Navigating the choppy seas of maritime law with confidence

Legal advice and services linked to maritime law is a core area of expertise for Hesketh Henry. Our marine lawyers are leaders in their speciality and have extensive domestic and international experience.  They advise across both contentious and transactional aspects of maritime business – providing commercially-driven, efficient, cost-effective recommendations.

Our marine clients include vessel owners and operators, logistics companies, ship repairers, shipbrokers, port agents, service providers, P&I Clubs and marine insurers, both in New Zealand and internationally.

The two senior partners managing our maritime law practice, Simon Cartwright and Alan Sherlock, have extensive experience with Admiralty and maritime law. Before joining Hesketh Henry, Simon headed the Middle East shipping and commodities practice of an international law firm, where he was rated in band 1 and as a leading individual in both the Chambers and Legal 500 directories. Alan is an expert in both maritime and insurance law, acting for insurers and commercial shipping enterprises. He is recommended in both the Asialaw and Chambers Asia Pacific legal directories. In addition, the firm’s Employment partner, Jim Roberts, is a former deck officer with experience on a variety of vessels including container, RoRo, bulk, general cargo, oil tankers, LPG tankers and multi-purpose offshore support vessels. Few maritime law firms can match our time at sea.  The team is complemented by construction expert Nick Gillies, who has experience advising in relation to ship build / repair contracts.

The scope of Hesketh Henry’s marine law practice is comprehensive and without equal in New Zealand. We can help with charter party disputes, cargo claims, advice on marine contract terms, marine insurance (coverage advice and claims), hull and machinery claims, and ship sale and purchase and finance. We can also assist with any type of maritime dispute, ship arrest and Admiralty proceedings, collisions and groundings, maritime salvage law, and ship building and repair contracts.


Need advice on Marine?
Contact the expert team at Hesketh Henry.

Examples of work completed by our team include:

  • Acting for the owners of a cement carrier following contact with a cruise vessel in the Port of Timaru, advising on liability, quantum, and security issues;
  • Advising NZ ferry operators on the purchase of a vessel from an international owner (valued at €40m);
  • Advising a multi-national marine engineering services company in relation to delay, disruption and variation claims, international debt recovery following non-payment for works; defending claims following engine reconditioning, and advising on long term services contracts;
  • Advising NZ fertiliser importers in connection with the detention of its chartered vessel in South Africa;
  • Advising international operators in LMAA arbitration regarding speed and performance disputes;
  • Advising oil major chartering clients following the allision of a bunker tanker in Auckland;
  • Obtaining leave to continue in rem proceedings against a vessel notwithstanding the Korean shipping company’s intervening administration and the effect of the Insolvency (Cross Border) Act 2006;
  • Defending a claim that deficiencies in the repair of the stern seal and exhaust system on a luxury 120 foot sailing yacht led to the yacht being unable to reach safe harbour in time and thereby suffering extensive damage from passing through a tropical cyclone.  The claim was settled on advantageous terms part way through a four week trial;
  • Acting for owners of a cargo vessel in respect of salvage, general average and hull insurance issues following the vessel grounding on a reef while under guidance by tugs;
  • Prosecuting a claim against repairers in respect of the breakage of a connecting rod and consequent disintegration of a super yacht main engine;
  • Advising on the purchase of the business and assets of a NZ shipowner.;
  • Advising on the financing of vessels and fishing trawlers; and
  • Advising a NZ based steel trader and manufacturer on a multi-million dollar demurrage claim following the failure of a mooring buoy in heavy weather.
Key Contacts
The Marine team has been recognised in the latest Legal500 Asia Pacific 2020 Directory.
Partner Simon Cartwright "Top Ranked" in The Chambers Asia Pacific 2021 legal directory.
Recommended by the Doyle's Guide Directory

Insights & Opinion / Marine

Maritime New Zealand v Genera Limited:  Health & Safety Prosecution in International Waters
In the first case of its kind, Genera Limited has been convicted of an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) in relation to an incident that occurred in international waters. The...
18.08.2021 Posted in Health & Safety & Maritime
The Shipping Law Review 2021 8th Edition
The Hesketh Henry marine team pen the New Zealand chapter of The Shipping Law Review.
02.07.2021 Posted in Maritime
English Supreme Court clarifies approach to determining the governing law of an international arbitration agreement
The English Supreme Court has recently clarified how the governing law of an arbitration agreement should be determined, where the agreement lacks an express choice of law provision.  In an area of l...
English Supreme Court rejects universal application of “gold standard” for disclosure of arbitrators’ interests
Justice must both be done, and be seen to be done.
10.02.2021 Posted in Insurance & Maritime & Trade and Commodities
Requirements for international yachts and crew entering New Zealand
While New Zealand’s sea borders are currently closed to most foreign Flagged vessels, a number of pleasure craft and super yachts in the Pacific are hoping to enter New Zealand in time for the Ameri...
04.12.2020 Posted in Maritime
COVID-19: Yachting update
The Covid-19 pandemic has already had a significant impact on the marine industry.  In this briefing, we summarise the current situation for the yachting sector in New Zealand and the Pacific. New Ze...
20.04.2020 Posted in COVID-19 & Maritime
COVID-19: It’s not plain sailing for yacht owners
These are challenging and uncertain times and we wanted to provide a briefing on some of the issues yacht owners may be experiencing during the current lockdown. Do you have a mortgage over your yacht...
16.04.2020 Posted in COVID-19 & Maritime & Trade and Commodities
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