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International and coastal transportation of people and goods are the mainstay of our Maritime practice. Acting for ship owners and operators, tow boat companies, P&I Clubs and hull, liability and cargo insurers, ports and harbours, freight forwarders, shipbuilders and other marine industries, Bull Housser’s Maritime lawyers bring over a century of legal experience to meet their clients' business needs.

Our Group advises on matters ranging from new vessels, environmental compliance and international security, to casualty response and dispute resolution. Our practice includes cases relating to admiralty matters, collision, pollution, cargo loss, salvage, sinking, fire, stranding, crew and passenger injury, labour problems, damage to fixed and floating objects, charterparty disputes, operating problems, insurance coverage and litigation arising therefrom.

Our Group drafts all forms of transportation agreements including contracts of affreightment, charter parties and bills of lading. We draft marine insurance policies and moorage agreements.

Our business lawyers provide advice on industry practice and regulatory issues, company mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, labour matters, immigration, deregulation, competition issues, transport of dangerous goods, shipping documentation and obtaining licenses and permits. We also handle the legal aspects of the construction, repair, acquisition, registration and financing of ships.

In Vancouver, we are correspondents for many P&I Clubs and act, from time to time, for all of the International Group Clubs. We have strong relationships with domestic and international cargo, hull and liability insurers.

Our clients include three of the largest Canadian operators of tugs and barges. We also represent several British Columbia shipbuilders, marine terminal operators, shipping agencies, freight forwarders, marine suppliers and Port Authorities.

Our Maritime Group is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist our clients.

Please contact our Manager of Maritime and Transportation for further information relating to Maritime law.


Merle E. McKenzie
Marine Claims and Casualty Investigator / Paralegal
Cellular: 604.306.4915

Representative Work

  • Successfully upheld, in the B.C. Court of Appeal, the right of a shipowner who is party to a bill of lading to direct payment to itself of freight that was otherwise payable to a third party.
  • Successfully represented Vancouver Drydock Company Ltd. in the BC Supreme Court in a case brought against it by BC Ferry Services Inc., a de facto Crown Corporation that provides all major passenger and vehicle ferry services for coastal and island communities in British Columbia. BC Ferries sued it as a result of the Queen Of Oak Bay crashing into Horseshoe Bay in 2005. The case against the Drydock was dismissed in 2011 following a 3 week trial.
  • Enforced trespass and maritime remedies against vessels (Western Forest Products v. O'Brien; the SHODAN; the ACOR).
  • Achieved a salvage award for an insurer against a wreck which was subsequently proven to have been deliberately scuttled by its owner. (the PANACHE IV) (1998).
  • Succeeded in having contaminated pulp claim dismissed against a maritime terminal following a five week trial. (the STAR DOVER) (2003).
  • Successfully enforced limitation proceedings under the Convention for the Limitation of Liability in Maritime Claims many times in both personal injury and property damage cases.
  • Successfully acted for many creditors against deep sea vessels which have been the subject of insolvency proceedings in Canada (including the CALI, the NEL, the ZOODOTIS, the MORACA, the ATLANTIS TWO).
  • Had the claims against the Port of Vancouver dismissed arising from the fatal boating accident during the Symphony of Fire fireworks event 1999.
  • Acted for an international maritime shipping company with the disposition of a container vessel to an Italian company as well as the acquisition of barges from an American vendor.

Rankings + Recognition

Chambers Global

  • Ranks Bull Housser as a Leading Firm in the area of Shipping Law
  • John Bromley and Shelley Chapelski ranked as leading lawyers in the area of Shipping Law


Best Lawyers in Canada

Expert Guides  Guide to the World’s Leading Shipping and Maritime Lawyers

The International Who’s Who of Shipping & Maritime Lawyers