Malcolm Hartwell

Head of Transport, Africa; Master Mariner; Director
Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc

South Africa
T:+27 31 582 5622
South Africa
T:+27 31 582 5622
Malcolm Hartwell

Malcolm Hartwell


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Malcolm is a director based in Durban.  He is a Master Mariner and the Head of Transport for Africa.  He has been with the Group since 1994.

He is a shipping lawyer and specialises in admiralty, international trade, marine insurance and all aspects of maritime casualties, in particular investigating the maritime aspects of cases involving salvage, collisions, grounding, flooding, fires, anchor dragging and cargo claims.  He has been involved in most of the casualties in this region in the last twenty years.

Malcolm acts for the majority of South African marine insurers and for numerous international insurers, law firms, shipowners and P and I Clubs.  He has experience in claims relating to water ingress, shortages, fires, refrigerated cargo, lashing failure, latent defects and insufficiency of packaging.  These cases involve urgent Admiralty court proceedings to obtain arrest, interdict, discovery, production and access orders in South African courts and in arbitration proceedings, particularly in London.  He has run litigation and arbitration in New York, London, Singapore, Tokyo and the DRC in the past few years alone.

He has been involved in numerous disputes with and appeals to SARS on customs related problems.  He also specialises in regulatory work having drafted regulatory regimes for terminals in Southern Africa and for the ports of South Africa.  He leads the firm's focus group relating to Operation Phakisa, a government initiative designed to fast track the development of the economic potential of South Africa's seas and coastline.

Malcolm spent ten years at sea serving mainly on general cargo, bulk, refrigerated and container vessels on worldwide trades.  He obtained his Master Mariner's Foreign Going Certificate of Competency before reading for his law degree at the University of Witwatersrand.  He is currently the only master mariner in South Africa who is a director at a law firm.

In addition to being a Master Mariner and an attorney in the High Court of South Africa, he is a solicitor of the courts of England and Wales.  He is also a member of the Master Mariners Society, Durban Marine Insurance Association and the Maritime Law Association (MLA).  He has also served as president of the MLA and he sits on a number of its technical sub-committees.

Professional experience

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  • Attorney, qualified in South Africa
  • Solicitor, qualified in England & Wales
  • Acting for operators of high speed cargo ships in financing new builds and establishing liner service.
  • Acting for insurers of a cargo of coal when a Capesize was lost off Richards Bay.
  • Acting for global commodity company in pursuing claims by way of London arbitration and action against defaulting buyer.
  • Drafted regulatory regimes for terminals and South African ports.
  • Acted for owners and insurers of ore cargoes co-mingled by Transnet.
  • Acted for South African insurance market in mediation in New York following loss of container vessel off Cape Town
  • Malcolm is listed as a leading shipping and transport lawyer in Legal500, 2022.
  • He is also recognised for shipping and has a Band 2 ranking by Chambers Global, 2023.