Contact details

Sean Gibbons

T: +44 207 809 2613 M: +44 7740 941349 Email Sean | Vcard Office: London

Sean Gibbons Partner

Contact details

Sean Gibbons

Sean Gibbons
Partner

T: +44 207 809 2613 M: +44 7740 941349 Email Sean | Vcard Office: London

Sean specialises in shipping, shipbuilding and offshore disputes and also advises shipyards and shipowners on negotiations for new contracts.  He is recognised by The Legal 500 as a leading individual and has been praised by both, The Legal 500 and Chambers, for his commercial perspective when advising clients.
  • Profile
  • Services
  • Sectors
  • Locations
Sean advises a diverse range of clients, including shipowners and charterers, P&I and Defence Clubs, shipyards and banks. He has extensive experience of High Court litigation and arbitration (LMAA, LCIA and ICC) in relation to disputes under charterparties, bills of lading, MoAs and shipbuilding contracts covering vessels/superyachts and offshore structures of all types.  Sean also advises in contract negotiations relating to newbuildings.

He is regularly instructed in matters involving investigation and defending of fraudulent cargo claims made against shipowners, insurers and banks and has spent extensive time in West African countries investigating such claims. As a result, Sean is a specialist in obtaining freezing/inspection/disclosure orders and anti-suit injunctions in the English Courts, especially as a part of the asset tracing process.

Sean also advises ship finance banks in relation to enforcement of mortgages. This includes the provision of both legal and practical advice on the strategic options available to enforce the lenders’ security.
 
 “excellent” 

The Legal 500 2015
 
  • Shipbuilding & Offshore Construction
  • International Arbitration
  • Shipping Litigation
  • Marine & International Trade
Sean is a leading individual in this field, specialising in shipbuilding and offshore disputes as well as advising clients on contract negotiations relating to newbuildings.

Examples include the following:

Non-Payment of Contractual Instalments

Representing shipyard in a multi-million dollar dispute with high profile European shipowner as a result of cancellation of a series of container vessels in light of non-payment of contractual instalments, including successful London arbitration to recover shortfall following sale of one of these vessels.

VLCC to FPSO Conversion Dispute

Advising FPSO contractors on disputes with shipowners in relation to conversion of VLCCs to FPSOs for offshore Brazil.  The dispute concerned discovery during conversion of substantial steel wastage due to pitting.  The dispute led to lengthy English High Court proceedings and centred on the shipowners’ alleged breach of warranty.

Warranty Claims re: Diving Support Vessels

Advising in London arbitration proceedings concerning warranty claims in relation to the construction of a series of diving support vessels and diving equipment for use on board those vessels.

Defective Paint Dispute

Advising a buyer of a superyacht in a dispute with the European builder in respect of defective paint issues during construction leading to English High Court proceedings.

More: Shipbuilding & Offshore Construction

Sean has extensive experience over many years of representing clients in arbitration proceedings such as LMAA, LCIA and ICC.  Examples include:

LMAA Shipbuilding Arbitration

Representing shipyard in a multi-million dollar dispute with high profile European shipowner as a result of cancellation of a series of container vessels in light of non-payment of contractual instalments, including successful arbitration to recover shortfall following sale of one of these vessels.

LCIA Arbitration

Representing US sub-contractor in LCIA proceedings against Kazakh semi-state entity in dispute concerning non-payment of instalments due under contract for water treatment plant. 

ICC Arbitration

Advising and representing a major Far East bank in relation to refund guarantees provided to buyer of an offshore vessel to be constructed at Chinese shipyard and following delays in construction.  This matter led to both ICC and SIAC arbitrations.

LCIA Arbitration re: Construction of Specialised Drilling Tower

Advising in respect of multi-million dollar dispute leading to lengthy LCIA proceedings in relation to design and other construction issues concerning a specialised drilling tower for installation off the coast of West Africa.
 
More: International Arbitration
Sean has many years’ experience in handling a wide variety of shipping disputes, including the following:

Mis-Declaration of Cargo

Advising charterers following mis-declaration under governing IMO regulations of cargo of iron ore loaded at a Brazilian port, leading to substantial delay in prosecution of voyage and related claims.

Disputes re: High Value Oil Cargoes

Representing major Indian refinery operator and charterer in disputes relating to various ROB, contamination, demurrage and other related claims in London arbitrations.

Cargo Fraud Claims

Sean is regularly instructed in matters involving investigation and defending of fraudulent cargo claims made against shipowners, insurers and banks and has spent extensive time in West Africa investigating such claims.  Sean is also a specialist in obtaining freezing/inspection /disclosure orders and anti-suit injunctions in the English Courts as part of the “counter attack” and asset tracing process against fraudulent claimants.
 

More: Shipping Litigation
Sean has many years’ experience of advising clients on issues/disputes arising from maritime and commercial contracts in the maritime sector, including:

Wrongful Withdrawal from Charterparty

Advising owners of a reefer vessel following a charterer’s wrongful withdrawal from long-term charterparty and early re-delivery of vessels.  Dispute involved very significant loss of profits claims and led to substantial arbitration proceedings and also anti-suit and freezing orders being granted by the English High Court.

Claims Following Loss of Containers Overboard

Advising owners of container vessel as to potential liabilities to cargo owners following loss of a substantial number of containers overboard during storm in the Arabian Sea. This involved investigating method of loading containers at various ports and owners’ internal procedures.

Ship Finance Banks

Advising ship finance banks in relation to enforcement of mortgages and covenants to achieve repayment of defaulting loans.  This involves providing legal advice and commercial/practical recommendations on strategy in order to achieve satisfactory solutions to lenders in enforcing their security.
 
More: Marine & International Trade
  • Shipbuilding
  • P&I Clubs
  • Shipowners & Operators
Sean has extensive experience of advising shipyard clients both on disputes and in contract negotiations relating to newbuildings.  Examples include:

Alleged Diminution in Vessel Value

Advising shipyard in London Court proceedings in relation to alleged diminution in value of a vessel following discovery of a series of defects.

Specialised Drilling Tower

Advising a builder in a multi-million dollar dispute in LCIA proceedings relating to the construction of a specialised drilling tower for installation off the coast of West Africa.

Failure To Pay Contractual Instalments

Advising shipyard in dispute with high profile Middle Eastern shipowner following failure to pay contractual instalments amounting to millions of dollars.  This matter was ultimately resolved by the payment of the full contractual price for the vessels.

Warranty Claims

Representing a builder in London arbitration proceedings concerning warranty claims in relation to construction of a series of diving support vessels.
Sean has 25 years’ experience of working with P&I Clubs and their members on a wide variety of shipping disputes.  Examples include:

Iron Ore Liquefaction

Instructed by International Group Club to advise Club and Owners of bulk carrier following loading of cargo of iron ore with high moisture content at Indian port where there was a very high risk of liquefaction and listing of vessel.  This matter also involved representations being made to the Ministry of Shipping in India.

Bunker Barge Collision

Instructed by International Group Club to advise charterer of vessel on potential liabilities following collision with bunker barge leading to pollution and clean-up operations resulting in a chain of LMAA arbitrations.

Loss of Containers Overboard

Instructed by International Group Club to advise owner of container vessel as to potential liabilities to cargo owner following loss of substantial number of containers overboard during storm in the Arabian Sea.

More: P&I Clubs
Sean has many years’ experience of advising and representing owners and operators of all types of commercial vessels and also superyachts.

Wrongful Withdrawal from Charterparty

Advising owners of reefer vessels following a charterer’s wrongful withdrawal from long-term charterparty and early re-delivery of vessels.  Dispute involved very significant loss of profits claims and led to substantial arbitration proceedings and also anti-suit and freezing orders being granted by the English High Court.

Newbuild Contracts

Advising owners/operators of car carriers on contracts for a series of newbuild vessels at a European shipyard.

Dispute re: Lifting of Subjects

Advising high profile owners on issues and liabilities arising out of charterparty dispute concerning lifting of subjects.  This led to lengthy LMAA and High Court proceedings in which owners were successful.

Investigating Cargo Fraud

Advising well-known Scandinavian owner over many years in respect of fraudulent claims involving containerised cargo.  This involved investigating the claims in West Africa and then obtaining freezing and other specialist orders/injunctions in the English Courts as part of the asset tracing process. 
 
More: Shipowners & Operators
  • Korea
  • India
Sean has many years’ experience of representing Korean clients (shipyards, shipowners/operators and banks) in a wide range of matters/disputes in the shipping sector.  Sean has also travelled widely in South Korea and has given many presentations and talks.  Examples include:

Shipyard Warranty Dispute

Advising Korean shipyard in relation to substantial warranty claims arising out of the construction and design of a series of offshore diving support vessels.

Loss of Containers Overboard

Advising Korean owner of container vessel as to potential liabilities to cargo owners following loss of a substantial number of containers overboard during storm in the Arabian Sea.  This involved investigating method of loading containers at various ports and owner’s internal procedures.

Non-Payment of Contractual Instalments

Representing Korean shipyard in a multi-million dollar dispute with high profile European shipowner as a result of cancellation of a series of container vessels in light of non-payment of contractual instalments, including successful arbitration to recover shortfall following sale of one of these vessels.

Dispute re: Lifting of Subjects

Advising Korean Shipowner on issues and liabilities arising out of charterparty dispute concerning lifting of subjects.  This led to lengthy LMAA and London High Court proceedings in which owners were successful.

Further Shipyard Disputes

Advising Korean shipyard in relation to disputes with European and Middle Eastern shipowners following consistent failures to pay contractual instalments amounting to many millions of dollars.  One dispute was resolved through negotiation and the taking of security over shares of owner affiliated companies in Hong Kong.  The other dispute was ultimately resolved by the payment of the full contractual price for the vessels.
 

Collision With Bunker Barge

Advising Korean charterer of vessel on potential liabilities following collision with bunker barge leading to pollution in Korean port and clean-up operations resulting in a chain of LMAA arbitrations.

Option Agreements

Advising Korean shipyard in London arbitration proceedings concerning multi-million dollar dispute under option agreements for a series of newbuild bulk carriers.

Refund Guarantee Dispute

Advising and representing major Korean bank in relation to refund guarantees provided to buyer of offshore vessel to be constructed at Chinese shipyard and following delays in construction.  This matter led to both ICC and SIAC arbitrations.

Shipyard/Broker Dispute

Representing Korean shipyard in dispute with broker concerning historic commission payments relating to LNG vessels leading to London High Court proceedings.
 
More: Korea
Sean has extensive experience of advising Indian clients in the shipping/trading sphere and has also travelled extensively in India.

Disputes re: High Value Oil Cargoes

Representing a major Indian refinery operator and charterer in disputes relating to various ROB, contamination, demurrage and other related claims in London arbitrations.

Superyacht Advice/Disputes

Advising a Indian owner of superyachts in relation to disputes with European shipyards and suppliers leading to London arbitration.

Long Term Contract of Affreightment

Advising a Indian power plant operator on the drafting and negotiating of a long term Contract of Affreightment for supply to power plants in India.
 
More: India
print-footer
logo
© Stephenson Harwood LLP 2015. Any reference to Stephenson Harwood in this document means Stephenson Harwood LLP and/or its affiliated undertakings. Any reference to a partner is used to refer to a member of Stephenson Harwood LLP. The fibre used to produce this paper is sourced from sustainable plantation wood and is elemental chlorine free.