Shipping in United Arab Emirates

Al Tamimi & Company

At Al Tamimi & Company, Omar Omar heads a team whose contentious work ranges through to vessel sale and purchase disputes through to vessel arrests, and transactional work includes vessel finance and sales. In addition to work alongside respected European law firms, the clients include several leading banks, shipping companies and P&I clubs. James Newdigate moved in-house to Saudi Aramco.

Practice head(s):

Yazan Saoudi; Omar Omar


‘Al Tamimi is well versed with the law in the Middle East and delivers great results.’

‘Omar Omar is well experienced and a good lawyer.’

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP's shipping practice, headed by Robert Lawrence, covers a full spectrum of work ranging from shipping-related insolvency and shipbuilding disputes through to large transshipment contracts, many matters being cross-border and involving challenging jurisdictions. Commodities and shipping disputes specialist Patrick Murphy (who also has Iran sanctions expertise) and transactional specialist Ian Chung are also key names. Richard Bell returned to the firm's Abu Dhabi offices in March 2019 from Shanghai.

Practice head(s):

Robert Lawrence

Key clients

ING Bank

Stanford Marine

National Petroleum Construction Company

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

Caterpillar Finance

Horizon Survey Company

Macquarie Bank Limited

Tufton Oceanic Middle East

GAC Marine


National Marine Dredging Company

Al Dahra

P&O Maritime

Midstar Commodities

Work highlights

  • Advised National Bank of Fujairah on a partial refinancing of a fleet of vessels operated by GAC.
  • Advised Komgo on setting up a blockchain trade finance platform.

Fichte & Co.

Fichte & Co., spearheaded by name partner Jasmin Fichte, represents P&I clubs, shipowners and various businesses in the sector on a range of disputes and transactional matters. Ravi Jawani  and Alessandro Tricoli are key names, primarily focussing on contentious and non-contentious work respectively.

Practice head(s):

Jasmin Fichte


They are excellent shipping lawyers and have a good understanding of the local courts which is critical.

‘Ravi Jawani is well versed in his practice area and strong business understanding.’

‘Alessandro Tricoli is knowledgeable, prepared to engage with difficult issues, responsive and well-connected.’

A fantastic shipping practice, with invaluable practical experience and knowledge.

Key clients

Port of Fujairah

Truong Phat Loc Shipping Trading

Union Insurance Company

Seaco Global Limited

Tatiana Akhmedova


Work highlights

  • Advised Truong Phat Loc Shipping Trading, a Vietnamese state-owned shipping company, on enforcing an arbitral award in the DIFC courts.
  • Representing Tatiana Akhmedova in the UAE elements of her enforcement of a London divorce settlement against the superyacht Luna.
  • Acting on behalf of unpaid crews in a claim against Elite Way Marine and Abu Qurrah Shipping, involving both employment litigation and a vessel arrest


HFW has close relationships with a number of shipping lines and numerous well-known P&I clubs. Among other matters, Richard Strub's work includes cargo disputes concerning shipments to difficult parts of the region, and Yawan Al Hawamdeh 's cases include shipping litigation in the UAE courts. In the transactional space, Tien Tai handles a range of ship finance and purchase work, often working with regional buyers and banks contracting with Korean yards.

Practice head(s):

Yaman Al Hawamdeh


Rania Tadros, who specialises in disputes, heads the team at Ince, which covers a full range of contentious and non-contentious work spanning debt recovery and vessel finance through to vessel collisions. Clients also recommend Mohamed El Hawawy.

Practice head(s):

Rania Tadros


‘Maintaining a niche practice in a small market is difficult – rather than being any port in a storm, the Ince team is simply the go-to firm for shipping matters of all types.

‘Its ability to call out issues well in advance is second to none and it is unrivalled when it comes to navigating a ship through difficult waters. The team is joined up, experienced and able to get things done.’

Work highlights

  • Advised The Shipowners’ Club on a member’s abandonment of a vessel in the UAE.
  • Advised Emirates Ship Investment Company and Tristar Transport on negotiating six shipbuilding contracts with Hyundai Mipo.
  • Advised Cockett Marine Oil DMCC on recovering debt for unpaid bunker.

Stephenson Harwood

At Stephenson Harwood, Rovine Chandrasekera and James Willn handle contentious matters including vessel collisions and other incidents, as well as cargo disputes. Indian-qualified Nijoe Joseph's has a ship finance practice and has a following among Indian banks.

Practice head(s):

Rovine Chandrasekera

Key clients

Steamship Mutual P&I

West of England P&I

Shipowners’ Protection Ltd



Dubai Trading Agency

American P&I

Maersk Line


National Bank of Fujairah


Inchape Shipping Services

Gulf Petrochem



International Fuel Suppliers

Port of Fujairah

One Marine, Australia


Simatech Shipping

Standard P&I

Miclyn Offshore


STX Offshore and Shipbuilding



Work highlights

  • Advising Maersk and its P&I club on various issues following the March 2018 fire on the Maersk Honam, which killed five crew members.
  • Representing San Trade and Petrogat in a dispute over a the purchase of Turkmenistani fuel oil, which was sold to another buyer.
  • Advised FIM Bank Malta on over 40 demolition financing facilities totalling $100m.

Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla

At Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla, Tarek Saad and senior associate Kirsty Cattanach handle a range of contentious work concerning vessel arrests, debt recovery and various other matters. Amir Alkhaja, a senior associate, is a notable UAE-qualified name in the team.

Practice head(s):

Tarek Saad


‘The team is forward looking and know the challenges that the shipping industry faces.’

‘The whole team is exceptional.’

Key clients

UAE Federal Transport Authority

Work highlights

  • Advised the UAE Federal Transport Authority on creating a replacement for the UAE’s current maritime law, UAE Federal Law No. 26 of 1981.

Hadef & Partners

At Hadef & Partners LLC, Adrian Chadwick and Omar Al Shaikh are key names for DIFC and onshore court litigation respectively. The practice handles contentious shipping work, with a particular specialism in litigated rather than arbitrated disputes. Wesley Wood is a notable senior associate. Chadwick also accepts appointments as an arbitrator.


The team provides clear and concise advice with a commercial angle.’

The firm has good local contacts.’

Adrian Chadwick is a very good and experienced shipping lawyer.

Key clients

IDBI Bank Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented IDBI Bank in recovering $37m from a defaulting ship mortgagee.

Watson Farley & Williams

At Watson Farley & Williams, Andrew Baird and Michael Savva handle various cross-border vessel financing matters. Charlotte Bijlani contributes disputes expertise, with her work including cases concerning superyachts.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Baird

Key clients


Standard Chartered


Work highlights

  • Advised a consortium of banks including DVB Bank on the refinancing of 34 dry bulk carriers operated by Polsteam, a Polish state-owned company.
  • Advised Standard Chartered on the refinancing of three Panamanian-flagged tankers owned by Oman Shipping Company.

Afridi & Angell

As part of its broader practices, litigators and deal lawyers in Afridi & Angell handle complex shipping work. Bashir Ahmed's transactional practice includes some shipping work, and for disputes work Chatura Randeniya's practice includes complex and cross-border work, often concerning vessel arrests.


‘Afridi & Angell have a very qualified team who are well versed with the local laws and provide correct advice to their clients. They are very prompt and efficient and always well researched.’


Key clients

Hyundai Heavy Industries

Steamship Mutual

Transworld Group of Companies

American President Lines

Orient Express Lines

West of England Ship Owners Mutual Insurance Assocation

Orient Overseas Container Line

National Bank of Fujairah

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

Emirates NBD

Work highlights

  • Advising several ship owners, operators and bunker supplies on claims in the wake of the demise of OW Bunker.


At Dentons, Paul Jarvis in Abu Dhabi - part of the firm's banking practice - handles a range of vessel finance instructions, primarily for banks.

Practice head(s):

Paul Jarvis

Work highlights

  • Advised Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank on lending a $15m ijara facility provided to Tomini Shipping to purchase two ships.
  • Advised Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank on a $26m senior secured ijara to part-finance the acquisition of three vessels by Emirates Ship Investment Company.