for Standard Chartered Bank in scheme of arrangement proceedings commenced by Pacific Radiance Limited and Pacific Crest Pte Ltd and successfully obtained carve-outs for the mortgaged vessels from the s.211B moratorium.
  • Advising ABN AMRO Bank and Crédit Agricole on the major refinancing of a portfolio of 20 ships for Epic Gas.

Asia Practice LLC

Focusing on shipping transactions and finance work, Asia Practice LLC is well equipped to advise on Singapore law governed corporate and financing structures. Jonathan Tan and Lee Chien Herr are the primary contacts and are recommended for cross-border asset finance and regulatory support in the maritime sector.

Practice head(s):

LEE Chien Herr; Jonathan TAN

Work highlights

  • Singapore counsel for Marine Container Management LP, an affiliate of one of the world’s largest independent owners of marine containers in an approximately US$150 million syndicated term loan refinancing and sales of various partnership interests.
  • Advising Singapore in connection with a S$9 million loan to a major Singaporean bunker fuel supplier.  

Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC

Wendy Tan leads the shipping practice at Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC, and is recommended for her 'in-depth knowledge of the subject'. Best known for her skilled advocacy in shipping, international trade, and commodities disputes, she is also increasingly active in insolvency claims. She also undertakes non-contentious general maritime-related insurance work.

Practice head(s):

Wendy Tan

Testimonials

‘I have dealt with Wendy Tan and she picks the team if needed to work for my shipping matters. As a law firm, I would say the team is quite good, they know their business and subject matter quite extensively and have a greater understanding compared to peers. Wendy Tan is an asset to the law firm. She has in-depth knowledge of the subject matter, advises clients on what best for them commercially, her way or critical analysis, and critical thinking is very unique and excellent. I have never seen anyone of such talent. No words can describe her. ‘

Key clients

PetroChina International (Singapore), the trading arm of state-owned Chinese energy giant PetroChina Co Ltd

MCC Transport Pte Ltd (subsidiary of Maersk)

GPK Marine Management Services

Pacific Bulk Panamax

CH Offshore Ltd (Singapore listed company)

Viking HVAC Pte Ltd

Ocean Energy Pte Ltd

Ezion Holdings Ltd

Greenship Offshore Manager Pte Ltd

COSCO Group – Cosco Petroleum Pte Ltd and Sinfeng Marine Services Pte Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising PetroChina International, on issues arising out of the insolvency of Hin Leong Trading, one of Asia’s largest fuel traders and bunker suppliers, and its shipping arm, Ocean Tankers Pte Ltd which operates a fleet of FSU and tankers.
  • Acting for Sinfeng Marine Services in investigations and claims arising from the liquidation of Sinfeng’s major supplier, Coastal Oil Singapore Pte. Ltd. Coastal Oil’s collapse was allegedly due to a massive fraud.
  • Represented Mitsui & Co Energy Trading Singapore Pte Ltd in claims against the then leading bunker supplier, Dynamic Oil Trading (Singapore) Pte Ltd which went into insolvency shortly following that of its related company, O.W. Bunkers.