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US$290m awards in Korean shipbuilding arbitration


A London-seated LMAA tribunal has ordered Samsung Heavy Industries Co. Ltd (“SHI”), one of the largest shipbuilders in the world, to pay more than US$290m in damages relating to defects in the cargo holds of two 174,000m³ LNG-carriers (“SK SERENITY” and “SK SPICA”).

The vessels were purchased in 2015 by subsidiaries of SK Shipping Co. Ltd (“SKS”), and were delivered in 2018.  They featured a novel, Korean-designed cargo containment system (known as the KC-1 system), which had been developed by the Korean Gas Corporation (“KOGAS”), the State-owned South Korean natural gas company.  Shortly after delivery, however, operations were suspended following the identification of defects in the cargo holds.

The tribunal delivered its awards on 15 December 2023, following a three-week arbitration.

The outcome of the arbitration has been reported in regulatory filings by SHI and in the Korean and industry press. 

Simon Birt KC and Kyle Lawson appeared for the successful Claimants, instructed by Stephenson Harwood LLP.  Mark Howard KC also advised the Claimants at an earlier stage in the proceedings. 

Further details of the tribunal’s awards are reported here.