Maritime Law

Our clients in the maritime, marine and transport industries include:

  • Clearing and forwarding agents.
  • Cold store and “cold-store chain” operators.
  • Liner operators of ships.
  • Marine crew, labour brokers and manning agents.
  • Marine and cargo surveyors.
  • Marine quota holders.
  • Road hauliers.
  • Stevedoring companies.
  • Warehouse and storage operators.
  • Insurers, including P & I Clubs.
  • Maritime industry and port lobby groups / associations.
  • Trade Unions (local and overseas) representing the interests of crew.
  • Bunker suppliers.
  • Suppliers of machinery and parts for ships.
  • Suppliers of fishing equipment and tackle.
  • Maritime telecommunication suppliers.
  • Perishable foods exporters.
  • Ship chandlers.
  • Cargo shippers.
  • Traders in marine products.
  • Ship agents, owners and operators.
  • Ship brokers and charterers.
  • Ship financiers, including mortgagees.
  • Foreign flag state registration compliance entities.
  • Ship repair and maintenance companies.
  • Diving and salvage companies.

Arrests & Attachments of Ships

  • Arrests and attachments of ships and other maritime property in South Africa under the Admiralty Jurisdiction Regulation Act no. 105 of 1983 (the AJRA), including “associated” ship arrests.
  • Arrests of vessels and other maritime property under section 5 (3) of the AJRA in order to obtain security for proceedings pending or contemplated in other jurisdictions.
  • Arrests of ships for cargo claims.
  • Arrests of ships for ship brokers.
  • Arrests of ships for salvage and towage claims.
  • Arrests of ships for crew claims.
  • Arrests and attachments of bunkers on board a vessel.
  • Arrests of ships for claims relating to charter parties.
  • Arrests for crew claims, including payment of arrear wages, severance pay, repatriation and other claims relating to the employment of crew on ships.
  • Arrests for bunker traders, mortgagees, insurance brokers, chandlers, ship management companies, manning agencies, ships’ agents, marine telecommunications companies and other service providers and suppliers of goods.
  • Arrests for claims relating to collision damage.

Sale, Detention, Forfeiture & Foreclosure of Ships

  • Applications for the sale of ships or arrested maritime property.
  • Advising clients on the procedure for the judicial sale of vessels and the bidding process for auctions of vessels.
  • Advising on the ranking of claims against admiralty funds (being the proceeds of the judicial sale of a ship), as well the procedure for the appointment of referees of admiralty funds,
  • Preparation and lodging of clients’ claims against admiralty funds, advising clients on the distribution of admiralty funds, and arranging payment of amounts recovered from admiralty funds to clients, both locally and overseas.
  • Advising clients on the effect that prior insolvency of the ship owner may have on admiralty funds.
  • Detention and forfeiture of ships.
  • Foreclosures of ships by mortgagees and other creditors


  • Drafting of ocean and NVOCC bills of lading and charter parties.
  • Ship finance and loan agreements and mortgage deeds.
  • Ship sale and charter party agreements.
  • Project management agreements for repair and refitting of ships.
  • Ships’ agency agreements.
  • Bunker traders and fuel resellers’ agreements.
  • Standard trading conditions and credit applications for maritime service providers.
  • Crew manning agreements.
  • Storage and warehousing agreements.
  • Advice and drafting of agreements relating to the sale, purchase and financing of ships, including pleasure craft, yachts, barges and fishing vessels.
  • Maritime-related commercial matters, for example joint fishing ventures and catch agreements, fish processing agreements and agreements for the hiring of commercial quays at South African ports.

Claims & Disputes

  • P & I Club advices, including advices given to hull and machinery insurers.
  • Cargo claims, including advice on the SA Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, no. 1 of 1986, bills of lading, NVOCC bills of lading and road and rail transportation.
  • Claims for personal injuries / loss of support relating to incidents occurring on vessels and in the marine environment in general.
  • Maritime commissions of enquiry.
  • All crew-related matters including advice on working conditions at sea.
  • Maritime arbitration.
  • Access disputes regarding vessels and marine matters generally.
  • Casualty investigations; including procuring of evidence from crew and other witnesses, the inspection and examination of cargo, documents or related items and the taking of evidence on commission.
  • Disputes relating to co-ownership of ships and other maritime property.

Customs, Immigration & International Trade Law

  • Customs and Immigration matters relating to ships and maritime matters in general, for example crew transit permits and “off port limits” disputes.
  • International commodity transactions, including cross-border sales of petroleum products and other commodities.
  • International trade law and Incoterms.
  • Advice on importation of goods, payment of duty, bond storage, entry of goods into the Southern African Customs Union and exportation of goods under the Customs and Excise Act.
  • Tariff and classification disputes relating to categories of goods imported into South Africa, and determination of dutiable amounts payable thereon.

Environmental Law, Fishing Law & Safety at Sea

  • Environmental Law & Marine Pollution, including advice on liability for oil pollution damage.
  • Fishing industry matters, including advice on the Marine Living Resources Act no. 18 of 1998.
  • Occupational safety matters relating to ships and the marine environment.
  • Safety at sea.

Salvage & Wreck Removal

  • Salvage, towage and pilotage.
  • Scrapping of ships, and disputes relating thereto, including debatement of accounts of co-owners of ships.
  • Wrecks and wreck removal.
  • Advice on marine legislation in South Africa, including the Merchant Shipping Act, no. 57 of 1951, the Wreck and Salvage Act no. 94 of 1996, Marine Pollution (Control and Civil Liability) Act no. 6 of 1981.

Ship Sales, Ship Building Agreements & Management of Ships

  • Advice and drafting of agreements relating to the sale, purchase and financing of ships, including cargo ships, pleasure craft, yachts, barges and fishing vessels.
  • Design and construction of ships.
  • Ship / yacht building and repair contracts.
  • Ship and yacht delivery disputes.
  • Marine insurance, including P & I insurance, hull and machinery, cargo insurance.
  • Ship management.
  • Registration of ships and mortgages under the South African register, as well as in foreign jurisdictions.