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Stephen left the Royal Marines in 1990, and prior to helping to found Tatham & Co, he has spent over thirty years working in the maritime sector including twenty five years at Ince & Co during which time he spent ten years in Piraeus. He prides himself on having a sensible commercial and pragmatic approach to problem solving and dispute resolution.


Stephen has a growing practice in marine insurance cases involving claims across the full range of hull, marine and war policies. These range from coverage issues around engine damage, yacht casualties, to claims arising from prolonged detentions in difficult places (such as Yemen and Venezuela) giving rise to high value total loss claims.

Piracy and maritime security

Stephen was listed in the Lloyd’s List Top 10 Law Personalities in the past few years which lists the most influential people in shipping including in 2017 which was in recognition of his work in helping to release the Chennai 6 which was the group of maritime security wrongfully convicted in Mumbai. He was described as “ …an unsung hero, often securing the release of seafarers held hostage by Somali pirates.”

He is recognised as having particular expertise in dealing with issues arising out of piracy, war and terrorism

He has carved out a niche in the field of piracy and marine terrorism, with sources saying he is “the go-to guy for tricky situations involving hostages and hijacks.”

Sources highlight his experience and say he is “very savvy about guiding clients on risk-reward.”Chambers and Partners 2015

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

In recent years he has become recognised as one of the leading experts advising on piracy particularly in the Gulf of Guinea, maritime terrorism and the use of armed guards. He has handled many hijackings and kidnappings on both east and west Africa working with owners and their Crisis Management Teams. He was part of the GUARDCON drafting committee and appeared in front of the Foreign Affairs Committee looking into piracy off Somalia. He was also part of the Industry Advisory Panel working with the International Task Force set up to debate the legality and payment of ransoms.

Wet and dry shipping

Stephen’s primary area of expertise and experience is crisis management particularly in complex environments. He has an excellent all round over view of the issues that arise in the immediate aftermath of a casualty as well as the contractual issues that arise. He has been involved in some of the biggest headline cases acting for a number of different stakeholders. His past military training combines well with a strong commercial and legal understanding of contractual and liability issues. He regularly lectures on this and general crisis management and speaks and writes extensively on the legal issues arising from piracy and hijackings.