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Shipping Litigation "Dispute capabilities encompass both wet and dry work,
with considerable experience of advising export credit agencies."
– Chambers Asia Pacific 2019


Kim & Chang has the resources and expertise to resolve a wide range of maritime disputes in various forums.

Having represented domestic and international ship owners, Protection & Indemnity Clubs, maritime insurance companies, and shipbuilders, we have handled diverse maritime disputes including but not limited to disputes arising from ship collisions, loss of and/or damages to cargo goods, charterparties, shipbuilding contracts, pollution due to oil leakage and other waste materials, marine insurance and reinsurance, bankruptcy of shipping or shipbuilding companies, and arrest and lift of the arrest of vessels.

When our clients are faced with maritime disputes, we fully utilize our resources including maritime lawyers and professionals specialized in other various fields. We provide services that are tailored to each client, developing the most comprehensive and cost-effective strategy for each client in various kinds of maritime disputes. For example, in a case involving a major ship collision, we were involved from the early stage of the incident, beginning with fact finding. We were also involved in the related criminal proceeding including marine police investigation as well as the resulting Korean Maritime Safety Tribunal (“KMST”) proceeding and civil litigation. In these proceedings, we advised our client in respect of various challenging issues arising from damages caused by the collision.

Key Experienceshow

Our representative legal matters include the following:
Environmental Pollution arising from Oil Spill

We were involved in the biggest large-scale oil spill incident in Korea caused by a collision between a foreign-flag ship and a Korean tug-tow convoy. We advised and represented our client in all phases of this case, including government investigations. We provided counsel to our client in relation to risk management from the early stage of the accident, helping to establish the Limitation Fund in accordance with the CLC and the Fund Convention. We also represented our client against various claims for damage compensation.

Collision / Sinking / Fire On-Board

We have handled numerous collision cases. For example, we advised our clients in a collision case which occurred over Korean waters that resulted in the sinking of one vessel and a fire on the other vessel. In the course of advising and representing our clients in such incidents, we were involved in various investigations from the early stage. We also advised and represented our clients on compensation for the crew, tort claims for environmental pollution, and judicial proceedings related to, among others, cargo claims in China, US, and Korea.

In another recent collision case, we represented ship owners and Protection & Indemnity Clubs in connection with a collision and sinking of Korean flag ships in the territorial waters of Korea. We provided a wide range of services including investigation, salvage-related advice, representation in the KMST proceeding, civil and criminal litigation, and insurance claims.

Bankruptcy of Shipping Companies

Due to the worldwide recession in the shipping industry, large Korean shipping companies such as Korea Line Corporation, Samsun Logix Corporation, Pan Ocean and Hanjin Shipping filed for rehabilitation proceedings in Korea. At these proceedings, we represented either the debtor shipping company or various creditors. Meanwhile, in cases where we represented shipping companies in bankruptcy proceedings, we successfully obtained recognition of the Korean rehabilitation proceedings in the UK and the US courts. In addition, we carried out confirmatory actions related to the rehabilitation proceedings, tackling diverse complex legal issues arising from charterparty disputes, etc.

Legal Disputes about Shipbuilding Contracts

We have obtained favorable outcomes for our clients in various disputes in London arbitration and/or litigation, including disputes between shipbuilding companies and ship owners related to the delivery of new vessels, disputes related to the scope of warranty repairs by the shipbuilder after delivery, and disputes related to the refund guarantee of advance payment. We have also represented our clients in many international arbitration cases between an insurance company and a reinsurance company with regard to refund guarantees. We have successfully defended a Korean shipbuilder in a LMAA arbitration case in connection with the delayed delivery of a ship, which required delay analysis and engineering expertise.


Arrest Cases

We have successfully lifted maritime lien arrest based on the necessity claim from fuel suppliers before Korean courts. We also have obtained favorable outcomes for our clients in arrest actions where the corporate veil piercing was at issue. We have represented a Korean shipbuilder as the mortgagee before an Indian court to participate in the public sale of the arrested vessel and successfully recovered the secured debt from the proceeding.

Compliance Issues of Shipping Companies

Due to recent changes in the business environment, antitrust and competition issues relating to tax, customs, foreign exchange, and collaborative activities involving shipping companies have become salient. We provide advice that meets and exceeds our clients’ expectations because we have an intimate understanding of the characteristics of shipping companies. Based on this understanding, our maritime team works in collaboration with other relevant teams at the firm (tax, customs, antitrust and competition, etc.) to provide practical solutions to our clients.

Labor and Disaster Issues of Shipping Companies

With the Maritime Labour Convention now in force, issues such as ordinary wage, minimum wage, and maximum working hours have been raised, and labor issues involving crew members and other workers of shipping companies are attracting public attention. Meanwhile, since the sinking of MV Sewol (April 16, 2014), the Korean society has become more aware of accidents involving shipping companies. As a result, industrial accidents involving crew members and employees of shipping companies (shipyards) are being investigated more strictly, and responsible individuals are punished more severely. We have the requisite understanding of the working environment at shipping companies, and our maritime team works with other teams at the firm to provide tailor-made advice and assistance for criminal and administrative procedures.


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