Mark van Velden

Mark van Velden

Durban, South Africa
T: +27 31 109 1160
  • Overview
  • Experience
  • Publications & Insights


Mark van Velden is a partner in our Durban office Shipping Practice.

He has extensive experience in shipping and transport law. In addition to being an experienced litigator, representing ship owners, charterers, P&I clubs and liability underwriters, freight forwarders and stevedores, he advises on charter party clauses, bills of lading, insurance wording and standard terms and conditions for a wide range of logistics operators.

Mark is a member of the Maritime Law Association, an affiliate member of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers and a supporting member of the London Maritime Arbitrators Association. He has BA and LLB degrees from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Specialist Services

Relevant Experience

Mark’s particular experience and expertise covers:

  • Arresting or attaching vessels, bunkers or other assets for the purposes of obtaining security for claims in London arbitration or other proceedings, including more recently the MT “Spike” and the tugs “Northwind” and “Southwind”.
  • Negotiating security for owners or charterers in the event of an arrest of vessels or bunkers and procuring their prompt release from arrest, including most recently for owners of the MV “Hyderabad”.
  • Advising on the prospects of challenging the validity of arrests, particularly of “associated” vessels and on the merits of potential wrongful arrest actions.
  • Applying for the judicial sale of arrested vessels on behalf of mortgagee banks and other creditors.
  • Preparing and lodging creditors’ claims against the Funds created by the judicial sales, including most recently in relation to the tugs “Northwind” and “Southwind”.
  • Applications for orders, and negotiating agreed protocols, for access to vessels and documentation for the purposes of evidence gathering.
  • Interviewing officers, crew and other personnel and preparing statements.
  • Casualty facilitation in South and Southern Africa, including most recently representing one of the slot charterers (and their Club) of the container ship MV “APL Austria” which suffered a major explosion and fire on board off Port Elizabeth, and attending urgently on board a tanker at Dar es Salaam to protect the interests of owners and their Club in relation to a potential pollution incident at the SBM.
  • Investigating and defending cargo claims for owners and the Clubs, most recently in a string of claims and potential claims in relation to maize cargoes carried into Namibia, South Africa, and Mozambique from Mexico on the vessels “Coral Gem”, “Santa Isabella” and “Challenger”.
  • Charter party disputes.

Signature Matters


  • Chambers and Partners consistently ranked Mark in Band 3 for Shipping for the past four consecutive years (2018 to 2021).
  • Mark has been recognized again by Who’s Who Legal as a Global Leader in Transport – Shipping for 2022, as he was in 2020 and 2021.

‘Mark wins praise from market commentators thanks to the first-rate advice he delivers to underwriters, shipowners and P&I clubs.’ – Who’s Who Legal – Transport, 2021

‘Mark is reachable 24/7. He is the lawyer with the quickest response time and delivers high quality work. He is simply brilliant.’ – Who’s Who Legal – Transport, 2020

‘Mark van Velden is experienced in shipping matter. He is approachable and sensible with a pragmatic approach to problems.’ – Legal 500, 2021

‘Market sources commend Mark Van Velden as “very prompt and very clear,” as well as “service-minded and solution-oriented,” concluding: “He gives good legal advice.” He is well versed in commercial transactions in the shipping space, as well as in contentious mandates, such as arrests, charter party disputes and matters relating to environmental damage.’ – Chambers and Partners, 2021

‘Mark Van Velden operates a strong shipping practice primarily focused on disputes, such as ship arrests and charter party disputes, with experience acting on both litigation and arbitration cases. He is further active on maritime insurance matters and is described by commentators as “extremely approachable and very helpful.”‘ – Chambers and Partners 2020

‘Mark van Velden is reachable 24/7. He is the lawyer with the quickest response time and delivers high quality work. He is simply brilliant.’ -Legal 500 2020

‘Mark Van Velden has “very good knowledge in shipping and maritime law” and is commended for his “pertinent and reliable advice.” He is widely recognised for his background in P&I clubs and is considered a “commercially oriented litigation lawyer.” He has strong experience in charter party disputes and has handled a number of complex arrests.’ – Chambers and Partners 2019

‘Mark Van Velden is a well-regarded charter party lawyer with prior experience at a London-based P&I club. In addition to his experience of charter negotiations and disputes, he has acted for a number of charterers, insurers and owners on arrests and casualty matters.’ – Chambers and Partners 2018

Publications & Insights