Skip to main content

HFW

Maritime Response

Brexit

GDPR

In this section

Marine Insurance

SOLUTIONS-DRIVEN LEGAL ADVICE IN THE marine insurance SECTOR

With one of the longest established and largest marine practices in the world, our team has a specialist understanding of the legal principles relating to marine insurance and a sound commercial understanding of the marketplace.

Our specialists are able to advise on all aspects of marine insurance. Where necessary we are able to mobilise an extensive network of legal contacts and experts and, as required, to manage them as ‘global counsel’ for a comprehensive service.

We have been at the forefront of many market leading, reported cases of recent years:

  • Versloot Dredging BV and another (Appellants) v HDI Gerling Industrie Versicherung AG and others (Respondents) [2016] UKSC 45 (the “DC MERWESTONE”) when we redefined the scope of the fraudulent device doctrine.
  • Kairos Shipping Ltd v Enka & Co LLC and Ors [2014]EWCA Civ 217 (the “ATLANTIK CONFIDENCE”) when we broke tonnage limitation for the first time ever in a common law jurisdiction and successfully proved that the vessel was scuttled.
  • Venetico Marine SA vs International General Insurance Company Limited and Nineteen Others [2013] EWHC 3644 (Comm) (the IRENE EM”) when we updated the law on CTL/ATL and how a CTL is calculated.
  • Cosco Bulk Carrier Co Ltd v Tianjin General Nice Coke and Chemicals Co Ltd (The “Jia Li Hai”) EWHC 2509 when we successfully claimed contribution from cargo interests against an unseaworthiness defence.

What our clients say about us

“Their service and responsiveness are second to none. They always follow through on commitments and manage expectations appropriately.”
Chambers, Insurance: Contentious Litigation, UK Guide 2018

“They balance the strict legal position with practical, outcome‑focused advice.”
Chambers, Insurance: Contentious Litigation, UK Guide 2018

“The team is excellent. Client service is absolutely first-rate – my queries are dealt with quickly and efficiently.”
Chambers, Insurance: Contentious Litigation, UK Guide 2018

To gauge a deeper understanding of our approach as a legal services provider to the marine insurance industry, please see below which further detail our marine insurance team’s broad industry and technical experience.

Hull & Machinery

HFW is universally regarded as the world’s leading maritime law firm. We have a pre-eminent reputation in the field. We deal with the full range of legal issues that arise from marine and offshore emergencies such as collisions, groundings, pollution, fire and explosion, salvage, wreck removal and towage as well as maritime security and piracy. The team is available 24/7 to attend casualty incidents worldwide and our global network can be on location within 24 hours practically anywhere in the world.

In addition to our large team of dedicated maritime lawyers, the firm has a large number of master mariners spread across our network of offices with many years of relevant experience in the commercial sector. Many of our master mariners are legally qualified and include several ex-military and ex-yachting personnel. Our lawyers and master mariners are constantly available to attend casualties and manage a crisis - assisting the crew, investigating the incident and helping to protect those involved from the very beginning.

At all times our aim is to protect our clients’ interests by reacting quickly to incidents, assembling the appropriate people or teams to deal with the multitude of issues which can arise, thoroughly investigate the facts and control media interest.

As a result, HFW have been involved in all of the most recent H&M loses of the past years including the “SANCHI”, “MAERSK HONAM”, “KEA TRADER”, “NEW MYKONOS”, “CCNI ARAUCO”, “MAERSK SEOUL”, “BREMEN EXPRESS”, “HANJIN GREEN EARTH”, “MAERSK LONDRINA”, “HOEGH OSAKA”, “SAN FELIPE”, “HANJIN ATHENS”, “COSCO NAGOYA”, “MOL COMFORT”, and “AMSTERDAM BRIDGE”

What our clients say about us:

“Sources note the global spread of the firm and its pre-eminence in wet shipping work.”
Chambers, Shipping: Litigation – Global-Wide, Global Guide 2018

“If there’s a chunky dispute, HFW will be on the other side. They’ve always been regarded as the best firm for shipping disputes.”
Chambers, Shipping – United Arab Emirates, Global Guide 2018

“HFW Singapore LLP has been recently noted for its ‘fast turnaround when dealing with time sensitive material’ and demonstrates a ‘good grasp of industrial knowledge’.”
Legal 500, Singapore: Shipping, 2018

Download our Hull & Machinery flyer

Yachts

We have a market leading yacht practice with a dedicated team of yacht lawyers expert in the entire life cycle of yacht law. From new builds to financing to sales, right through to casualty response and insurance coverage. Our microsite www.hfwyachts.com shows our dedication to this market and our expertise.

Recent work

We advise on all insurance issues relating to yachts including:

  • Acting for a yacht yard and their liability insurers for a claim under a construction warranty.
  • Acting in relation to the crash of a helicopter whilst landing on a yacht.
  • Acting for Owners and underwriters following a fire whilst at sea in the Mediterranean.
  • Acting for Owners and underwriters following a series of Caribbean total losses as a result of recent extreme weather.
  • Acting for the Owners and underwriters of a racing yacht following an LOF and successfully negotiating a prompt settlement of the Article 13 liability.
  • Acting for Owners and underwriters in the recovery against a third party following extensive damage to gel coatings during transport.

What our clients say about us

“They’re up there in the Premier League.”
Chambers, Yachts & Superyachts – Global-Wide, HNW Guide 2017

“I’ve always found the service to be first rate. They are always very responsive and very approachable.”
Chambers, Yachts & Superyachts – Global-Wide, HNW Guide 2017

“They’re very easy to deal with and very results orientated as well.”
Chambers, Yachts & Superyachts – Global-Wide, HNW Guide 2017

Download our Yachts flyer

Logistics

HFW indisputably has the leading global logistics offering, with real and dedicated specialists in the majority of our offices. Insurers of logistics companies use HFW because we understand their assureds, the contracts they use and the insurance they need.

Our deep expertise in logistics contracting and disputes means that we are constantly at the forefront of major incidents in the industry (e.g. we were appointed by logistics operators and their insurers in relation to the 2017 cyber attacks, the GGC restrictions on Qatar, the Hanjin collapse and the Tianjin fire). We are regularly instructed on high value complex disputes.

Recent work

  • Assisting a warehousing company and its insurers on a circa £3 million claim for incorrect customs declarations, advising on liability and limitation.
  • Working with a large EPC in its tender process for the transportation of time sensitive train rolling stock and associated infrastructure.
  • Representing a leading provider of retail logistics services in relation to a series of claims for delivery of goods without production of original bills of lading.
  • Defending claims for wilful misconduct arising from the theft of very high-value consumer electronic goods.
  • Advising a logistics company on how to deal with a customer entering into administration owing over £600,000 in relation to freight and ancillary services.
  • Advising a leading UK retailer on how to dovetail procurement of goods with supply chain contracts.
  • Drafting a suite of carriage documents for an international logistics company; standard terms and conditions, bills of lading terms; FCR terms, Air Waybills terms.

What our clients say about us

“They are truly customer-driven. They will work around the clock if necessary to deliver the best results for their clients.”
Chambers, Transport: Logistics, UK-Wide, 2018

“They are excellent and clearly specialists in their field.”
Chambers, Transport: Logistics, UK-Wide, 2018

“Their strength in shipping advisory helps position us to take advantage of the opportunities in our targeted countries.”
Chambers, Shipping: Litigation – Asia-Pacific Region, Asia-Pacific Guide 2018

Download our Logistics flyer

Ports & Terminals

HFW has in-depth knowledge of ports and terminals. We have written or advised on the most commonly used property, liability and package policies. We have also written a number of the commonly used contracts which interact with those insurance policies.

Our global reach, experience and unique insight into the industry means that we are appointed by insurers as co-ordinating counsel in difficult jurisdictions and in complex claims.

Recent work

  • Advising a terminal operator and its liability insurer as to the effect of cargo insurance offered by container line customers in the context of third party claims.
  • Advising brokers on the scope of business interruption cover provided by a policy, and how this compared with cover provided by other market wordings.
  • Acting as co-ordinating counsel in relation to claims on a London market insurer’s book of business in East Europe.
  • Working with a leading broker to produce innovative new ports and terminals package wording.
  • Advising on law, jurisdiction and provision of security following property damage caused by a visiting vessel.
  • Advising a terminal on its liability for an alleged breach of a safe berth.

What our clients say about us

“They are clearly specialists in their respective fields and have provided us with efficient and to-the-point service.”
Chambers, Shipping – UK-Wide, UK Guide 2018

“They are definitely a leading shipping group.”
Chambers, Shipping – UK-Wide, UK Guide 2018

“HFW’s ‘commercially minded team’ is noted for its ‘vast experience across shipping’, which spans wet and dry mandates.”
Legal 500, London: Transport, Shipping, 2018

Download our Ports & Terminals flyer

Cargo

Our experience in cargo is rooted in our client base. HFW acts for some of the world’s largest cargo owners, commodity traders, manufacturers and retailers. We advise them on the insurance issues arising from the transportation, distribution and associated logistics of moving goods around the globe.

Our team advises cargo insurers on wordings and products, coverage, regulatory matters, and subrogated claims.

Recent work

  • For a new entrant into the European cargo insurance market, drafting a cargo policy wording and complete suite of supporting documents; advising on FCA compliance, passporting of services, and claims protocols.
  • Advising London Market insurers on a CTL claim in the context of “ransomed” cargo and recovery under the policy.
  • Representing European insurers on multi-jurisdictional fear of loss claims made by assured.
  • Working with London Market insurers to investigate and then advise on high value suspected fraudulent claims.
  • Kairos Shipping Ltd v Enka & Co LLC and Ors [2014] EWCA Civ 217 (the “ATLANTIK CONFIDENCE”) when we broke tonnage limitation for the first time ever in a common law jurisdiction and successfully proved that the vessel was scuttled. 

What our clients say about us

“HFW has ‘a very strong practice – top tier’.”
Legal 500, London: Finance, Commodities: Physicals, 2018

“A ‘top player in international shipping disputes’.”
Legal 500, London: Transport, Shipping, 2018

Download our Cargo flyer

Complex Environments

We are widely regarded as the leading law firm globally that responds to incidents in complex environments on behalf of special risks, K&R, property, war and liability insurers and their assureds. We have acted for ship‑owners, hull and machinery, kidnap and ransom and war insurers in helping to resolve over 120 Somali and West African hijacking and kidnapping cases in the past few years. This accounts for around 75% of all major commercial vessel hijackings by Somali pirates.

Recent work

Acting to release property, vessels, cargo, personnel and crew seized/detained by hostile and/or politically motivated authorities, including allegations of smuggling, improper licence, customs violations, interference with sovereign rights and resources, weapons and drug offences.

  • Acting and advising in relation to land based kidnappings/extortions in Afghanistan, the Middle East, Nigeria, North Africa, the Philippines, Somalia, South America and elsewhere.
  • Working to recover detained persons, vessels, cash, artworks, antiquities, treasure and other property.
  • Advising in relation to rebel and hostile forces taking action against property, vessels, ports and terminals.
  • Policy coverage advice including “weapons of war”, political motivation, exercise of oppressive and excessive power, and other policy issues.
  • Addressing various governments, law enforcement agencies, and governmental and non-governmental organisations on the industry’s response to incidents in complex environments, including the United Nations, World Bank, IMO and UK PM David Cameron’s “Piracy Task Force”.
  • Advising on vessel “deemed” constructive total loss claims after prolonged detentions and the defences of “ordinary judicial process”, failure to pay fines/penalties and infringement of regulations.

What others say about us

“In another highlight illustrating the breadth of its maritime expertise, the piracy team secured the release of 26 hostages held in Somalia in 2016.”
Legal 500, London: Transport, Shipping, 2018

HFW’s work was expressly commended by the United Nations in securing the release of the 26 hostages from the vessel “NAHAM 3” as part of the Hostage Support Partnership.
United Nations Security Council Resolution [2383 (2017)]

Download our Complex Environments flyer

Contact Us

Latest News