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Holman Fenwick Willan former Partner awarded OBE in New Year’s Honours List

3 January 2017

Leading international law firm Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) is delighted to announce that former Partner James Gosling (previously head of the Admiralty department and now a Consultant with the firm) has been appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the New Year’s Honours announced on 30 December 2016.

An OBE is a Queen’s honour given to an individual for a major role in any activity such as business, charity or the public sector. This honour relates to James’s role in pioneering the global shipping industry’s response to maritime piracy in Somalia. Over a period of 11 years, James and the HFW team, including in particular Partners Richard Neylon and George Lamplough and Associate Michael Ritter, worked with organisations in the City of London and the global shipping industry to bring about the release of more than 1,750 seafarers, many of whom were subjected to mistreatment and torture during their ordeals. This included providing pro bono legal services and support to secure the release of the 48 “forgotten” seafarer hostages from four vessels, some of whom had been held hostage on land in Somalia for more than four years.

“I am very honoured to have been awarded an OBE, which I believe is recognition of the real team effort which went into tackling the issue of marine piracy in Somalia and to achieving the release of more than 1,750 seafarer hostages in total over a period of more than 10 years. I would like to extend my deep gratitude to the team at HFW (in particular Richard Neylon and Michael Ritter) and the various organisations I have worked with in the City of London and internationally to collectively bring about the end of Somali piracy. My particular thanks go to the management of HFW who trusted and supported the team to work on these difficult and challenging cases. We should never forget the unfortunate individuals who endured a terrible time in captivity and are now trying to recover.” said James.

Richard Crump, Senior Partner of Holman Fenwick Willan said “The firm is immensely proud of the work James and the team has done to tackle marine piracy often in very difficult circumstances and this honour is testament to James’s dedication to the shipping industry. It is very well deserved and we join others in congratulating James in his own right and as a former Partner of the firm.”

For further information please contact Tania Phayre, Head of Marketing, on +44 (0)20 7264 8546, or email