Alexander de Berniere

Of Counsel

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Alexander is a qualified solicitor in England & Wales with over a decade of experience acting for shipowners and their insurers in wet and dry shipping disputes. He has worked as a lawyer in four jurisdictions, including the UK, Greece, Malta, and Norway.

Alexander’s wide range of commercial and international experience has helped to build his reputation as a lawyer to whom clients can turn to for innovative and focused legal advice. His experience includes having worked in an aviation and ship finance team in an international law firm the City of London, worked in a leading shipping disputes team in an international law firm in Piraeus, handled one of the world’s largest wreck removal projects as part of the casualty response team in a major P&I Club in Oslo, and acted as senior in-house legal counsel for a major Greek shipowner and tanker operator in Athens.

Following the UK’s exit from the EU, Alexander was the first English solicitor to establish a regulated legal practice in Malta, where he advised a range of commercial clients on shareholder agreements, the negotiation of joint venture agreements, and EU-UK international trade matters. Alexander conducts litigation in the English courts, handles international commercial arbitration and advises on the full range of shipping disputes.  He is also experienced in assisting larger corporate clients with internal and external investigatory work and has a growing practice advising in relation to their ship finance transactions.

Alexander understands the different realities in which Stann’s clients operate, and draws upon his varied practice history to deliver practical, solution-focused advice.

Alex's Career Highlights

Emergency Response PlusMinus

Alex has handled the following live incidents:

  • Co-managed the Casualty Response team of a leading Norwegian P&I Club (as deputy):  responsible for supporting local claims handlers across 11x international offices in managing marine casualties and complex claims valued at over USD 5m.

  • Negotiated the release of a vessel carrying military-grade explosives and weapon systems from the custody of the Egyptian Navy, and ensured her onward passage to various European discharge ports

  • Managed various collision claims (ship to ship), allision claims (damage to port infrastructure), and ship detention (arrest) claims in various jurisdictions, with extensive experience in Africa and the Indo-Pacific region.

Dispute Resolution PlusMinus

Alex has the following experience in this area:

  • Sakizaya Kalon & Osios David v Panamax Alexander [2020] EWHC 2604, a three-ship collision in the Suez Canal and the first fully remote liability trial held in the Admiralty Court in London.

  • Acted for a large Greek shipowner in securing London LMAA arbitration claims amounting to over USD 300m, following the collapse of a large South Korean shipping line and its entry into bankruptcy proceedings.

  • Management of disputes regarding the ownership of oil cargoes, advising on UK, US, EU, and UN sanctions on the carriage of oil cargoes, and liaising with US authorities on compliance with US sanctions in the oil trade.

Investigations PlusMinus

Alex’s experience in this area includes:

  • Negotiated the lifting of an investigation by an EU Member State into alleged breaches of sanctions, to permit the deregistration, sale, and transfer of two containerships for London-based Greek shipowners.

  • Attended in the US and carried out an investigation into the detention of a ship by the USCG in connection with the alleged violation of UN environmental laws (MARPOL), in support of US legal proceedings.

  • Attended in South America and carried out an investigation into the safety of ports to international marine traffic, in support of London High Court proceedings.

Advisory PlusMinus

Alex has advised on the following matters:

  • Advised on the sale, exportation, and shipment of pharmaceutical products from the EU to the UK.

  • Advised oil trading companies on the negotiation and settlement of high-value insurance claims in the Italian market (subject to English law).

  • Advised clients in relation to various types of asset finance transactions, ranging from the USD 1.8bn importation of 4x drillships into Nigerian waters, for a US drilling company, to a revolving personal credit facility, secured by classic Ferrari supercar valued at GBP 3.5m, for a high-net-worth private client.

Consulting and Projects PlusMinus

Examples of Alex’s work in this area:

  • Principal claims handler of one of the largest wreck removals in history, involving the removal of a containership grounded on a coral reef in New Caledonia – a project valued at over USD 200m.

  • Advice to management, chartering, and operations, on commercial negotiation strategies, drafting and negotiating bills of lading and charterparties, and gathering and preserving evidence for use in US and UK legal proceedings.

  • Provided expert training and guidance to client personnel (Masters, superintendents, and crew) on how to prepare for vessel inspections and questioning by opponent lawyers, in order to protect owners’ interests in US and UK legal proceedings.