Shipping: local firms in South Korea

Kim & Chang

The team at Kim & Chang is known for the breadth of its practice and its ability to 'deal with almost all kinds of matter efficiently' for both domestic and foreign shipowners, as well as their respective insurers. Byung-Suk Chung, who leads the group, brings his previous experience as President of the Maritime Law Association and board member of the Committee for Reforming Korean Maritime Law to the role. Jin-Hong Lee and Chul-Won Lee are key names to note for contentious matters such as insurance and reinsurance disputes, litigation and arbitration involving international trade issues, In addition, the latter also specialises in maritime casualties. Shipping finance is one area of particular focus for Jae-Bok Lee.

Practice head(s):

Byung-Suk Chung


The team can deal with almost all kinds of matter efficiently and can be described as a “one stop service”.

Jae-Bok Lee is a well experienced lawyer in handling various types of shipping matters and is also practical as he knows what his clients want.’

Key clients

Zodiac Maritime

BP Shipping

Japan P&I

North of England P&I

Skuld P&I

Stephenson Harwood

K Line



Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd.

Kennedys Law

NYK Bulkship Korea

Samsung C&T Corporation

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering

Korean Reinsurance Company

KB Insurance Co., Ltd


Korea P&I Club

Korea Shipping Association

Korea Shipowners’ Association


Pan Ocean Co., Ltd.


Standard P&I Club

West of England P&I Club


Work highlights

  • Representing Hyundai LNG Shipping in a post-M&A dispute which concerns an outstanding freight claim.
  • Defending Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance against an insurance claim following the grounding of a tug vessel.
  • Successfully defended Orient Shipyard in an SCC arbitration relating to the sale of a floating dock.

Lee & Ko

The shipping practice at Lee & Ko comprises of two dedicated sub-teams; the shipping and logistics group consists of six partners under the leadership of Jin-Young Jung and handles all work relating to marine insurance, sales and purchases, shipbuilding disputes, regulatory issues and commodity trading. Yun-Jeong Suh, who heads up a separate shipping finance group, advises shipping companies, financial institutions and investors on the acquisition of new and second-hand ships, offshore oil and gas, and cross-border leases. The firm also includes maritime and international trade disputes specialist Yang Ho Yoon, who has recently handled a number of cases involving chemical cargo contamination. Gidon Nam is a key contact for bankruptcy work, while Sang Hyup Lee is noted for his insurance and logistics knowledge.

Practice head(s):

Jin-Young Jung; Yun-Jeong Suh

Other key lawyers:

Yang Ho Yoon; Gidon Nam; Sang Hyup Lee


The shipping team in Lee & Ko is one of the largest in South Korea with a great reputation.

Since they have deep knowledge about the market and practice, they are capable of finding commercially helpful solutions.

Jin-Young Jung is concise in his legal analysis and wise in finding resolutions.

They provide legal service in a very prompt and professional way and their legal advice and opinion is very accurate and practical.

Key clients

HYDOR AS, a Norwegian P&I club

Japan P & I Club

HMM Corporation Limited (formerly known as Hyundai Merchant Marine Co, Ltd.)

Pan Ocean Co., Ltd. (formerly known as STX Pan Ocean)

Busan Port Terminal Co., Ltd

Taeyoung Shipping Co., Ltd.

Heung-A Shipping Co., Ltd

DSEC Co. ,Ltd.

Meritz Fire & Marine Insurance Co., Ltd.

Lotte Global Logistics Co., Ltd. (formerly known as Hyundai Logistics)

Samsung SDS Co., Ltd.

Pantos Logistics Co., Ltd.

CJ Korex Co., Ltd.

Hyundai Glovis Co., Ltd.

Orient Shipyard Co., Ltd.

Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd

Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd.

China Eastern Airline

Turkish Airlines


E1 Corporation

Korea Middle Power Corporation

Hyundai Oil Bank Co.,Ltd

SK E&S Co., Ltd.

SK Networks Co., Ltd.


Work highlights

  • Advised CL Korex on the $55m sale and purchase of two self-propelled barge vessels by way of a bareboat charter with a put option.
  • Advised HMM Corporation on the financing of 23 large container ships.
  • Represented Orient Shipyard in disputes with a Panamanian buyer which arose out of shipbuilding contract, and also represented the client in the subsequent LMA arbitration.

Bae, Kim & Lee LLC

The insurance and maritime practice at Bae, Kim & Lee LLC is strong in handling shipbuilding disputes, collisions, marine insurance and charterparty contracts for clients. The group also advises numerous P&I clubs on Korean maritime law issues, including arrests, cargo damage and bills of lading. Jong Ku Kang leads the team, which also includes Yoon Jeong ParkJai Young Kim, and Joon Sung (Justin) Kim. The department works closely with the finance project group on shipping finance matters; Young Joon Cho, who is an expert in this field, has led on complex restructurings of financially distressed shipping companies in Korea, as well as acting for a number of financial institutions on the rescheduling of ship financing debts and the negotiation of charter agreements and time charters.

Practice head(s):

Jong Ku Kang

Key clients


Dae A Express Shipping

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering

GS Caltex


KB Securities

Korea Development Bank

Polaris Shipping

Shinhan Bank

Steamship Insurance Management Services

STX Heavy Industries

Sungdong Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering

Work highlights

  • Advised Sungdong Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering on its rehabilitation project.
  • Represented STX Heavy Industries in its dispute with a Singaporean equipment company over the cancellation of the delivery contract.
  • Advised Hyundai Merchant Marine following the issuance of a repayment guarantee on behalf of the client by the Korea Ocean Business Corporation, concerning a loan to finance the purchase and installation of a scrubber and ballast water treatment system.  

Moon & Song

The 'very active lawyers' at boutique firm Moon & Song have 'built a strong reputation' acting for major P&I clubs, insurers, shipowners and charterers on a wide variety of shipping matters. Collision and grounding cases, cargo claims, and rehabilitation issues all make up the regular workload of the practice. Founding partner Kwang-Myeong Moon is equally adept at handling contentious and advisory matters, and has previously acted as a legal adviser to the Korean government. Cargo loss and damage, bills of lading, charterparties, sales and purchases, and ship arrests are all areas of strength for Sang Hwa LeeHun Song is 'becoming one of the recognised maritime lawyers in the Korean shipping market'.


Moon & Song have built a strong reputation for providing legal advice and reliable service to the shipping community.

Very active lawyers who focus on solving the problem.

Kwang Myeong Moon’s passion over many years has helped him gain respect from the Korean shipping community and he has been recognised by their international clients as well.

Hun Song is one of the most reliable, prompt and active, and becoming one of the recognised maritime lawyers in the Korean shipping market.

Sang Hwa Lee is one of the most recommendable experts in the field of comprehensive and contentious matters.

Key clients

North of England P&I Club

Japan P&I Club

Korea Shipping Association

Korea P&I Club

Britannia P&I Club

UK P&I Club

Steamship Mutual P&I Club

London P&I Club




Pan Ocean

Namsung Shipping

A&G Korea

PANDIN Insurance Co., Ltd

Korea University

HS Corporation

Hill Dickinson LLP

Reed Smith LLP

Campbell Johnston Clark

KORHI Average Adjusters & Surveyors Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Representing Japan P&I Club and the owner of the MV Milano Bridge in the criminal and administrative investigations, and related civil cases, following a collision with gantry cranes in Pusan New Port.
  • Representing Ingosstrakh and the owners of the MV Sea Grand in criminal proceedings following a collision with Gwangan Bridge and two yachts, and obtained probation for the master which enabled his safe return to Russia.
  • Assisted Samsung CnT with the identification of the cause of the explosion of the chemical cargo of the Stolt Groenland.


Yulchon's team includes practitioners with strong backgrounds in shipping and banking, and the practice also benefits from its collaboration with other groups within the firm, particularly corporate and finance; Doil SonYoung Su Shin and Sung Wook Eun are the relevant team leads to note from those departments. Many notable financial institutions instruct the firm to advise them on shipping finance and restructuring. In addition to acting on transactional matters, the group also handles contentious work. Senior foreign legal counsel Christopher Joon Tae Cho is recommended, as are Geen Kim and Sung Keun Park.

Key clients

KTB Investment & Securities

Korea Development Bank


K-Sure (Korea Trade Insurance Corporation)

Hi Asset Management

Multi Asset Management

Standard Chartered Bank

The Export-Import Bank of Korea

Sinokor Merchant Marine

Hyundai Merchant Marine

Work highlights

  • Advising K-Sure on the global financial restructuring of Seadrill and its subsidiaries.
  • Assisted Heung-A Shipping with the spinoff and sale of its container liner business.
  • Advised the Korea Development Bank on the financing of six vessels for Nova Marine.

Kwon & Co

At maritime law boutique Kwon & Co, name partner Tae Il Kwon has 'assembled a capable and knowledgeable team around him', which is known for providing 'prompt and rigorous advice combined with practical commercial common sense'. The group's broad practice 'covers various aspects of shipping with excellence', including general cargo claims, collisions and groundings, crew injuries and bankruptcy cases. Kwon, who is known particularly for his expertise in charterparty disputes, is supported by four associates; the most senior of these is Suyeon Jeong, who has successfully dealt with numerous vessel arrest cases in Korea.

Practice head(s):

Tae Il Kwon

Other key lawyers:

Suyeon Jung


Although the team is a boutique, their scope of work covers various aspects of shipping with excellence.

Tae Il Kwon is exceptionally wise and strong.

Prompt and rigorous advice combined with practical commercial common sense.

Tae Il Kwon has assembled a capable and knowledgeable team around him.

Detailed knowledge and experience in the maritime sector.

Key clients

Campbell Johnston Clark

Meritz Insurance Co., Ltd

Korean Reinsurance Company

EUKOR Car Carriers

Gard P&I Club

Hyundai Marine & Fire

Hyundai Merchant Marine

Korea Shipping Association

London P&I

North of England P&I Club

PT Limas Tunggal

Reed Smith

Sinokor Merchant Marine

SK Shipping

Skuld P&I Club

Sovrocomflot Group

Standard P&I Club

Steamship Mutual

The Swedish Club

T.S. Line

Yang Ming Marine

Work highlights

  • Advised the Korean Reinsurance Company and Meritz Fire & Marine Insurance on their wreckhire agreement following the termination of the LOF/SCOPIC agreement for the salvage of MV Stellar Banner.
  • Advised Seaspan following collision between MV Milano Bridge and MV Seaspan Ganges at the port of Busan.
  • Advising EUKOR Car Carriers as the time charterer following a fire onboard the MV Platinum Ray.

Sechang & Co.

The group at boutique firm Sechang & Co. is equally proficient in handling wet work, shipping finance and litigation. Chapter 11 rehabilitations and Chapter 7 liquidations of large shipping companies and shipbuilders are also areas of particular expertise for the team, which includes Thomas Kim, Hyun Kim and Jintae Joo. Recent highlights included representing all of the major global container lessors in their claims against Hanjin Shipping. The firm also acts in a large number of shipowners defence cases against cargo interests and creditors, particularly those relating to vessel arrests and auctions in Korea.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Kim

Other key lawyers:

Hyun Kim; Jintae Joo

Key clients






Blue Sky



United Parcel Services



German Shipowners’ Defence

North of England

TeeKay Tankers

Hanjin Shipbuilding

Hyundai Glovis

Dong Fang

Ensco Rowan

Elandra Holdings

Ministry of Maritime & Fisheries Affairs

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure & Transport

Korea Shipping Association

Work highlights

  • Representing all of the major global container lessors in their claims against Hanjin Shipping, which has undergone Chapter 11 rehabilitation and Chapter 7 liquidation.
  • Representing Stena in a dispute over a drillship building contract with a large local shipbuilder.
  • Representing the Ministry of Maritime Affairs in the victim compensation claims stemming from the sinking of the MV Sewol.

Suh & co

Suh & co's shipping work is led by founding partner Dong-Hee Suh. The firm is particularly strong in defending cargo claims, and it also specialises in collisions and marine insurance disputes. In addition, the team handles shipping finance matters and assists shipping companies with M&A. Having provided legal services to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries for more than 15 years, the group is knowledgeable about a wide range of marine and fishery businesses. In addition, it also maintains a close relationship with ministry officials.

Practice head(s):

Dong-Hee Suh

Key clients


Maersk Korea

KB Insurance


Shin Sung System

Korea Shipping Association

Ports of America

Pax Ocean

Korea Coast Guard

Yeon Heung Fisheries

W. K. Webster

Blank Rome

Curtin Maritime

Momo-o, Matsuo & Namba


Work highlights

  • Represented the Britannia P&I Club in criminal and civil cases arising from the collision between the MV Panamax Blessing and the MV Harmony Rise.
  • Representing OCR in its lawsuit against the Charter Bank, demanding in the sum of $597,397 due to Charter Bank’s breach of agreement.
  • Advising both the Japanese seller and the American buyer on the logistics of legitimately moving the Grab Dredger to a Korean port.

Cho & Lee

Cho & Lee's practice group makes full use of its 'deep knowledge about international maritime law' to assist shipowners, charterers, freight forwarders and underwriters with the full gamut of shipping-related work. Areas of expertise range from insurance and salvage to sea pollution and vessel arrests.  Domestic and international cargo insurers (particularly those based in the US, China, and Japan) make up a large proportion of clients turning to the team for advice. The firm is praised by a client for providing a service which is 'always quick and correct and straightforward'. The key contacts are managing partner Sung Keuk ChoThomas LeeDong Hyun Kim, and Hanna Park.

Practice head(s):

Sung Keuk Cho

Other key lawyers:

Thomas Lee; Dong Hyun Kim; Hanna Park


They are cargo recovery experts and have a lot of experience and knowledge.

They have deep knowledge about international maritime law.

Their response is always quick and correct and straightforward.

Sung Keuk Cho and Thomas Lee are excellent.

Key clients

Munich RE

Korean Re

NH Property Insurance

DB Insurance

Lotte Insurance

Hanwha General Insurance

ACE American Insurance

Heungkuk Fire & Marine Insurance

Hyndai Marine & Fire Insurance

Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, Korea

Meritz Fire Insurance

AIG Korea

MG Insurance

KB Insurance

Korean Non-Life Association

National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives

Okabe & Yamaguchi, Japan

Clyde & Co London, UK

Ricc & Co, China

Clyde & Co Shanghai, China

Nippon Express, Korea

Samsung SDS, Korea

Maxpeed, Korea

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance and Heungkuk Fire Insurance in claims relating to the collision between the MV Heung A Dragon and the MV Eleni.
  • Representing Hanwha General Insurance in Hong Kong-based proceedings concerning the $200m casualty arising out of the collision between the MV Sanchi and the MV CF Crystal.
  • Representing DB Insurance in an arbitration seated in London which concerns fire damage caused to the MV Auto Banner.

Choi & Kim

Boutique firm Choi & Kim handles the full range of maritime law issues, focusing particularly on contractual disputes, cargo claims and collisions. Founding partners J. H. Choi and C. J. Kim have over 30 years of experience in insurance work and international trade disputes. S. W. Park and J. H. Shin are key members of the team.


Jipyong has a strong track record acting for domestic and global shipowners, P&I clubs, shipbuilders, financial institutions and insurers. Although the firm has traditionally been known for its focus on maritime disasters (such as casualties and collisions), it is increasingly expanding its remit to include charterparty disputes and issues relating to the rehabilitation and bankruptcy of shipping companies and shipbuilders. Team head Choon Won Lee works with senior associate Dahee Kim, whose key specialisms include matters concerning bills of lading, shipbuilding disputes, international trade and marine insurance.

Practice head(s):

Choon Won Lee

Other key lawyers:

Dahee Kim

Work highlights

  • Representing the relatives of the deceased and surviving victims in civil and criminal proceedings following the sinking of the Hableány on the Danube river in Budapest.

Yoon & Yang LLC

Yoon & Yang LLC's shipping and maritime practice handles the full range of advisory and contentious work for domestic and global ship charterers, P&I clubs, maritime insurance companies, freight forwarders and government agencies. Dispute resolution is a particular area of strength for team head Sang-Pil Lee and senior foreign attorney Yonsoo Kim; the latter has accumulated extensive experience as in-house counsel for some of Korea’s largest shipbuilding companies, including Hyundai Engineering and Construction, STX Corporation and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering. Hae Duk Jung and Hae-Wang Jeong are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Sang-Pil Lee

Key clients

Pan Ocean

STX Corporation

Korea P&I

SK Shipping

Heung Kuk Fire & Marine Insurance

Weidong Ferry

Korea Ocean Environment Management

Korea Trade Insurance Corporation

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. Ltd.

Posco Plantec


Work highlights

  • Representing SK Shipping in its lawsuit against the Korea Gas Corporation following a fault with the new Korean LNG containment system.
  • Representing Posco Plantec in its insurance claims against Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance.
  • Advised Intergis on compliance issues arising as a result of the modification of the Marine Transportation Act.