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, 2010




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 clients including, oil majors, shipowners, managers, banks, lessors, and shipyards in the negotiation and documentation of large scale and complex maritime and offshore projects as well as advising on the construction, sale and purchase, financing, management, operation and ownership of all types of vessels, including offshore units and superyachts.

Most recently, Mark has handled a broad range of matters, including negotiating sale and leaseback arrangements, advising companies in connection with building, acquiring, and disposing of vessels and rigs in the offshore oil and gas sector as well as negotiating the workout and restructuring of shipbuilding contracts.

Mark has used the teamwork and management skills of his naval experience to develop a practice in which he is known for working closely with his clients' other external advisors and in-house personnel to successfully achieve the client goals in a timely and effective manner.

Professional and Community Activities

  • Member, The Honourable Company of Master Mariners

Professional Recognition

  • London Super Lawyers Rising Stars, Thomson Reuters, 2014

Selected Publications and Speeches

  • “Legal and Liability Issues for MASS,” panelist, Autonomous Ship Technology Symposium, Amsterdam, June 27, 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.

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 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.
  • 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 one of the leading offshore oil and gas contractors in the US$ 275 million plus acquisition (connected to Chapter 11 related distress sale scenario) of ultra-deepwater rigid and flexible pipelayer and heavy lift vessel together with associated acquisition of remotely operated vehicles.
  • 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 a private equity fund in negotiating the acquisition (distress sale scenario) of a state-of-the-art semi-submersible drilling unit from a leading Asian shipyard, including dovetailing process with Chapter 11 settlement agreement and seller group credit arrangements.
  • Represented a leading European financier 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 tax lease structures.
  • Represented a shipyard in the preparation of a standard template contract to be the used for semi-custom 70m plus luxury superyacht construction projects to facilitate a common approach to contract management across a series of newbuild yacht projects.
  • 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 one of the world’s largest floating drydocks.
  • Represented a shipowner in negotiations with a power production company for the long term (15 plus years) provision of coal transshipment services (including arrangements for the construction and conversion of vessels to perform services and associated financing, and guarantee structures).
  • Represented a Middle Eastern drilling company in the acquisition of numerous jack-up rigs, including acquisition of construction contracts mid-construction as well as the acquisition (and transportation arrangements) of distressed sale second hand units in West Africa.
  • Represented a private client in the negotiations of the acquisition 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.
  • 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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