Trade & Transport


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

Insights & Opinion / Marine

Anti-Suit Injunctions in Support of Arbitration Agreements
In a recent decision in which Hesketh Henry acted for the successful applicant, the High Court of New Zealand ordered an anti-suit injunction in support of an agreement to arbitrate – the first such...
06.07.2023 Posted in Trade and Transport
It’s not “all care, no responsibility”
Director prosecuted for health and safety failures arising from fire that caused significant damage to cargo ship.
29.05.2023 Posted in Health & Safety & Trade and Transport
The IMO Unified Interpretation on the Test to Break a Shipowner’s Right to Limit Liability
A central feature of the maritime limitation regime is a shipowner’s right to limit liability for maritime claims based on the tonnage of the vessel, granted in exchange for the acceptance of strict...
08.05.2023 Posted in Business Advice & Insurance & Trade and Transport
Concrete pillars impressive
Leave refused for second appeal in relation to sentence on sinking fatalities
In May, the Court of Appeal refused to grant leave to Ocean Fisheries Limited (Ocean Fisheries) to further appeal the size of an emotional harm reparation sentence.  Factual Background  In October 2...
20.12.2022 Posted in Health & Safety & Trade and Transport
Russia, Sanctions, and Force Majeure: MUR Shipping BV v RTI Ltd
It is common for force majeure clauses to define a “force majeure event” as being one that cannot reasonably be prevented by the parties. The wording may differ among clauses, but the requirement ...
21.09.2022 Posted in Disputes & Trade and Transport
Hesketh Henry ranked in the latest Asia-Pacific Chambers Legal Directory 2022
Henry has received the following recommendations and commentary in the high-profile Asia-Pacific Chambers Legal Directory for 2022
2021 Maritime Arbitration Enforcement Series.
The Hesketh Henry Trade and Transport team are proud contributors of the SCMA (Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration) 2021 Maritime Arbitration Enforcement Series.  Authors Simon Cartwright, Part...
20.12.2021 Posted in Trade and Transport
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