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Hill Dickinson consolidates its position at centre of Hong Kong dispute resolution

Recognising Hill Dickinson’s capability and expertise in arbitration as a form of dispute resolution, the firm’s Edward Liu has been reappointed to Hong Kong’s Advisory Committee on Promotion of Arbitration. His new three-year term of office extends to 2024. The Committee advises and assists Hong Kong’s Department of Justice in the promotion of arbitration in Hong Kong. Inviting him to be reappointed, Ms Teresa Cheng, SC, Secretary for Justice praised Mr Liu’s “expertise and experience in the legal and arbitration sector” and the “valuable inputs” he has been providing to ...

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Reed Smith: Legal advice following delays at Australia’s Port of Newcastle

Jeb Clulow, a partner in Reed Smith’s Transportation Industry Group, said: “Vessel owners, charterers, buyers and sellers will be anticipating significant delays at Newcastle and other Australian bulk export ports on account of the flooding affecting much of Australia, particularly railways linking producers with the ports. Questions inevitably will arise as to how contracts allocate risk for delay. Parties should consider whether: the contract contains a Force Majeure (FM) clause; it operates in the event of delay in performance; the relationship with any laytime & demurrage clause; the FM event ...

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WFW advises Star Bulk on acquisition of seven vessels from Scorpio Bulkers

Watson Farley & Williams (“WFW”) has advised NASDAQ listed Star Bulk Carriers Corp. (“Star Bulk”) on the acquisition of seven vessels (the “Vessels”) from the NYSE listed Scorpio Bulkers Inc., (“SALT”) by assuming the outstanding lease obligations of the Vessels which are currently at US$102.3m. As consideration, Star Bulk have issued SALT three million newly issued Star Bulk shares. This continues the cooperation between WFW and Star Bulk with Star Bulk’s impressive acquisition programme, previously advising them in 2018 on the acquisition of multiple vessels from both Augustea and E.R. ...

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Ship management companies and Tonnage Tax Rules

A longstanding maritime legacy and EU accession have been instrumental to Malta consistently improving its status as a leading maritime hub in the Mediterranean and becoming the largest maritime flag in Europe. The Malta flag is often considered a flag of choice for shipowners, charterers and financiers alike, which are attracted by the experience and reliability offered by the Malta Ship Registry, as well as the existence of a robust legal framework. Collectively, these characteristics have increased the international standing of the registry while simultaneously maintaining its whitelisting in the ...

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Know your debtor: ship arrests for claims against bareboat charterers

In a recent decision¹ by Admiralty Registrar Davison², in a case in which WFW acted for the successful shipowner, the Admiralty Court has helpfully confirmed that claims against bareboat (demise) charterers can only be enforced against the ship in respect of which the claim arose if the charter remains in place when proceedings are commenced. Such claims cannot, therefore, be brought against the sale proceeds of a ship that has been judicially sold. Once the charter comes to an end or is terminated and the ship is redelivered to the ...

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The marine industry in Cyprus and the COVID-19 vaccine

As COVID-19 vaccines become more and more available there are feelings of excitement and trepidation in equal measures. With people starting to receive the COVID-19 vaccines in Cyprus, many questions are being raised by employers and employees alike, particularly whether employers can force employees to be immunized. Likewise, similar issues arise from a marine perspective with many shipowners asking if they can compel the seafarers to get vaccinated, and what they can do if seafarers refuse. Another highly disputable issue is also that of liability: more specifically as to who ...

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WFW advises TORM on purchase of eight MR product tankers from TEAM Tankers

Watson Farley & Williams (“WFW”) has advised TORM on its agreement to purchase eight 2007-2012 MR product tankers with chemical trading capabilities from TEAM Tankers Deep Sea Ltd., for a total cash consideration of US$82.5m and the issuance of 5.97m TORM shares. The vessels are scheduled to be delivered during the second and third quarter of 2021 and, in connection with each delivery, TORM will issue the shares to TEAM Tankers in tranches based on the individual vessel’s relative value. The agreed individual share issuances are subject to adjustments related ...

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Evergreen wins landmark collision case in UK’s Supreme Court

It was a clear February night off the port of Jebel Ali, UAE in 2015. The conditions were benign, and visibility was good. EVER SMART, a large container ship owned by Evergreen and insured by Gard, was proceeding up a narrow channel which connects the port with the open sea, in order to exit the port. ALEXANDRA 1, a VLCC, was outside the narrow channel in the pilot boarding area. She intended to pick up the outbound EVER SMART’s pilot and enter the port via the narrow channel. At 2342 ...

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CIT Serves as Sole Lead Arranger on $45 Million Financing for Container Ships

CIT Group Inc. announced that its Maritime Finance business served as sole lead arranger on a $45 million financing for a portfolio of seven container ships. The financing was arranged on behalf of a fund managed by Mangrove Partners, a New York City-based value-oriented investment manager with substantial expertise is shipping assets. All seven vessels are covered by existing charters with leading container ship operators. “CIT’s maritime expertise was evident throughout the financing process,” said Nathaniel August, President of Mangrove Partners. “We appreciated CIT’s agility in bringing this transaction to ...

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To bid or not to bid: Credit bidding in vessel sales pendente lite

Credit bidding is the process whereby a lender, with a secured charge over a borrower’s asset, bids on that asset using the very debt that is owed by the borrower to the lender. The circumstances are usually foreclosure of a lending position against a borrower. In the maritime sector, this process often takes place in the context of forced judicial sales of vessels pendente lite (i.e., during the course of litigation) and frequently before judgment is obtained against the borrower shipowner. However, why would or should the secured lenders be ...

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Scope 3 emissions: how the freight industry will transition to net zero

In February 2020, BP announced that it aims to be “net zero across its operations on an absolute basis by 2050 or sooner”. In April 2020, Shell announced “we aim to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner”. These ambitions relate to the three Greenhouse Gas Protocol ‘Scopes’. Scopes 1 and 2 relate to emissions directly and indirectly produced by a company, while Scope 3 emissions are much broader and relate to all other indirect emissions throughout a company’s value chain. Scope 3 goes far beyond Scopes ...

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Cyprus: Fast-Track Business Activation

A Fast-Track Business Activation policy has been recently implemented by the Cyprus Government aiming to support companies wishing to set-up or further expand their operations in Cyprus. Under this new policy, eligible companies can enjoy an accelerated procedure for the incorporation, as well as the registration with relevant public bodies required for the company’s operations. In light of the recent revision of the policy for the employment of non-EU nationals, companies under the Fast-Track Business Activation shall be enabled to hire an increased number of staff in key positions, while ...

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WFW advises Macquarie Bank on first of its kind shipping loan/lease securitisation for Fleetscape

Watson Farley & Williams (“WFW”) has advised Macquarie Bank Limited (“Macquarie”) in relation to the securitisation of certain underlying loans for Fleetscape Capital Limited (“Fleetscape”) in respect of the financing of ships on lease to various lessees. Oxane acted as facility agent and security trustee. This was an innovative and first of its kind securitisation in the shipping sector. Securitisation principles and certain structuring efficiencies were utilised to enable Fleetscape to offer sale-and-leaseback or unitranche financing on highly competitive terms. The structure is versatile and has been prepared on the ...

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Maritime arbitration – then and now

Then There was a small cohort of maritime arbitrators, mostly from pure shipping backgrounds rather than the law. London had much more competition than now – mostly from New York and Paris. There was little formality; lawyers only came into the bigger arbitrations. The arbitrators were often appointed for known views which meant that they frequently disagreed and had to refer to an umpire. Most cases were dealt with on paper. The claimant sent its arbitrator its brief, informal, submissions and a few accompanying documents which that arbitrator would then ...

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UK judgments and arbitration awards: the question of enforcement post Brexit

The question of enforcement of UK judgments in other EU countries (and vice versa) is still in flux, since the transition period for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU ended on 31 December 2020. However, it appears that the answer lies in the – bilateral or multilateral – treaties that the UK has and will sign after Brexit. In the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK and the EU agreed that Union law is defined as ‘including international agreements concluded by the EU’ (Articles 129 and 2(a)(iv) of the Withdrawal Agreement). ...

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