Shipping in Sri Lanka

D. L. & F. De Saram

D. L. & F. De Saram is one of the preferred firms in Sri Lanka for several P&I Clubs and international shipping conglomerates. It handles a vast array of shipping and admiralty matters and specialises in rem actions/ship arrests as well as cargo claims and vessel mortgage enforcement proceedings. It is also rated for its skill at handling salvage and ground handling disputes. The group is a known name too for its advice on other issues such as vessel collisions, fire and cargo disputes in addition to the purchase, appraisement and the sale/registration of vessels. Jivan Goonetilleke and Savantha De Saram  head the practice and associate Nadine Puvimanasinghe is another key figure in the department.

Other key lawyers:

Nadine Puvimanasinghe


Strong marine knowledge. Well connected and knows the procedures‘.


Key clients

Mercmarine Group of Companies (Mercmarine Emerald Shipping Company, Sri Lanka and Germany)

Fleet Management India Private Limited

The North of England P & I Association Limited

The Shipowner’s Protection Limited

Steamship Insurance Management Services Limited

Orient Overseas Container Line (China) Co. Limited. (“OOCL”)


Vitol Asia Pte Ltd

Assuranceforeningen SKULD (Gjensidig)

The Standard Club Europe Ltd (as managed by Charles Taylor & Co Limited)

Darby Maritime Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented Darby Maritime Limited in an important matter – significantly the Admiralty Court of Sri Lanka permitted the payment of the purchase consideration for the MV Rena by way of the MT 103 and MT 199 process.
  • Represented Assuranceforeningen SKULD (Gjensidig) in the first action that was filed before the Sri Lankan Admiralty Court under the amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention (“MLC”)  that mandated the settlement of unpaid crew wages by the underwriter.
  • Advised the  Mercmarine group of companies (Mercmarine Emerald Shipping Company, SriLanka and Germany) on the process for the completion of the sale of MVIndustrial Hobart and MV Industrial Hedland.

Julius & Creasy

SA Cader leads the group at Julius & Creasy that has an excellent track record of handling dry and wet claims. It acts predominantly for prominent charterers, salvors, ship managers and P&I clubs and also receives a steady flow of instructions from some major international law firms. In addition the accomplished team frequently represents clients in international arbitrations and regularly appears on behalf of ship owners in the Admiralty Court. It also advises on a variety of other shipping matters including ship purchases and sales, ship vessel arrests and advises on a myriad of disputes over salvage, towage and collisions.  

Practice head(s):

Sakeen Abdul Cader

Neelakandan & Neelakandan (formerly Murugesu & Neelakandan)

With Pranavan Neelakandan at the helm at Neelakandan & Neelakandan (formerly Murugesu & Neelakandan) the team continues to advise international shipping companies, ship owners, charterers and P&I Clubs on a broad range of contentious matters. Such disputes are frequently cross-border and relate to issues such as cargo claims, ship mortgage enforcement actions and vessel arrests. The practice is adept too at advising on the purchase, appraisement, sale and the registration of vessels. In addition it frequently works with some international law firms on shipping matters.

Practice head(s):

Pranavan Neelakandan

Key clients

Hindage Oilfield Services Limited

Ocean Connect Marine Inc

DVB Bank (London)


National Bank of Fujairah

Work highlights

  • Representing the Hindage Oilfield Services Limited in proceedings before the Admiralty Court – significant it managed to get the vessel released from arrest – the matter is now being contested at trial.
  • Advising the National Bank of Fujairah on a potential arrest under a mortgage claim.