SINGAPOREAN law graduates are being urged to consider a career in the maritime industry.

Mr Nicholas Sansom, president of the Maritime Law Association of Singapore, said it offers an entree to a dynamic cluster of international lawyers working in a fast-growing sector.

Mr Sansom, who is also a member of the general committee of the Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (SCMA), was speaking yesterday at the Singapore Shipping Conference 2012.

He said: 'Many young lawyers think it's very attractive to go into banking and corporate law, and don't really think of maritime law as necessarily being the obvious place to practise as a lawyer.'

He noted however that Singapore now has an impressive cluster of maritime lawyers from around the world, and that the growing number of maritime firms makes it a particularly attractive location for arbitration.

Law Minister K. Shanmugam had indicated last month that the maritime arbitration scene here is growing. Between 2009 and last year, more than 100 maritime-related cases were heard by the SCMA and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (Siac).

The SCMA alone has heard 39 maritime cases since it was reconstituted in May 2009. In the five years prior to that, only five cases were registered.

Mr Henry Mytton-Mills, managing director of Aries Shipbroking (Asia) and board member of the SCMA, said: 'When people get married, they don't think of getting a divorce right away, but it is inevitable that some marriages end up in divorce.

'It's the same for shipping companies. No company is looking for disputes, but the fact is that more shipping companies will lead to more disputes and Singapore has to be better equipped to facilitate the shipping companies legally.'

Mr K. Murali Pany, partner at Joseph Tan Jude Benny, a firm specialising in maritime law, added: 'In maritime law, you deal with a broad range of issues and international jurisdiction. It's complex and challenging.'