Mark Johnson



Education and Clerkships

LL.B., College of Law, 2008

Graduate Diploma in Law, College of Law, 2007

B.Sc., Royal Holloway, University of London, 1998


England and Wales




Mark Johnson has more than 25 years of experience in the maritime and legal fields, including time as a captain of a ship. Mark focuses on transactional work advising on structuring, preparation, review, and negotiation of documentation for offshore projects and the construction, conversion, sale and purchase, financing, management, operation and ownership of all types of vessels, including offshore units and superyachts.

Experience includes:

  • Acting for buyer in its distressed sale scenario acquisition (US$200 million plus) of a deep water pipelayer and construction vessel and associated remotely operated vehicles (including coordination of various cross jurisdictional matters and managing risk associated with original owner bankruptcy proceedings).
  • Acting for offshore drilling unit owner/operator in relation to the disposal and recycling arrangements for its rigs.
  • Acting for private equity fund in its distressed sale scenario acquisition (US$ 400 million plus) of a distressed sale semi-submersible drilling unit from shipyard (including managing risks associated with original buyer bankruptcy proceedings).
  • Acting for vessel owner/operator in relation to negotiations with various power production companies for provision of coal transhipment services to power stations in various jurisdictions (including associated vessel construction and conversion contracts, and financing and leasing arrangements).
  • Drafting (and provide training for) pro-forma vessel sale and purchase agreements for use by one of world’s largest shipowners as part of its fleet renewal strategy.
  • Acting for a commodities house in relation to numerous (new build and second-hand tonnage) dry bulk vessel on-sale, sale and lease back structures.
  • Reviewing and advising financier in relation to new build FPSO construction project.
  • Acting for a shipyard in respect of negotiation of a bespoke ocean mining vessel.
  • Acting for a government borrower in relation to the negotiation of export credit financing of various new build vessels.
  • Acting for the owner in the negotiation of refit arrangements for an historic superyacht.
  • Acting for a shipyard in the preparation of a pro-forma superyacht construction contract.
  • Represented a private client in the negotiations of the acquisition (US$200 million plus) and also the later sale of one of the world’s largest superyachts (100m plus) together with the restructuring of ownership and flagging arrangements for a number of other smaller yachts (30m to 50m) linked to the private client.

Mark also assists clients, has had articles published and spoken at events on a diverse range of matters from Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) to heightened political tensions in the Middle East.

Recent Developments

Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships Webinar

Mark Johnson and Fiona Cain involved in wide ranging discussion on recent developments, challenges, key benefits and predictions for the future of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) with industry experts at the forefront of development and operations of MASS.

Selected Publications and Speeches

  • “Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) Webinar,” moderator, webinar 15 November 2019.
  • “Legal and Liability Issues for MASS,” panelist, Autonomous Ship Technology Symposium, Amsterdam, 27 June, 2019.
  • "Be Prepared: Advice for the Shipping Industry on the Cyber Threat," co-author, Ship Law Log, 5 October 2017.
  • "Cyber Attacks – the New 'Pirates,'" speaker, webinar, 28-29 September 2017.
  • "Superyacht Finance 2017 - Challenges and Opportunities," co-author, Marine Money, 1 September 2017.
  • "Beyond ColRegs; Challenges Facing Vessel Autonomy," speaker, Offshore Arabia, Dubai, 28 February 2018 - 1 March 2018.
  • "The Legal Challenges Facing Vessel Autonomy," author, Fairplay, 21 July 2017.
  • "The New SUPPLYTIME 2017," co-author, Ship Law Log, 10 July 2017.
  • "Ship Management Arrangements – Issues and Security, A Ship Lender’s Perspective," speaker, London International Shipping Week, 7 September 2015.

Selected Client Representations

  • Represented an oil major in relation to the disposal of its entire VLCC and product tanker fleet, including dovetailing inspection and transfer arrangements to avoid disruption of any of the crude oil supply commitments of the oil major.
  • Representing the seller of a semi-submersible drilling unit relation to the sale of the unit and subsequent delivery arrangements for unit related equipment in multiple jurisdictions.
  • Advising an offshore drilling operator its negotiation with a leading Asian shipyard for the construction contract for a semi-submersible drilling unit.
  • Advising an offshore wind farm installer in its negotiations with a number of leading Asian shipyards for the construction of an offshore wind turbine installation vessel.
  • Advised a shipyard in the negotiations of a construction contract for an aggregate dredging vessel.
  • Advised one of the world’s largest commodities houses on and negotiating vessel ownership, employment and management structures (including sale and leaseback arrangements) and negotiating and managing transaction process for the acquisition and bareboat chartering of numerous shipbuilding contracts and second hand vessels delivering into the structures.
  • Represented a private equity fund in relation to undertaking due diligence and structuring acquisition arrangements for purchase of a number of tanker pool companies.
  • Represented leading European financiers in relation to structuring assignment and novation arrangements for a succession of shipbuilding contracts (for various vessel types) so as to fit with the requirements of Spanish leasing structures.
  • Represented a shipyard in relation to the negotiation with another shipyard (and with construction supervisor) for the construction (and supervision of construction), transportation and commissioning of one of the world’s largest floating drydocks.
  • Represented a Middle Eastern drilling company in the acquisition of numerous jack-up rigs, including acquisition of rig construction contracts mid-construction as well as the acquisition (and transportation arrangements) of distressed sale second hand units in West Africa.
  • Represented numerous buyers and sellers in the sale and purchase of sail and powered superyachts from 30m to 100m plus (and also advised in relation to associated flagging, crewing and technical management arrangements).

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