Craig Cunningham joined Bowman Gilfillan (formerly Findlay and Tait) as a candidate attorney in 1989 and later as a professional assistant and associate. He became a director of Bowman Gilfillan in March 1997.
Cunningham has been involved in a number of contentious matters on behalf of shipowners and their insurers, including:
- Acting on behalf of the owners of vessels arrested as an associated ships in successful applications to set aside the arrests, including the vessels Moa, Blue Arrabella, Rizcun Trader, Humber, Asian Hope and Chenebourg;
- Representing owners and their insurers in respect of cargo damage claims;
- Representing owner’s PandI and HandM insurers in respect of the investigation of main engine breakdowns, groundings and shell plate damage off the South African coastline and transhipment of cargo involving, among others, the vessels Halim, Lola, Long Charity and Pine Trader;
- Representing the owners and underwriters of vessels lost or involved in collisions off the South African coast, including the Alexandros T, Anangel Splendour and Maritime Master;
- Representing various international banks in workouts in South Africa in selling vessels and administering the resultant ship funds of, among others, the vessels Ocean King, Pine Trader, Mighty Deliverer, Ruby Deliverer and Sara V;
- Representing owners and charterers in the arrest or setting aside the arrest of ships as security for London arbitration proceedings;
- Representing owners’ PandI club and hull underwriters of a fire-damaged car carrier (Modern Drive); and
- Representing Smit as salvors in local litigation involving the salvage of the vessels Shinkai Maru, Sea Elegance and Pine Trader.
Non-contentious matters include:
- A sale and leaseback transaction involving an Atlantic lobster fishing fleet (acting for financier);
- A sale and leaseback of fishing vessels and processing plant (acting for the financier and purchaser); and
- Registration of security bonds and mortgages for mortgagees in the purchase of fishing vessels, blue water tonnage, commercial vessels, catamarans, luxury yachts and sport fishing craft.
Cunningham has also been involved in the following reported cases:
- The Tao Men 1996 (1) SA 559 (C);
- The Ocean King No 2 1997 (4) SA 349 (C);
- The Rizcun Trader No 1 1999 (3) 953 (C);
- The Rizcun Trader No 2 1999 (3) SA 956 (C);
- The Rizcun Trader No 3 1999 (3) 966 (C); and
- The Rizcun Trader No 4 2000 (3) 776 (C).