We regularly advise on all aspects of maritime law. This ranges from the highest profile casualties and major maritime losses to death and personal injury claims and day-to-day commercial disputes arising under shipping contracts. These can include charterparties and bills of lading as well as shipbuilding contracts.
Our Maritime practice advises on:
- Casualties, collisions, fires and salvage
- Charterparty and bill of lading disputes
- Cargo claims
- Death and personal injury
- Marine insurance
- Shipbuilding and repair
- Piracy and maritime security issues
Thomas Cooper have a proven track record of acting successfully for our clients. The Shipping case studies below are examples of our approach and the success it has brought our clients.
This case involved a fire on a car carrier as she was passing through the Malacca Straits. Spanish cargo underwriters instructed our Madrid office in respect of the loss and damage of 114 cars. The vessel sought refuge in Port Klang, and our Singapore office was asked to investigate the casualty. Access to the vessel was denied, but by attending the scene and speaking to local contacts, the port authority and fire brigade, we were able to piece together how the fire had started and why it had not been brought under control earlier. Working with that limited evidence, we assisted the Belgian court surveyor (who subsequently became involved) and through him we were able to discover clearly what had happened. The evidence and information gathered was then used to obtain a favourable settlement.
We were instructed by hull, cargo and P&I underwriters to assist in the rescue of the crew and recovery of the ship and her cargo of aluminium ingots following a piracy incident off Sumatra. The first challenge was to find the hijacked vessel. The pirates had repainted the vessel and changed her name. We enlisted the support of the IMB and issued a reward for information leading to the recovery of the vessel, her crew and cargo. This led to a trickle of information from informants, which our Singapore and London offices (working together) assessed. Sifting through this intelligence, and acting on information from the crew, who were washed up in a lifeboat off Phuket 10 days later, we found the ship still with half her cargo on board, collectively valued at about US$15 million. We then liaised with the Indian Navy, who captured her on the high seas with no little drama; following clients instructions and provision of a suitable indemnity the Indian Navy fired on the vessel. The “ALONDRA RAINBOW” was then towed to Mumbai, where we supervised applications for the return of the property. The total exercise lasted three months and led to the successful return of the ship and half her cargo. We then rendered assistance in the Indian prosecution of the pirates and had the satisfaction of seeing them sentenced to seven years’ hard labour.
CARIBBEAN FRONTIER C/W KOA SPIRIT
This case involved a collision between two oil tankers off Singapore. We acted for the “CARIBBEAN FRONTIER” which, as a result of the collision, had to tranship her cargo onto another vessel for on carriage to Nigeria. Our Singapore office was instructed to investigate the collision and deal with the salvage and general average issues, while our London office advised on what documentation was required to protect clients’ position regarding the on-carriage. Prompt advice was rendered by both offices and the matter was resolved with the minimum of fuss.
Our Athens office was instructed when the bulker “KRATEROS” ran aground causing considerable bottom damage on departing Vancouver after loading. Although 12 tugs were initially in attendance, the vessel was able to make her way back into port for repairs. Initially it was felt that the cargo of yellow peas would have to be discharged and then re-loaded following repairs for on-carriage to India. Our Vancouver office was mobilised to investigate the grounding, gather evidence and deal with the local authorities, while our Athens office coordinated with the clients and cargo interests about general average and security. Although delayed, the vessel was able to carry out significant repairs while afloat and fully laden, which met the approval of class and flag state. Thereafter she was able to continue her voyage via the "Southern route" across the Pacific to India where she successfully discharged her entire cargo without loss. The matter is ongoing.
GENMAR KESTREL C/W TRIJATA
Instructed by an oil major to protect their interests arising out of the collision between two fully laden VLCCs at the mouth of the Suez, one of which was the “GENMAR KESTREL” which had on board US$43 million worth of crude oil belonging to clients. US$1 million of that cargo was lost as a result of the collision. The “GENMAR KESTREL” and her remaining cargo had to be salvaged and we were instructed to handle the salvage claim against cargo as well as the recovery claims against both vessels. The case included consideration of jurisdictional and limitation issues, obtaining security and concluding settlements on terms that represented an almost full recovery.