Fiona Rafla is an Associate at Wikborg Rein's London office and is part of the firm's Shipping Offshore practice. She specialises in commodities, international trade and both wet and dry shipping disputes.
Rafla has acted for a wide range of clients including owners, charterers, traders and energy majors active in the oil and gas, metals and agricultural products markets. She handles a wide range of disputes arising out of international trade contracts from the sale and carriage of goods, to charterparties, ship management and casualties at sea. She has experience of substantial High Court litigation and arbitration (in particular LMAA, LCIA, SIAC, GAFTA, FOSFA and LME).
Rafla's wet shipping experience includes high-value casualty claims including LOF salvage and cargo disputes arising out of fires, collisions and groundings.
The High Court recently upheld two worldwide freezing orders in a multinational shipping fraud case were upheld, rejecting the defendant's allegations of breaches of full and frank disclosure. Among other things, the judgment is a useful confirmation and strengthening of the standing of intermediary charterers to sue for the full value of the hire in circumstances where the claimant's ultimate loss may be substantially lower.
A recent High Court decision will provide comfort for vessel owners and serve as a reminder to charterers of the importance of documentary obligations within a bareboat charter. The court held that where a vessel is on bareboat charter, the obligation on charterers to keep the vessel with unexpired class certificates at all times is an absolute obligation and a condition of the contract.