Pacific Maritime draws upon a wide range of skills and experience to deliver client value. From core navigation and maritime skills as a master mariner, commercial litigation skills focused on delivering client results, investigation and regulation skills that deliver compliance outcomes, through to negotiation skills that break through bottle-necks, Pacific Maritime Lawyers Pty Ltd can deliver a complete package of legal, commercial and practical maritime skills for almost any situation.
Pacific Maritime also has relationships with established experts in their fields, including specialist maritime law barristers, marine surveyors, marine engineers and assessors.
Whatever the issue, whether it is legal or practical or both, Pacific Maritime has the expertise and the team to produce outstanding outcomes for the maritime industry.
Capt. John Kavanagh
DIrector / Principal Solicitor / Master Mariner
Captain John Kavanagh is a Legal Practitioner, Master Mariner and Maritime Auditor. After obtaining his Master’s Certificate of Competency and achieving command, John has focused on maritime law, auditing and consultancy.
John has more than 30 years’ experience in the maritime industry, in a broad range of sectors, including in merchant shipping, in dredging, in government, in defence, and in commercial law.
- Worked in all merchant navy ranks from Deck Cadet to Master
- Served on the largest vessel ever to fly the Australian Red Ensign, the MV Iron Pacific
- Worked on some of the largest marine projects in Australia, including the Wheatstone LNG project in WA and the Ichthys LNG project in Darwin.
- Is currently serving as a reservist in the Royal Australian Navy
John’s earlier seagoing career was with BHP Transport, where he served as a deck officer on bulk carriers, oil tankers, LNG tankers and chemical tankers.
Since moving ashore, John has held roles in the Corporate and Government sector. Prior to establishing Pacific Maritime Lawyers, John was a senior executive at Maritime Safety Queensland, and honed his skills as a litigator at McCullough Robertson Lawyers in Brisbane. At Maritime Safety Queensland (the Queensland State Government Maritime Regulator), John held the roles of Executive Director Maritime Services, Acting Regional Harbour Master (Gladstone) and Acting Vessel Traffic Services Manager in Brisbane.
John is a prize winner in several areas, including seamanship, shipping casualty response, legal services and regulatory compliance. With broad experience in a wide range of operational, legal and management roles, John has a well-rounded, mature and informed approach to the maritime industry and can be relied upon to deliver quality advice and practical solutions.
As the principal of Pacific Maritime Lawyers, John has established a specialist maritime law firm that offers a unique combination of practical legal services to the maritime industry in Australia and internationally. As one of only a handful of master mariner/lawyers in Australia, John has the practical experience, the commercial expertise and the legal know-how to achieve superior outcomes for our clients. Our significant successes include:
- Acting in relation to ship repair claims, including defective paint claims
- Advising and preparing vessel chartering contracts
- Acting in the purchase of multi-million dollar vessels
- Defending statutory demands and winding up applications for maritime businesses.
In addition to his Master Unlimited certificate of competency (AMSA), John holds a Diploma of Applied Science (Nautical Science) from the Australian Maritime College, a Bachelor of Laws (IIA Hons) from Deakin University, a Graduate Certificate in Military Law from the Australian National University, and an unrestricted Principal’s Practising Certificate as a legal practitioner in Queensland. John is also admitted as a legal practitioner to the High Court of Australia. John is certified by the International Register of Certificated Auditors as a Maritime Safety Management System Auditor, and is an active member of the Royal Australian Navy Reserve.
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Dr. Anthony Marinac
Director / Solicitor / Advocate
Dr Anthony Marinac has a wealth of experience in commercial and contract law, administrative law, and environmental law, developed over more than twenty years in both public and private practice.
His recent successes for Pacific Maritime Lawyers include
- defeating unfair AMSA charges that the skipper of a DCV failed to follow the Safety Management System;
- convincing AMSA to withdraw charges relating to MARPOL certificates;
- negotiating with MSQ to minimise the fines for a client with a pilotage offence;
- forcing police prosecutors to withdraw unreasonable stealing charges against an employee; and staving off a creditor’s application to wind up a corporation.
As a senior public administrator in Canberra in the late 1990s, Anthony worked for the Industry department on environmental issues, bringing an industry-focused perspective to legislation such as the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. He then spent years in Parliament House in Canberra as a key adviser to the Senate, working as Principal Research Officer and Committee Secretary for various Senate Committees, be-fore becoming the Director of Research in the Senate. In that role he was a parliamentary draftsman, writing legislative amendments on their way through the Senate.
In 2007 Anthony joined the Royal Australian Air Force, undertaking six years of full time service in Air Force Head-quarters, but also serving on operational bases where he developed his signature style of providing simple, understandable, no-nonsense legal advice. During his service he was also seconded to the Navy for a period of six months, where he served on boarding parties with the Patrol Boat Group in Operation Resolute, going to sea on HMAS Pirie and HMAS Larrakia. Anthony remains a member of the RAAF Reserve.
From 2013 until 2018, Anthony taught law at CQUniversity Australia, where he won a number of awards based on his capacity to take complex legal concepts and to simplify them, making them easily understandable – a skill he uses every day at Pacific Maritime Lawyers. He maintains a personal YouTube legal education channel which has been viewed more than 300,000 times, and is a prolific author on LinkedIn on maritime law issues.
Also during 2013-2015, Anthony served part time as Counsel Assisting in Queensland’s Office of the State Coroner, undertaking a number of high profile and influential inquests. From 2015 until 2018, Anthony was called to the bar as Counsel. During this period he argued matters in Queensland’s Magistrates Court, District Court and Supreme Court, as well as in the Federal Circuit Court. Finally, Anthony is a Nationally Accredited Mediator.
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Mr. Ryan Norval
Director / Special Counsel
Ryan has extensive international experience in the maritime and legal arena.
During conscription, Ryan spent two years in the South African Navy whilst serving on several vessels. Prior to devoting his time to law, Ryan worked in the upstream offshore oil and gas industry throughout the globe for thirteen years and qualified as a Ballast Control Operator, a Barge Master and Offshore Installation Manager.
Ryan completed his four-year Bachelor of Law with several academic awards and went on to complete his Master of Law with a focus on medical law, advanced contract law and torts. In 2005 Ryan was called to the bar in South Africa where he held private chambers until 2015 when he emigrated to Australia. He still holds right of appearance in the High Court of South Africa and remains a member of the National Bar Association of South Africa on which he served in the executive as national secretary for two years.
After arriving in Australia, Ryan worked as the national compliance, risk and governance officer for an after-hours doctor service, located in Queensland. During this time Ryan completed his further studies for admission in Queensland as a solicitor where he is a member of the Queensland Law Society.
Ryan has pertinent experience in a wide range of operational, legal and management roles and can deliver industry relevant, informed and practical solutions to those challenges that seem to be unique to shipping and maritime clients. Ryan also spent time as an operations manager for a ship-repair company in Cape Town and has first-hand experience in this field under challenging conditions at the repair quay and dry dock.
Outside of the legal framework Ryan enjoys his time with his family and playing golf, sailing or sitting down for a strategic game of chess.
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Mr. Tom Mohun
Tom worked as a legal clerk for two (2) years before being admitted to the Roll of Solicitors of the Queensland Supreme Court in 2020.
Tom’s first career was that of a mariner. In 2012 he began a 4-year cadetship program with a commercial shipping company in Far North Queensland and attained the qualification Master up to 34 Metres (unlimited). Tom worked on domestic commercial vessels for nine (9) years, beginning as a deck hand and then working as a ships officer; navigating vessels between Brisbane and Western Australia, managing crews, co-ordinating freight and logistic operations and ensuring compliance with legislative safety and industry standards.
Upon entry into the law, Tom practiced as a criminal defence solicitor. Appearing daily in New South Wales and Queensland Courts advocating on behalf of his clients. He has now joined Pacific Maritime Lawyers and Consultants where he is keen to combine his passion and expertise in shipping and the law.
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Mrs. Rebecca McGuren
Rebecca has extensive experience as a school principal for 18 years, as well as a class room teacher, an academic researcher and a paralegal. She has worked in education at senior levels, as Principal of several large primary schools in Queensland. In her role as Practice Manager at Pacific Maritime Lawyers, she applies her well-honed management, administration, financial and human relationship skills to deliver superior client services. Rebecca also manages the firm’s ISO-ready procedures to ensure consistency in the delivery of excellent legal services.
Rebecca is a leader in all the fields she has entered, from being one of the first ‘National Partnership’ Principals to achieve superior results in education, to presenting at conferences on Asian Education, to being a key representative for Principals in the Queensland Teacher’s Union. She brings her innovation and leadership skills to Pacific Maritime Lawyers, driving positive change and efficiencies in service delivery, so that Pacific Maritime Lawyers achieves superior results in the medium and long term, both as a law firm and to continuously improve services to clients.
Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland, and a Masters of Teaching from the Queensland University of Technology. She also holds a Certificate IV in Legal Services and is a Justice of the Peace in NSW.
Mrs. Amber Watters
Amber has a diverse background having worked in the Australian Defence Force, Federal Magistrates Court of Australia, Transport for NSW Freight and Safety Environment & Regulation branches, and in private legal practice.
Amber has extensive experience and expertise in executive support, business management, administration, project management, policy and procedure drafting, business process improvement, and paralegal support.
Amber has received commendations of service from the Chief of Air Force, as well as letters of commendation from the Chief of Navy and Governor General of Australia for her exemplary project management and administration service delivery.
Amber utilises her diverse experience and capability coupled with her understanding of state and federal processes and procedures to assist the firm in identifying and implementing improved processes and efficiencies, providing business and paralegal support, and assisting Pacific Maritime Lawyers to deliver exceptional service to our clients.
Amber holds Diplomas of Paralegal Studies, Justice, Business, Business Administration, and Management, and is a NSW Justice of the Peace.