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Rory Macfarlane

Department Commercial Disputes, Commodities & trade, Maritime

Rory Macfarlane

You, Rory Macfarlane
& Ince, in any case

Rory is an international dispute resolution specialist. A dual qualified solicitor in England and Wales and Hong Kong, he handles all manner of commercial disputes, with particular expertise in shipping and international trade. Rory’s trade experience includes coal, petroleum products, metals and soft commodities. In shipping, he has a strong focus on disputes arising under charterparties, MOA’s, ship-construction contracts and carriage of goods by sea.

Rory has considerable experience of arbitrations. mediation and court proceedings in London and Hong Kong. He also assists clients in managing their proceedings in many other jurisdictions.

More recently, Rory has grown a complimentary regulatory practice with a particular expertise in cyber-risk management and anti-corruption.

Following his return to London from Hong Kong, Rory continues to lead the Taiwan and Japan market teams and offers comprehensive legal counsel to major Taiwanese and Japanese companies. He has very good working relationships with the leading local firms in both jurisdictions, making him a valued resource for clients doing business in these markets. 

Rory’s expertise extends to providing non-contentious advice to his clients in relation to negotiating and drafting bespoke agreements, including charterparties and COA’s, FOB/CFR contracts, bills of lading and other commercial agreements. 

Recently reported cases:

  • Birnam Ltd v. The Owners of the Ship or Vessel Hong Ming [2011] HKCFI 577.

  • The Ruby Star [2015] 1 HKLRD 453.

  • The Almojil 61 [2015] 3 HKLRD 598. 

Cybersecurity articles by Rory Macfarlane

>  The Cyber-sized hole in the insurance market (first published in the November 2017 edition of The Marine Professional)

>  Cyber attack on Shipping company shows industry ill preparedness (FWD News - Forward with TOLL)

>  Digitalisation in Shipping.  Have you effectively mitigated your risk whilst seeking to reap the rewards? (Maritime Risks)

>  Cybersecurity a boardroom priority, says Ince & Co (Asian-Mena Counsel)

>  Cybersecurity an imperative, not a choice, says Ince & Co (first published in the September 2017 edition of Seatrade Maritime magazine)

>  Preparing for the inevitable – cyber-attacks a matter of when, not if, for shipping (Splash 24/7)

>  Shipping got off lightly in first cyber security attacks, say legal experts (Marine MEC)

>  New technology ‘could force shipping consolidation’ (IHS)

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Law Society of England and Wales

  • Law Society of Hong Kong

  • Hong Kong Maritime Law Association - Committee

What you may not know about Rory

I love to surf, although the sea temperature back in the UK is taking a little getting used to.

My matter highlights

  •  Acting for a leading global logistics services provider, which has recently suffered a number of cybersecurity breaches, to conduct a comprehensive audit of its cybersecurity readiness and internal protocols, addressing both legal and technical issues (in conjunction with a leading cyber security consultancy).  

  • Acting for a ship owner in a complicated case following an explosion during an off-shore STS crude oil transfer operation. Issues included crew death, crew injury, pollution, inter-ship liabilities, apportionment of liability to third party loading master.

  •  Acting for ship finance banks on multiple ship re-possession and subsequent sales to recover monies secured by mortgages over vessels.

  •  Advising Greek shipowner clients on PRC charterers withholding tax from hire.

  •  Advised Owners/Operators in the negotiation of 2 separate 25 year iron ore COA’s, each involving the purchase and construction of 14 vessels.

  •  Assisting Owners/Insurers to secure the release of vessels seized by Somali pirates, including arranging for payment of cash ransoms sourced out of Hong Kong.

  •  Acted for European oil trader in a multi-jurisdictional fraud claim involving mareva injunctions, anton pillar orders and committal proceedings.

  •  Acting for defendant purchaser in a multi-shipment coal sale and purchase dispute. Issues determined at arbitration included contractual interpretation of ‘trial burn’ provisions, self heating in stockyard, fire risk on milling and burning, specification issues and emission control issues.

  •  Acting for the sellers in several FOSFA Arbitrations and Appeals arising out of contracts for sale and purchase of soybeans. Cases involved post appeal enforcement of arbitration awards in PRC.

  •  Acted for Singaporean based coal traders in a series of trade and carriage related arbitrations arising under various sales contracts and charter parties.

  •  Insolvency related work, advising creditors on claims against insolvent debtor companies including attending creditors meetings, nominated to Committee of Inspection and seeking to have provisional liquidators removed from office and liquidations turned from section 228A winding-up to compulsory court supervised winding-up.

My testimonials and accolades

Rory Macfarlane

“Diligent and analytical, Rory Macfarlane 'takes a very commercial approach to problems and try to see disputes from a client's perspective.”

- Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2017

My recent publications

Insights / Where’s my crude oil? Court upholds claim for return of monies paid under FOB contract

22-06-2021 / Commodities & Trade

BP Oil International Limited v. (1) Vega Petroleum Limited & (2) Dover Investments Limited [2021] EWHC 1364 (Comm)

Where’s my crude oil? Court upholds claim for return of monies paid under FOB contract

Insights / Court concludes parties had not agreed to arbitrate commodities dispute

01-03-2021 / Commodities & Trade

Black Sea Commodities Ltd v. Lemarc Agromond Pte Ltd [2021] EWHC 287 (Comm)

Court concludes parties had not agreed to arbitrate commodities dispute

News / Recent amendments to Chapter VI Regulation 2 of SOLAS - Cargo information

06-05-2020 / Maritime

In a recent decision, the Hong Kong courts held that, as of 2009, it was not trade practice for shippers to weigh the container and cargo contents before loading it onto a vessel for carriage between Hong Kong and Guangzhou It may be that this would be the trade practice on other regional and global routes This ruling provides a timely reminder to the liner trade of changes to the law which will be in force in 2016

Recent amendments to Chapter VI Regulation 2 of SOLAS - Cargo information

News / Cyber Risk and Coronavirus: Your assets and your data may be more at risk now than ever

30-03-2020 /

Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the increasing amount of time that people spend online due to the coronavirus outbreak [1]. With the volume of business conducted online, our fear is becoming their business opportunity.

Cyber Risk and Coronavirus: Your assets and your data may be more at risk now than ever

Insights / The 2020 Sulphur Cap. Are you ready?

10-06-2019 / Maritime

In a little over 6 months the MARPOL Annex VI sulphur cap for bunkers will come into effect. The new cap reduces the permissible sulphur content of fuel used on board vessels to 0.5% mm from 1 January 2020.

The 2020 Sulphur Cap. Are you ready?

News / The Ballast Water Management Convention an update

07-06-2019 / Maritime

Whatever your view on BWM, it is here and is here to stay In this article, we summarise the key requirements for BWM and then take a look at some of the practical problems the industry has encountered in the last 18 months

The Ballast Water Management Convention an update

News / The Ballast Water Management Convention: an update

07-06-2019 / Maritime

Whatever your view on BWM, it is here and is here to stay. In this article, we summarise the key requirements for BWM and then take a look at some of the practical problems the industry has encountered in the last 18 months.

The Ballast Water Management Convention: an update

News / Documents obtained in criminal investigation disclosable in civil proceedings

04-04-2019 / Maritime

Omers Administration Corporation v Tesco PLC 2019 EWHC 109 (Ch)

Documents obtained in criminal investigation disclosable in civil proceedings

News / BIMCO 2020 Sulphur Clauses: “A fair allocation of responsibilities and liabilities”?

12-12-2018 / Maritime

The implementation date for the MARPOL Annex VI Regulation 14 sulphur cap is fast approaching. There are two key dates to keep firmly in mind.

BIMCO 2020 Sulphur Clauses: “A fair allocation of responsibilities and liabilities”?

News / Court finds different charterparty arbitration provisions did not conflict

02-10-2018 / Maritime

A v. B [2018] EWHC 1370 (Comm) This case involved a charterparty with two different, and potentially conflicting, arbitration provisions. The Court held that the arbitral tribunal should not have concluded that it lacked jurisdiction over the dispute. In doing so, the Court helpfully set out how it will construe ambiguous and potentially conflicting contractual clauses. Where possible, such clauses should be read together and in context to avoid any potential conflict.

Court finds different charterparty arbitration provisions did not conflict

News / Ince to speak at the Maritime Cyber Resilience Forum during 2018 Asia Pacific Maritime conference

13-02-2018 /

Rory Macfarlane, Hong Kong-based partner of Ince Co and the Asia Chair of the firm's Regulatory Compliance group, has been invited to speak at the Maritime Cyber Resilience Forum in Singapore on 15 March organised by Digital Ship during this year's Asia Pacific Maritime, Asia's largest maritime and offshore conference that attracts 15,000 visitors every year

Ince to speak at the Maritime Cyber Resilience Forum during 2018 Asia Pacific Maritime conference

News / Increased tonnage limitation figures set to be adopted in Hong Kong

15-11-2017 / Maritime

Consistent with most maritime jurisdictions, Hong Kong allows ship-owners to limit their liability for both property damage claims and for personal injury or loss of life claims

Increased tonnage limitation figures set to be adopted in Hong Kong

News / Regulatory and compliance checklist how do your internal policies fare

24-10-2017 / Maritime, Cyber Security

Whilst transportation and infrastructure companies are no strangers to regulatory compliance, in recent years, the scope and pace of regulations have increased significantly As a result, all companies should be looking to continually update and broaden their internal compliance policies

Regulatory and compliance checklist how do your internal policies fare

News / Rory Macfarlane and John Boles discuss Cyber Security in an era of opportunity'

22-09-2017 / Cyber Security

Partner, Rory Macfarlane, John Boles, Director of Global Legal Technology Solutions at Navigant and Richard Clayton, Lloyd's List's Chief Correspondent recently delivered a podcast on Cybersecurity, hosted by Informa and sponsored by Ince Co

Rory Macfarlane and John Boles discuss Cyber Security in an era of opportunity'

News / Rory Macfarlane discusses the importance of preparation for a cyber-attack

06-09-2017 / Cyber Security

Ince Co's Hong Kong-based partner, Rory Macfarlane, explores the necessity for businesses to prepare for cyber-attacks, in Asia-mena Counsel's recent publication on Cyber Security and Data Protection

Rory Macfarlane discusses the importance of preparation for a cyber-attack

News / Hong Kong grants block exemption to vessel sharing arrangements

08-08-2017 / Maritime

After months of speculation, the Competition Commission of Hong Kong finally issued its decision on whether a block exemption should be granted to liner shipping vessels today, 8 August 2017 The answer a fivenbspyear block exemption has been granted for vessel sharing agreements (VSAs) between liner shipping companies,nbspbutnbspa block exemption has not been granted for voluntary discussion agreements (VDAs) The decision not to grant an exemption for VDAs was made on the basis that it was not demonstrated that the relevant VDA activities meet the terms of the efficiency exclusion

Hong Kong grants block exemption to vessel sharing arrangements

News / Cybersecurity. Wannacry; now Petya. What steps have you taken to protect your business?

28-06-2017 /

Yesterday’s Petya ransom-ware attack highlights again the serious effect that cyberattacks can have on all companies operating in an increasingly digitalised and interconnected marketplace. Although the full scope and scale of this attack will emerge with the fullness of time, events like this will only become more common if companies within the shipping and transport sectors remain unprepared.

Cybersecurity. Wannacry; now Petya. What steps have you taken to protect your business?

News / Rory Macfarlane examines cyber risks for shipping

20-06-2017 / Maritime, Cyber Security

Ince Co's Hong Kong-based partner Rory Macfarlane, who also co-heads the firm's regulatory and compliance practice in Asia, discussed the potential impact of cyber-attacks on shipping companies in an article published by Splash 247

Rory Macfarlane examines cyber risks for shipping

News / 3 ships, 2 collisions and 1 judgment

09-06-2017 / Maritime

On 2 June the Hong Kong Admiralty Court handed down judgment in a case involving two collisions which happened within three minutes of each other

3 ships, 2 collisions and 1 judgment

News / BRANCHED TO TRAINING Cyberattacks make companies and governments WannaCry

15-05-2017 / Cyber Security, Aviation & Travel, Energy & Infrastructure, Insurance, Commodities & Trade, Maritime

Whilst the reaction from both mainstream and social media was one of shock at the extent of this weekend's global cyber-attack, for those working within cyber-security it came as little surprise

BRANCHED TO TRAINING Cyberattacks make companies and governments WannaCry

News / Cyberattacks make companies and governments WannaCry

15-05-2017 /

Whilst the reaction from both mainstream and social media was one of shock at the extent of this weekend's global cyber-attack, for those working within cyber-security it came as little surprise

Cyberattacks make companies and governments WannaCry

News / Hong Kong container weighing: MARDEP provides further guidance

13-06-2016 / Maritime

Further to our last update on the Marine Department of Hong Kong’s (“MARDEP”) Guidelines on Hong Kong’s approach to container weighing, MARDEP has now issued further guidance on the relevant procedures involved in obtaining the verified gross mass (“VGM”). 

Hong Kong container weighing: MARDEP provides further guidance

News / Shipping E-Brief April 2016

29-04-2016 / Maritime

The Shipping E-Brief is a quarterly publication providing you with key information on legal decisions and developments in shipping and related business areas.

Shipping E-Brief April 2016

News / Containers: "heavies over lights" a thing of the past?

28-04-2016 / Maritime

On 1 July 2016, the amendments to Chapter VI Regulation 2 of the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (“SOLAS”) will become effective. From that date, it will be: (i) mandatory for a shipper of a packed container to verify and provide the container’s verified gross mass (“VGM”); and (ii) a violation of SOLAS for a packed container to be loaded onto a vessel, if the ship operator and marine terminal do not have the container’s VGM.

Containers: "heavies over lights" a thing of the past?

News / Shipping E-Brief Spring 2015

01-05-2015 / Maritime

The Shipping E-brief is a quarterly publication providing you with key information on legal decisions and developments in shipping and related business areasnbspSign up here to receive the E-Brief by email each quarterOur Spring edition of the Shipping E-Brief is full of articles dealing with topical shipping issues Download the E-Brief Spring (PDF)You can also subscribe to our podcasts with iTunes

Shipping E-Brief Spring 2015

News / English Court clarifies what law governs procedure applied in Hong Kong arbitration

18-02-2015 / Maritime

Shagang South-Asia (Hong Kong) Trading Co Ltd v. Daewoo Logistics (The Nikolaos A) [2015] EWHC 194 (Comm) A recent Commercial Court decision considered the position when a contract provides for the law of one jurisdiction to be applicable, but for the arbitration to take place outside that jurisdiction. Unless the parties have clearly and expressly provided to the contrary, the law governing the arbitration procedure will be that of the seat of the arbitration.

English Court clarifies what law governs procedure applied in Hong Kong arbitration

News / Shipping E-Brief Winter 2015

29-01-2015 / Maritime

The Shipping E-brief is a quarterly publication providing you with key information on legal decisions and developments in shipping and related business areasnbspSign up here to receive the E-Brief by email each quarterOur Winter edition of the Shipping E-Brief is full of articles dealing with topical shipping issues Download the PDF versionYou can also subscribe to our podcasts with iTunes

Shipping E-Brief Winter 2015

News / An update on the IMO’s proposed Polar Code

17-11-2014 / Maritime

Global warming in recent years has resulted in increased maritime traffic in the Northern Sea Route (“NSR”). Whilst the NSR offers both time savings in terms of voyage duration and also bunker cost savings, navigating the Arctic presents a number of challenges for the shipping industry and raises a number of safety and environmental concerns.

An update on the IMO’s proposed Polar Code

News / Hong Kong ship arrest: enforcing a maritime award via the backdoor?

20-10-2014 / Maritime

Handytankers KS v. Owners and/or demise charterers of M/V Alas (subsequently renamed Kombos) [2014] KHCFI 1281 In a potentially very significant recent judgment, the Hong Kong High Court has upheld the arrest of a vessel despite the Plaintiff already having obtained an arbitration award. The Admiralty Court effectively ruled that a ship can still be arrested despite the existence of an arbitration award, provided that the claim out of which the award originates properly invokes the in rem jurisdiction of the Court. The arrest was allowed to stand because the cause of action in rem remains alive so long as the arbitration award in personam against the owners of the ship remains unsatisfied.

Hong Kong ship arrest: enforcing a maritime award via the backdoor?

News / Recent Chinese tax changes affecting the shipping industry

09-09-2014 / Maritime

On 1 August 2014, the “Provisional Measures on the Collection of Tax on Non-Resident Taxpayers Engaged in International Transportation Business” (2014 No.37 Notice, the “New Regulations”) came into force. The New Regulations could have a significant impact on owners as they seek to streamline and tighten up the regulations in respect of tax obligations on “non-resident taxpayers” engaged in “international transportation business”. The main aspects of the New Regulations are summarised briefly below.

Recent Chinese tax changes affecting the shipping industry

News / Vessel arrest in Hong Kong – a means to enforce a maritime arbitration award via the backdoor? <i>M/V ‘ALAS’, subsequently renamed as ‘KOMBOS’</i> [2014] HKCU 1698

14-08-2014 / Maritime

In a potentially very significant judgment last month the Hong Kong High Court upheld the arrest of a vessel despite the plaintiff already having obtained an arbitration award. Ng J, the Admiralty judge, effectively ruled that a ship can still be arrested despite the existence of an arbitration award provided that the claim out of which the award originates properly invokes the in rem jurisdiction of the Court. The arrest was allowed to stand because the cause of action in rem remains alive so long as the arbitration award in personam against the owners of the ship remains unsatisfied.

Vessel arrest in Hong Kong – a means to enforce a maritime arbitration award via the backdoor? <i>M/V ‘ALAS’, subsequently renamed as ‘KOMBOS’</i> [2014] HKCU 1698