Shem’s practice focuses primarily on international arbitration and litigation. He has acted in international arbitrations under various institutional rules (including ICC and SIAC) as well as ad hoc arbitrations, seated in major arbitration venues, such as London and Singapore, and has regularly appeared in the Singapore High Court. His cases involve disputes stemming from joint venture and partnership agreements, sale & purchase agreements, charter parties, bills of lading, oil trading contracts, commodities trading agreements, hull & machinery marine insurance and letters of credit. Shem recently advised an Indonesian State-owned company in a large scale corporate restructuring of one of its subsidiaries, involving debts of over US$1.5 billion.
Shem has an intimate knowledge of, and affinity for, Indonesia, having spent close to 4 years as a director of an Indonesian iron ore exploration company, where he was involved in raising finance for the company’s exploration program, restructuring the Project’s group of mining companies to align the businesses with provisions of Indonesia’s New Mining Law of 2009 and overseeing the exploration and mining program of the company. He is therefore particularly well-placed to advise clients on issues and disputes relating to mining and natural resources sectors in Indonesia.
Shem’s clients include:-
International commodity trading houses, who engage him to advise on trading disputes as well as general contract matters, including drafting of JV agreements, commodity-trading agreements, fuel oil supply contracts as well as all aspects of charter party and bills of lading disputes/claims (including oil contamination / short delivery / demurrage claims).
State-owned oil companies, who engage him to advise on JV agreements, production sharing arrangements and oil trading contracts.
Japanese and Greek ship owners/managers/operators, who engage him to advise on all aspects of charter party, bills of lading, carriage of goods disputes.
Protection & Indemnity Clubs, who engage him to advise on all aspects of charter party and bills of lading disputes/claims, “Freight, Demurrage & Defence” cover, tanker disputes and contamination/short delivery claims.
International insurance companies and insurance brokers, who engage him to advise all aspects of marine insurance.
A petrochemicals company in Indonesia, who engaged him to advise on bankruptcy/suspension of payment proceedings.
Representative Case Experience
Counsel for Indonesian oil exploration support services company in a protracted US$20M oil rig charter party dispute with Dutch owners. (SIAC arbitration; Singapore seat; Singapore law.)
Counsel for Singapore tanker owners against Korean charterers for fire damage suffered by their tanker as a result of charterer’s nomination of an unsafe port in Iran. Successfully negotiated favorable settlement on the first day of hearing. Amounts in dispute exceed US$10M. (ICC arbitration; London seat; English law.)
Counsel for Ukrainian dredging company against Singapore agents for contractual payments arising out of dredging works performed in Singapore and Taiwan. Successfully awarded amounts claimed and also successfully defended all counterclaims in 5-week arbitration in Singapore. Amounts in dispute exceed S$5M. (Ad hoc arbitration; Singapore seat, Singapore law.)
Counsel for Singapore ship owners in a claim against charterers for damages suffered due to delays caused by charterers loading on board cargo that was infested with insects. Successfully obtained award in London arbitration proceedings. (Ad hoc arbitration; London seat; English law.)
International Litigation in Foreign National Courts
Acted for Greek tanker owner as instructing solicitor to Malaysian lawyers in setting aside the arrest of oil cargoes loaded on board the vessel in Malaysian High Court proceedings. Successfully obtained damages for tanker owner as Interveners. Instructing solicitor to Malaysian lawyers in successful dismissal of appeals in the Malaysian Court of Appeal. Case reported: The “Swallow”  1 AMR 543.
Counsel for insurers in 10-day Singapore High Court trial against claim by ship owners under a policy of hull and machinery on ITC 1.10.83 terms for an indemnity for the loss of the vessel during her delivery voyage from Kobe to Singapore. Case reported: The “Marina Iris”  SGHC 238.
Counsel in the protracted worldwide litigation following the collapse of the Metro group of oil companies. Acted for 3 Greek tanker owners in defending claims by a commodities trading company for non-delivery of oil cargoes to Metro’s storage facility in Fujairah. Assisting counsel to Steven Chong S.C. in appeals before the Court of Appeal. Case reported: The “Cherry”  1 SLR 471; The “Cherry” and Others  3 SLR 431.
Counsel for insurers in 10-day Singapore High Court trial against a US$2M claim by ship owners under a policy of hull and machinery on ITC 1.10.83 terms for an indemnity for irreparable damage to the vessel’s main engine crankshaft assembly. Counsel in successful dismissal of appeal in the Singapore Court of Appeal. Amounts in dispute exceed US$2M. Case reported: Hub Warrior Sdn Bhd v QBE Insurance (Malaysia) Bhd at  SGHC 279.
Counsel for Indonesian palm oil producers in a letter of credit dispute against Indian buyers. Counsel in Singapore High Court trial. Successfully negotiated favorable settlement on 2nd day of trial. Amounts in dispute in excess of US$500,000.
Counsel for tanker owners in defending a US$500,000 claim in the Singapore High Court by the cargo owners for non-delivery of oil cargoes. Counsel at Assessment of Damages proceedings. On appeal to judge-in-chambers, successfully reduced damages awarded to less than a tenth of the claim.
Counsel for Indonesian corn oil producers in a contamination claim by Singapore purchasers. Counsel in mediation proceedings at the Singapore Mediation Centre. Successfully negotiated favorable settlement for less than a tenth of the claim thereby avoiding potentially protracted and messy litigation in Court.
Counsel for Singapore bunker trader in a S$300,000 claim by a bunker suppliers for non-payment of bunkers supplied. Obtained favorable settlement in Commercial Dispute Resolution proceedings held in the Subordinate Courts of Singapore.
Counsel for Singapore ship repair sub-contractor in a claim against the main contractors for payment of income for vessel repair works. Obtained favorable settlement at Commercial Dispute Resolution (International) proceedings.
‘The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Commodities 2006’ published by the Global Legal Group
Speeches and Presentations
“Ship Financing, Maritime Issues & Insurance”, the Ritz Carlton, Jakarta, February 2007
“Alternative Dispute Resolution in Singapore”, Hotel Grand Flora, Jakarta, October 2006
LL.B., National University of Singapore