Shipping in United Arab Emirates

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP's shipping practice head Robert Lawrence focuses on contentious work in this space including vessel collisions, hull insurance claims and bunkerage disputes. Ian Chung's practice includes a range of transactional work in the sector including maritime M&A deals and finance transactions, with particular focus on trade finance. Patrick Murphy is now based in the firm's London office but continues to have a connection to the region.

Practice head(s):

Robert Lawrence

Other key lawyers:

Ian Chung; Patrick Murphy

Key clients

ING Bank

Stanford Marine

National Petroleum Construction Company

Caterpillar Finance

Horizon Survey Company

Tufton Oceanic Middle East

GAC Marine

National Marine Dredging Company

P&O Maritime

Midstar Commodities



Gulf Drilling International

Drydocks World Dubai

Work highlights

  • Advising Komgo on ongoing aspects of its set-up as a blockchain platform for trade finance, including advising on regulatory and compliance issues, set-up, terms and conditions and operation of financial transactions.
  • Advising Gulf Drilling International on its joint venture with Seadrill to lease and operate a fleet of oil rigs in the Gulf.
  • Advising Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank on all aspects of its $80m ijara financing facility to Oman Shipping Company for the financing of two very large crude carriers.

Fichte & Co.

At Fichte & Co., Alessandro Tricoli and Ravi Jawani handle a range of shipping litigation covering cargo issues, unpaid insurance and vessel losses, as well as some sensitive non-contentious projects, some of which include advising policy makers. Name partner Jasmin Fichte has handled a number of pro bono cases for abandoned crews as well. Sudanese-qualified Moaz Forawi is another notable partner.

Practice head(s):

Jasmin Fichte; Alessandro Tricoli; Ravi Jawani

Other key lawyers:

Moaz Forawi


‘They are very knowledgeable, fight their client’s corner and obtain good results.’

‘Alessandro Tricoli is well connected and very easy to work with whilst Moaz Forawi works very hard to achieve the client’s needs and objectives’

Key clients

Port of Fujairah

LH Asian Trade Finance Fund Limited

Union Insurance Company PSC

Seaco Global Limited

Tatiana Akhmedova


Polimar Shipping Agencies

Gulf Energy Maritime (GEM) PJSC

Charterer’s P&I Club

Work highlights

  • Representing LH Asian Trade Finance Fund in a dispute with borrowers over pledged cargos.
  • Representing Union Insurance Company in a dispute with a former policy holder which attempted to make a claim under a policy for which it is alleged premiums were not paid.


HFW continues to have a strong maritime practice in the UAE, alongside its broader global network in this space. Yaman Al Hawamdeh and Richard Strub are the key names for contentious matters with strong relationships with key players including P&I clubs, handling Arabic-language litigation and international arbitration matters respectively; subjects of disputes span from vessel collisions through to shipbuilding. Tien Tai is a notable name in the practice for vessel finance work and other transactional matters, including port projects.

Practice head(s):

Yaman Al Hawamdeh

Other key lawyers:

Richard Strub; Tien Tai

Key clients


Hapag Lloyd

Swiss Singapore Overseas Pte Ltd

Bahrain Steel BSCC

Banque Cantonale Vaudoise

Banque de Commerce et de Placement

Cosco Shipping Ports Limited

National Bank of Fujairah PJSC

Mauritius Commercial Bank


DP World

TT Club

West of England P&I Club

UK Club

North of England P&I Club

Steamship Mutual

Gard P&I Club

Japan P&I Club

The London Steam-Ship Owners P&I Club

Shipowners’ P&I Club


The Standard Club

Swedish Club

The Charterers Club

Work highlights

  • Acting for Cosco Ports in its construction and project financing of Khalifa Port in the UAE.


Ince's practice, headed by Rania Tadros, covers the full range of contentious and non-contentious maritime work including dry and wet shipping disputes spanning from bunkerage disputes through to vessel abandonments, with both Tadros and Egyptian-qualified litigator Mohamed El Hawawy active in disputes before both local courts and other bodies.

Practice head(s):

Rania Tadros

Other key lawyers:

Mohamed El Hawawy; Paul Katsouris


‘They are very good with Shipping and Maritime related matters. ’

‘Rania Tadros and Mohamed El Hawawy  are extremely experienced and good lawyers.’

‘Ince’s shipping team in the Middle East is fantastic. Mohamed El Hawawy and Paul Katsouris are excellent and have demonstrated their expertise time and again to us over the course of numerous cases. Fantastic results-based litigation team.’

‘Mohamed El Hawawy leads a very strong practice at Ince. Paul Katsouris and Mahmoud El Sayed are very knowledgeable and rising stars of this team.’

‘Rania Tadros is an excellent lawyer: accessible, analytical, thorough, great local knowledge and contacts, and a sharp strategic thinker with foresight of the client’s needs.’

Key clients

Inchcape Shipping Services LLC

GAC Bunker Fuels Limited DMCC

The West of England Ship Owners Mutual

E-Marine PJSC

Tristar Transport LLC

Work highlights

  • Assisting ADNOC Drilling in recovering its losses following an incident that occurred after a large container vessel struck the client’s rig while it was undergoing repairs at Dubai Drydocks.
  • Advising shipping agent Inchcape Shipping on issues arising out of the abandonment of the vessel Swiber Sandefjord in Dubai and to assisting with recovering the disbursements paid towards the vessel.

Al Tamimi & Company

Yazan Saoudi heads Al Tamimi & Company's broader transport practice. Omar Omar  is a key name handling litigation concerning vessel arrests and other matters before the local courts, as well as a number of matters concerning issues such as ship registration, often with Saudi cross-over.

Practice head(s):

Yazan Saoudi; Omar Omar


‘They are one of the biggest local firms in UAE and they are good with Corporate & Commercial, litigation, shipping, employment etc.’

‘Omar Omar has been with the firm for over a decade and is a very knowledgeable and good lawyer.’

Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla

Egyptian-qualified Tarek Saad and senior associate Kirsty Cattanach are the key names at Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla for shipping work. Alongside handling a broad range of dispute resolution and risk management work in this space for all manner of private sector entities, a key source of work for the firm is advising the UAE's Federal Transport Authority, the federal regulator of shipping.

Practice head(s):

Tarek Saad

Other key lawyers:

Kirsty Cattanach

Key clients

UAE Federal Transport Authority (FTA)

Work highlights

  • Assisting the Federal Transport Authority with reviewing and updating UAE Federal Law No. 26.

Hadef & Partners

Hadef & Partners' contentious-focused shipping practice handles a range of litigation, often referrals from firms abroad and P&I clubs. Transport head Adrian Chadwick's diverse litigation practice includes both DIFC litigation and arbitration in this industry. UAE advocate Abdulrahman Juma's caseload includes a number of maritime matters, as does Massachusetts-qualified Arabic speaker Walid Azzam. South African-qualified Wesley Wood now heads the shipping team. Firm executive partner Richard Briggs is a trustee of the Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre.

Practice head(s):

Wesley Wood

Other key lawyers:

Adrian Chadwick; Abdulrahman Juma; Walid Azzam; Richard Briggs


‘Adrian Chadwick always provides prompt commercial advice and understands where we are coming from. Wesley Wood is very smart and and good at finding creative solutions,’

‘An excellent team with a broad skill set that has the edge on the other firms in the region,’

‘Adrian Chadwick and Richard Briggs are the star performers for me. Richard has got me out of plenty of tangles over the years, and between them, there is nothing they will not know that you need to know.’

Key clients

IDBI Bank Limited (DIFC branch)

World Fuel Services Group

Gulf Agency Company (Dubai) LLC

Hill Dickinson (London)


MFB (London)

Rajah & Tann (Singapore)

Allen & Gledhill (Singapore)

Eversheds Sutherland (London)

Work highlights

  • Representing IDBI Bank in a dispute with Horizon Energy under a ship finance agreement governed by DIFC law.

Stephenson Harwood

James Willn now spearheads the arbitration practice at Stephenson Harwood. Supported by Mark Lakin, a key senior associate for contentious shipping and commodities work, Willn handles a range of international disputes covering subject matters ranging from salvage through to vessel collisions. On the non-contentious side of the practice Nijoe Joseph is a notable contact for ship finance work, with a track record of connections with banks in India and beyond. A number of instructions demonstrate connections in Iraq, and also across Africa. Rovine Chandrasekera is now primarily based in London but continues to focus on work in the region.

Practice head(s):

James Willn

Other key lawyers:

Nijoe Joseph; Mark Lakin; Rovine Chandrasekera


‘Stephenson Harwood is unique because of its enthusiasm to support its client. Their team includes young lawyers who are well educated and knowledgeable.’

‘Mark Lakin is responsive.’

Key clients

Aggregates Manufacturing Trading FZE

Drydocks World – Dubai.

Sahara Energy Resource Ltd

Svitzer Salvage BV

Canopius Global Specialty (Re)insurance

West of England (Hellas) Limited


Steamship Insurance Management Services Limited

Petrogat FZE

National Bank of Fujairah

Marsh Emirates Insurance Brokerage

Bahrain Marine Contracting


Work highlights

  • Representing Sahara Energy Resource in a multi-jurisdictional dispute involving the theft of $6m worth of gas oil, with litigation in the UK, UAE and Nigerian Courts and LCIA Arbitration proceedings.
  • Representing West of England P&I Club in a dispute following a significant vessel collision involving the Royal Arsenal, resulting in the vessel’s detention in Iraq and subsequent litigation in various jurisdictions including India and Singapore.
  • Acting for National Bank of Fujairah in relation to a $21m vessel financing for Allianz Marine Services LLC, one of the leading suppliers of offshore support vessels in the UAE.

Watson Farley & Williams

Andrew Baird, managing partner of Watson Farley & Williams' Dubai office, and Michael Savva have a focus on advising banks from the region and beyond on conventional and Shari'ah-complaint finance facilities in the shipping industry, covering both new vessel mortgages and refinancings of existing facilities. Charlotte Knight is a key associate in the practice. On the contentious side, Charlotte Bijlani handles a broader range of dispute resolution work with many instructions coming in the maritime space.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Baird

Other key lawyers:

Michael Savva; Charlotte Knight; Charlotte Bijlani

Key clients

National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia

Standard Chartered Bank

Ahli United Bank

National Chemical Carriers Ltd. Co. of Saudi Arabia

Northern Shipping Funds

MUR Shipping

Work highlights

  • Advised on the secured debt financing of a wind farm operated by Bibby.

Afridi & Angell

Afridi & Angell's Bashir Ahmed and Chatura Randeniya handle a range of maritime matters as part of their broader contentious workload, including charterparty disputes and other matters. The firm continues to be involved in cases in the aftermath of the collapse of OW Bunker.

Practice head(s):

Bashir Ahmed

Other key lawyers:

Chatura Randeniya

Key clients

Hyundai Heavy Industries

Steamship Mutual

Transworld Group of Companies


Orient Express Lines

West of England Ship Owners Mutual Insurance Association

Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL)

National Bank of Fujairah

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

Emirates NBD

Work highlights

  • Representing numerous shipowners, operators and bunker suppliers on claims filed as a result of the OW Bunker Group collapse in 2014.


At Dentons, Middle East managing partner Paul Jarvis has a focus on bank-side ship finance work using both conventional vessel mortgages and ijara structures. He is supported by senior associate Nathaniel Armstrong, and the practice is noted for its connections to Emirati banks. Dentons

Practice head(s):

Paul Jarvis

Other key lawyers:

Nathaniel Armstrong

Key clients

Standard Chartered Bank (SCB)

Gulf Navigation Holding PJSC

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC (ADCB)

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC (ADIB)

First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)

Banco Santander S.A.

Emirates Ship Investment Company

Work highlights

  • Advised Banco Santander on a $166m syndicated lease financing of Tristar to part finance the purchase of six chemical tankers from a Korean shipyard.

Galadari, Advocates & Legal Consultants

Ahmed Galadari and Shani Salim are key names at Galadari, Advocates & Legal Consultants, which has a presence in the shipping space through a range of onshore courts matters covering issues such as demurrage and vessel arrests.

Practice head(s):

Ahmed Galadari

Other key lawyers:

Shanni Salim

Key clients

Globelink West Star Shipping LLC

Logwin Air & Ocean Middle East LLC

New India Assurance Co. Ltd.


CNS Logistics LLC

Yacht International LLC

Gulf First Shipping LLC

Asian Tiger Shipping LLC

IAL Logistics Emirates LLC

Seamark Shipping LLC

Consolidated Shipping Services LLC

Al Barrak Shipping Agencies Co.  LLC

Kintetsu Worldwide Express (Middle East) LLC

Ayzan E-gistics LLC

Navio Shipping LLC

All Port Cargo Services ME LLC

New India Assurance Co. Ltd

Yacht International LLC