Chris Keane
Special Counsel, Adelaide, Sydney
I am the leader of MinterEllison's Australian shipping and maritime practice. For more than 20 years, I have provided commercially focused and strategic advice to the energy and resources sector, primary producers, manufacturers, commodity traders and port and terminal operators regarding all transactional, regulatory and contentious aspects of shipping, logistics and the international sale of goods.

My non-contentious practice includes the drafting, review and negotiation of contracts of affreightment, charter parties and offtake agreements; advising on rights and obligations in relation to bills of lading, letters of credit and negotiable instruments used to facilitate international trade; assisting with due diligence in relation to acquisitions, joint ventures and the selection of service providers for maritime and offshore projects; and advising on regulatory issues impacting on shipping and international trade, including anti-bribery and corruption, sanctions, cabotage, chain of responsibility and marine environment.

I am also frequently instructed in complex commercial disputes and regulatory investigations concerning shipping, and international trade. I have prosecuted and defended claims in all of Australia's major commercial jurisdictions and have broad experience in arbitral proceedings seated in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and London, under a variety of ad hoc and institutional rules.

Career highlights

  • Advised an Australian cement manufacturer on complex chartering arrangements and vessel acquisitions, to facilitate shipment of product between Australian ports and to overseas destinations
  • Acted for a global commodity trader in the successful prosecution of a claim against an ocean carrier concerning misdelivery of shipments of cotton (LMAA arbitration)
  • Advised a global mining corporation on the renegotiation of time and demise charter parties in relation to bulk carriers and a fleet of support vessels on charter to the corporation's Australian entities
  • Advising operators of ports and terminals in most Australian States on: terms and conditions for port access and use; chartering, purchase and registration of support vessels; towage and pilotage; marine pollution; and insurance and maritime-related risk management
  • Acted for an Australian fertiliser manufacturer in successful defence of a substantial claim by FOB buyers arising out of inability of nominated vessel to commence loading following late change of loading berth (HKIAC arbitration)
  • Acted for owners and operators of cruise ships, fishing vessels and yachts in coronial proceedings in New South Wales, Tasmania and Northern Territory concerning fatalities at sea
  • Acted for a global mining corporation in the defence of a claim for salvage reward arising out of the grounding of the 'Maria G.O.' in the Port of Gladstone (Federal Court of Australia)
  • Successfully defended a global energy corporation accused of bribery arising from dealings with port authorities in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands
  • Acted for a global commodity trader in the successful prosecution of a claim against buyers for wrongful termination of sale contracts, arising out of an allegation that the trader had breached a sanctions clause (SIAC arbitration)
  • Coordinated a multi-jurisdictional investigation of bribery and related unlawful conduct by a cruise line operator in the South Pacific, on instructions from its joint venture partner
  • Advised a global medical device company in relation to risk analysis of its temperature controlled warehousing and distribution arrangements, and subsequent negotiations with 3PL contractors