Ian Teo.jpg

Ian Teo


Practice Area:

Shipping & International Trade

LLM, Cambridge University, UK
LLB (Hons), National University of Singapore
Solicitor, England and Wales
Advocate & Solicitor, Singapore
Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
Snr. Acc. Spec. (Maritime and Shipping), Singapore Academy of Law

T +65 6232 0627
E [email protected]

Ian Teo is a Partner in the Shipping & International Trade practice. He is consistently recommended in leading legal publications for his maritime, offshore and trade/commodities expertise, including Chambers Global – The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2012 to 2018), Chambers Asia Pacific (2010 to 2018), World’s Leading International Trade and Shipping Lawyers (2013, 2015, 2017), The Legal 500 Asia Pacific and Best Lawyers in Singapore (2013 to 2019). In the 2016 edition of Best Lawyers, Ian was named ‘Singapore Trade Lawyer of the Year’.

According to Chambers Global, clients comment that he is “a specialist in shipping and trade disputes... highly experienced in litigation and arbitration”, “determination to realize objectives”, “handle cases quickly... a commercially sound lawyer”, “commands respect in the maritime sphere...strong reputation for trade and dry shipping work”. Chambers Asia Pacific adds that he has a “very practical approach to negotiations...able to find solutions to difficult problems”, “ability to think outside of the box”, “garners extensive praise from his clients”, “well respected in the market”, “very competent lawyer who is meticulous in his case preparation, and effective and persuasive in his advocacy”. The Legal 500 Asia Pacific says that he is “always switched on and always has a great turnaround time”, “[giving] timely and practical advice”.

Besides local and regional matters, Ian regularly advises on shipping, and trading disputes in London, India, South Korea, and China. He advises banks, International Group P&I Clubs, offshore services, commodities traders, shipyards and ship owners. He also regularly advises on non-contentious matters, including sale and purchase of marine assets and shipbuilding contracts. Most recently, he successfully guided various shipowners in the resolution of various complex disputes involving the restructuring of multiple shipbuilding contracts with a total value in excess of US$350 million. He also advises commodities traders on shipping and trade documentation. Notable matters include advising BHP Billiton on shipping and force majeure issues in trading contracts during the unseasonal rains and floods in Queensland in 2011.

Ian appears regularly as lead counsel in court hearings and arbitrations. He is experienced in LMAA, LCIA, ICC and SIAC arbitrations. Recent highlights include – successfully defended a Chinese shipyard from claims arising from wrongful termination of shipbuilding contracts, successfully defended a Singapore offshore contractor against claims for a foreign offshore service provider in an offshore charterparty dispute, successfully recovered more than US$3 million for a local shipbuilder in a Singapore High Court action against a marine engine supplier. Most recently, he obtained an award in excess of US$20 million for an owner of a dredging vessel in a LMAA arbitration.

Ian read law at the National University of Singapore. He went to obtain his Master of Law degree (specialising in commercial law) from Cambridge University. He was the captain of the National University of Singapore team which emerged champion at the 2001 International Maritime Law Arbitration Moot Competition. In the 2001 Singapore Bar exams, he was awarded the Justice Tan Ah Tah Prize and was placed 3rd overall in his class.

Ian is also admitted to the roll of Solicitors of England and Wales. He is an adjunct lecturer in the Shipping & Admiralty Law course at the Singapore Management University. He is also an Adjunct Fellow at the Centre of Maritime Law, National University of Singapore. 

Reported Cases
  • The BUNGA MELATI 5 [2012] 4 SLR 546
  • The “BUNGA MELATI 5” [2011] 4 SLR 1017
  • Transocean Offshore International Ventures Ltd v Burgundy Global Exploration Corp [2010] 2 SLR 821
  • Beckkett Pte Ltd v Deutsche Bank AG and another [2008] 2 SLR(R) 189
  • Swift-Fortune Ltd v Magnifica Marine SA [2007] 1 SLR(R) 629
  • Korea Exchange Bank v Standard Chartered Bank [2006] 1 SLR 565
  • Ng Keng Yong v Public Prosecutor and another appeal [2004] 4 SLR(R) 89
  • Mizuho Corporate Bank v Chohung Bank [2004] 4 SLR 67
Selected Advisory/Deal List
  • Advised Thai Oil Public Limited in the acquisition, financing and long term bareboat charter of a VLCC
  • Advised BHP Biliton on trade/shipping documentation
  • Acted for Musim Mas Group in the acquisition of various product tankers
  • Advised APL in various shipbuilding contracts and long-term time charters
  • Advised various shipowners and banks in ship sale and purchase and ship-financing transactions
  • “Liens on Sub Freight Revisited: Charge or Sui Generis Right of Interception – Duncan v Diablo”, Lloyd’s Maritime & Commercial Law Quarterly 14 (2018)
  • Contributing author, “Two Recent decisions on the Law of Ship Arrest in Singapore”, Shipping & Transport International, Volume 9 Number 2 (2012)
  • Contributing author, “The Law and Practice of Documentary Letters of Credit”, published by Hart Publishing, London (2010)
  • Contributor, “Annual Survey of Letter of Credit Law & Practice” (2006)
  • Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Panel of Arbitrators, Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre
  • Member, Law Society of Singapore
  • Member, Singapore Academy of Law