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Stephen joined Ince & Co after six years in the Royal Marines. He spent ten years in our Piraeus office and became a partner in 2000.

Stephen was listed in the Lloyd’s List Top 10 Law Personalities in 2013, 2012, and 2011, which lists the most influential people in shipping.

‘Interviewees praise him as a confident and aggressive advocate who often advises on wet and piracy matters.’ Chambers and Partners UK 2014
“Stephen Askins is recognised for his knowledge of piracy matters and has advised extensively on the use of armed security.” Chambers and Partners 2013


Stephen’s primary area of expertise and experience is wet and dry shipping. Whilst in Greece he headed the local Admiralty team, acting for owners and their insurers in the aftermath of maritime incidents including salvage, wreck removal, collisions and piracy. He advises on all areas of Admiralty law as well as on contractual issues arising out of charterparties and bills of lading. He acted for the owners of the Voutakos, a LOF salvage case which went to the High Court and considered the controversial issues arising out of rescue tow cases and the “disparity principle”.

More recently he has developed expertise in advising the various stakeholders on the legal and practical issues arising from piracy incidents off West and East Africa. Stephen’s previous career as a Royal Marine has helped him focus on the legality of deploying armed guards on ships and he speaks and writes extensively on the legal issues that arise from this and wider piracy issues.        

He was part of the GUARDCON drafting committee and appeared in front of the Foreign Affairs Committee looking into piracy off Somalia. He has also been part of the Industry Advisory Panel working with the International Task Force set up to debate the payment of ransoms.

He has worked on many high profile maritime casualties and hijackings off both east and west Africa including the Faina during her hijacking off Somalia.

Through his work in the maritime security sector he is also has expertise in the UK Export Control regime which governs the export and transfer of military equipment as well as the issuing of Trade Control Licenses. 

Stephen has developed expertise in advising owners and port operators on crisis communications and dealing with the media in high profile cases. He regularly lectures on this and general crisis management and speaks extensively on the legal issues arising from piracy and hijacking.

He was also part of the team handling the Prestige oil spill and acted for salvors in the MSC Napoli.

“Peers describe him as "straight-talking, hard opponent who does not give in easily.”' Chambers & Partners 2015

Insurance & Reinsurance

Stephen handles marine insurance cases, acting for both owners and underwriters, particularly on coverage issues arising out of major maritime accidents. In the reported case of the Kastor Too he acted for owners of a vessel that caught fire and then sank. The case examined the relationship between a CTL and an ATL and the issue of the notice of abandonment.

Stephen has acted for War Risk underwriters on issues arising out of piracy and hijacking. He advised on the Golden Lucy, which exploded during discharge in the Niger Delta and was then looted by local gun men.

Recent press articles:

Floating arsenals: The boats full of guns for hire against pirates [BBC News]

Somali Pirates Battled in London as Banks Curb Dollar Supply

Stephen has also featured in documentary The Trouble With Pirates


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