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John Seow


Practice Area:

Shipping & International Trade

LLB (Hons), University of London
Barrister-at-Law, Middle Temple (non-practising)
Advocate & Solicitor, Supreme Court of Singapore
Diploma in Marine Engineering

T +65 62320600

John Seow started his career as a marine engineer, sailing with the national carrier Neptune Orient Lines onboard their freedom class vessels. He also spent some years as an engineer on shore before deciding to pursue a career in law. John’s background in marine engineering provides him with a distinct competence when dealing with briefs that are highly technical in nature.


John has a vibrant practice with extensive experience in advisory and advocacy work in commercial litigation and arbitration. In particular, he has advised and appeared as counsel in a broad range of shipping, sale of goods, international trade and private international law disputes.

His experience in shipping matters includes wet work such as collision and salvage, ship repair and construction, engine related claims, marine insurance matters and carriage/charterparty disputes. He also has extensive experience in international trade and commodities disputes including contamination claims as well as quality and quantity disputes in relation to oil and other commodities.

John regularly represents international oil and commodities traders, shipyards, Japanese MNCs, shipowners, charterers and P&I Clubs.

Prior to embarking on a career in law, John was a marine engineer with Neptune Orient Lines with sailing and on-shore experience. His background in marine engineering provides him with a unique competence to take on briefs of a highly technical nature. As such, he has a particular interest and expertise in wet shipping work.

Reported Judgments
  • Humboldt Shipping Co Ltd v Zalco Marine Services Pte Ltd [1998] 1 SLR 503
  • The “Shravan” [1999] 4 SLR 197
  • Hua Seng Sawmill Co Bhd v QBE Insurance (Malaysia) Bhd [2003] 4 SLR 449
  • UCO Bank v Golden View Maritime Pte Ltd [2003] SGHC 271
  • UCO Bank v Golden Shore Transportation Pte Ltd [2004] 1 SLR 6
  • The “Sunrise Crane” [2004] 1 SLR 300; [2004] 4 SLR 715
  • UCO Bank v Golden Shore Transportation Pte Ltd [2005] 2 SLR 735; [2005] SGHC 65
  • Comfort Resources Pte Ltd v Alliance Concrete Singapore Pte Ltd [2008] 4 SLR 848
  • MGA International Pte Ltd v Wajilam Exports (Singapore) Pte Ltd [2010] SGHC 319

In addition, John has also acted for clients in many arbitrations, variously held under the rules of the ICC, LCIA, SIAC, SCMA, HKIAC as well as ad hoc arbitrations.

Memberships / Directorships
  • Senior Accredited Specialist, Maritime and Shipping Law
  • Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators 
  • Member, Law Society of Singapore
  • Member, Singapore Academy Of Law