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 advises a wide range of clients operating across the maritime sector, including oil majors, owners, managers, banks, lessors, private equity and shipbuilders in negotiation and documentation of large scale and complex maritime and offshore projects as well as advising on ownership structures, construction, sale and purchase, financing, management, operation, pooling, repair and refit of all types of vessels, including offshore units, wind turbine installation vessels and superyachts.

Mark is recommended lawyer in the shipping section of the 2021 UK edition of The Legal 500, Legalease, the international directory of law firms who report ‘Mark Johnson is cooperative and proactive in his advice.’ Legal 500 go on further to say that ‘(Andreas Silcher} and Mark Johnson are highly experienced, personable and sensible. They follow instructions diligently, offer commercial and constructive suggestions and have a deep understanding of the market in which they are operating – and tailor their work accordingly. They are excellent at prioritising work within the team – and identifying/delegating the correct team-member to carry it out.’

Experience includes:

  • Acting a leading owner/operators of jack-up installation vessels in relation to the drafting and negotiation of construction contracts with various builders for new jack-up installation vessels to service offshore wind projects.
  • Acting for the buyer in distressed ship sale and purchase (US$200 million plus) of a deep water pipelayer and construction vessel and associated remotely operated vehicles (including coordination of cross jurisdictional and bankruptcy risk matters).
  • Acting for an offshore drilling unit owner/operator in relation to the sale and recycling arrangements for its rigs.
  • Acting for an oil major in the disposal of its entire tanker fleet.
  • Acting for the buyer in the distressed sale and purchase (US$ 400 million plus) of a semi-submersible drilling rig from shipbuilder.
  • Acting for the vessel owner/operator in relation to provision of coal transhipment services to power stations in various jurisdictions (including associated shipbuilding and conversion contracts, financing and leasing arrangements).
  • Drafting pro-forma ship sale and purchase agreements for one of world’s largest container lines.
  • Acting for a commodities house in relation to numerous (new build and second-hand) ship sale and lease back transactions.
  • Advising a financier in relation to FPSO construction project.
  • Advising the owner/operator on various FPSO construction, conversion and charter matters.
  • Advising a ship owner in relation Yamal ice-class LNGC project (including shipbuilding, chartering and sale and purchase contracts).
  • Acting for a shipbuilder in respect of negotiation of a bespoke ocean mining vessel.
  • Acting for a government borrower in relation to export credit financing of various shipbuilding contracts.
  • Acting for the owner in the negotiation of refit arrangements for a superyacht.
  • Acting for a shipbuilder in the preparation of a pro-forma superyacht construction contract.
  • Represented a private client in the negotiations of the purchase (US$200 million plus) and later sale of one of the world’s largest superyachts.

Mark also assists clients, has had articles published and has spoken at events on a diverse range of maritime related 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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