Marine casualty and investigation

Shipping specialists with great response times who provide a breath of maritime expertise, giving the client standout advice.

The Legal 500
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While safety is, and has always been, at the top of the agenda for the maritime and offshore industry, incidents do nevertheless occur due to the sea’s volatile environment. In the event of marine casualty, our specialist lawyers provide a 24/7 emergency response service to shipowners, P&I clubs and insurers around the world.

We have the strength and depth of expertise to handle all major maritime casualties and incidents, including groundings, fires, collisions, pollution incidents and investigations as well as the full range of marine claims. Our lawyers are based in the UK, Spain, Greece and Singapore and offer over 150 years’ combined experience in dealing with casualties globally. Where required, they work alongside an established international network of technical and legal professionals. 

In the immediate aftermath of a casualty, we deploy all the resources necessary to provide timely advice in a calm, succinct manner, offering immediate solutions and integrating our approach with our clients’ own emergency response internal processes. We focus not only on urgent steps to safeguard life, vessels, cargo and affected third parties but also on the potential liabilities that can arise from maritime casualties - including charterparty and cargo disputes, jurisdictional issues, third party claims, pollution, salvage, limitation, general average, wreck removal, insurance disputes and personal injury or fatal accident claims.

For investigations, where possible, we use analytical techniques to extract and assess VDR and AIS data, recreate navigation plots on various types of charts, including electronic navigational charts, often with satellite and other overlays, and use maritime intelligence sources to identify parties, destinations and trading patterns. While we regularly provide initial analysis in-house, we do not hesitate to engage external consultants for further investigation when necessary. 

Our lawyers are also well-known for their significant track record in marine salvage and are one of the few maritime teams consistently dealing with a high number of cases annually. After swiftly drawing together factual information about the incident and its surrounding environment, we are on hand to provide practical support throughout the salvage operation itself and to ensure that the appropriate evidence is gathered.

Where there is suspected foul play, we have a wealth of experience in dealing with authorities and in defending clients’ interests if criminal penalties should arise. We are familiar with the full spectrum of issues that need to be dealt with and work tirelessly to secure the best outcome.

We offer expert advice on:

  • casualty investigations
  • grounding incidents
  • collision assessments
  • ice damage
  • salvage for salvor or property interests
  • wreck removal
  • marine personal injury and fatality claims
  • regulatory and criminal investigations
  • marine leisure – cruise liners, yachts and superyachts

Recent work highlights

Admiralty Court collision trial

Representing the owners of a vessel involved in a collision with a bulk carrier in the Suez Canal which led to a trial in the Admiralty Court in London.

Major damage to iron ore carrier

Advising on salvage operation and cargo claims after an ore carrier transporting 306,000 tons of iron ore ran aground approximately 100km off the coast of Brazil.

Explosion at Jordanian port

Advising the owners of a Hong Kong registered bulk carrier on a series of claims following a significant fire and explosion at Aqaba Port in Jordan.

FPSO failure and decommissioning

Investigating the structural failure of an FPSO vessel off the west coast of Africa for an oil major, as well as advising on its rapid decommissioning and removal from the field.

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Related expertise

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP