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We act for international and domestic ship owners, operators and their P&I and Hull & Machinery insurers in relation to all aspects of commercial ship acquisition and disposal, operation, liability and regulation.  We act for industry participants in the liner, bulk and project cargo trades, offshore operations and supply, towage/salvage and cruise sectors.

Our lawyers sit on the peak Australian industry advisory legal steering panel for ship owners and operators trading to and from Australia and are members of and chair a number of other industry organisations, as a result of which we are familiar with the commercial drivers and regulatory challenges affecting the industry.

Legal Expertise

We provide commercial, timely and cost-effective advice to ship owners and operators in relation to:

  • Sale and purchase of vessels
  • Ship registration and registration of security interests under the Personal Property Securities Act (2009) (Cth) (PPSA)
  • Ship building, repair and financing
  • Chartering, contracts of affreightment and claims for breach, demurrage and hire
  • Bill of lading and commercial documentation
  • Carriage of goods and cargo claims for loss, damage and delay
  • Freight and debt recovery
  • Agency, ship management, terminal services and stevedoring
  • Shipping pools, vessel sharing, joint ventures, consortia, conferences and competition
  • Regulatory matters
  • Coastal trading
  • Employment, workplace relations, work health and safety and immigration
  • Collision, marine pollution, salvage and wreck removal
  • Vessel scrapping
  • Enforcement of securities.

In relation to disputes, we act in Federal and Supreme Court litigation (including Admiralty claims and arrest matters) as well as domestic and international arbitration and mediation.  We work closely with clients to develop the most cost-effective strategy to ensure the successful resolution of disputes.

Relevant Experience

The experience of our partners and senior lawyers includes:

  • Defending a claim for $38 million in the Federal Court in relation to alleged damage to a cargo of locomotives
  • Acting for the joint venturer responsible for the removal of the wreck of the “West Atlas” drilling rig, including in relation to joint venture structuring, contract management of a suite of sub-contracts, offshore oil and gas safety case development
  • Advising and negotiating with the Australian Government on behalf of the successful tenderer for Australia’s emergency oil spill response capability
  • Representing owners and their P&I Club in relation to the death of three crew members on board a bulk cargo vessel
  • Obtaining USD 70m default judgment against owners of the HAI SHI in favour of the mortgagee Bank and effecting the arrest and judicial sale of the vessel
  • Priorities issues between creditors were resolved by agreement and the vessel sale effected within approximately 3 months of initial arrest
  • Acting for a bank in a major refinancing transaction for Bermudan shipping and offshore facility operator in managing the Australian law and asset security aspects of USD 400m deal – a key aspect of the matter was consideration of and advice regarding the impact of the PPSA on the perfection and enforcement of security interests over Australian assets under Singapore-law governed securities documents, and the interaction of the PPSA and Admiralty law in regard to mortgages of ships
  • Advising a vendor of an Australian-flagged vessel in relation to its obligations under the Basel Convention on disposal of waste
  • Advising a major Danish ship-financier bank in relation to admiralty procedures in Australia.

Key People

Geoff Farnsworth | Sydney
Nathan Cecil
| Sydney

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