About us

Nordisk Skibsrederforening, also known as Nordisk Defence Club (“Nordisk”), is a mutual freight, demurrage and defence (FD&D) club that in addition to providing traditional FD&D coverage functions as a maritime law firm for its members and other clients. Nordisk’s main office is in Oslo, Norway and we also have an expanding Singapore office. Our members and clients are shipping companies primarily from the Nordic region, but also from many other countries.

The heart of our expertise stems from our members and more than 130 years of lasting relationships


Nordisk was founded in 1889 to promote the general interests of Nordic shipowners, not only in respect of documentary and legal matters, but also in relation to governments and other public bodies.

With the advent of national shipowners’ associations in each of the Nordic countries about 100 years ago, Nordisk gradually evolved to become a “defence club”, focusing solely on providing legal assistance to its members. In 1972, the club decided to accept members from countries outside the Nordic region and also entries in respect of chartered vessels. The club now also plays an important role in the offshore industry.

Over the last 25 years, the range of work undertaken by the club has expanded significantly. In addition to FD&D cover, the club now also handles non-covered work on a consultancy basis and takes care of most of its members’ and clients’ requirements for legal assistance in relation to the operation of their vessels.


Our depth of experience is bolstered by the sharing of our knowledge amongst generations of lawyers

Goals and strategies

Quality and service are Nordisk’s hallmarks. Members and clients can expect a high level of personal service, combining legal expertise, practical experience and commercial awareness. Nordisk delivers the concise and accurate advice at short notice that its members and clients often require.

Nordisk manages all its cases from the outset until conclusion, wherever the litigation or arbitration takes place.  Cases in Norway and most arbitrations in London and New York are handled directly by Nordisk’s own lawyers.  Local lawyers will be instructed in London and New York to handle court proceedings and they may be instructed on larger arbitrations.  When cases involve other jurisdictions, Nordisk will instruct as necessary local lawyers from Nordisk’s global network of correspondents.  Even where local lawyers are instructed, Nordisk’s lawyers will always remain involved in the handling of the matter.

The highly specialised nature of our work and the quality and experience of our lawyers mean that Nordisk serves in practice as the “legal department” of many members or, where members have their own in-house counsel, as an additional source of legal expertise.

Our aim at all times is to:

  • be one of the world’s leading centres of expertise within our area of maritime law
  • have outstanding specialist expertise within FD&D matters and be very well equipped to assist our members with other aspects of their shipping operations
  • have a reputation in the shipping market that reflects the goals outlined above.

Board of Directors


Chair person:
Jan Fredrik Meling

Board members:
Anders Thyberg, Senior Vice President – Shipping & Logistics Wallenius Lines AB
Knut N.T. Ugland,  J.J. Ugland Companies
Njål Sævik, CEO Havila Shipping ASA
Kristin Schjødt Bitnes, General Counsel Wallenius Wilhelmsen
Jan William Denstad, CEO & Founding partner Sole Shipping
Dorte Thuesen Christensen, Vice President Operations & Claims in Hafnia Pools Pte. Ltd




Mats S. Sæther, CEO, lawyer
Mats E Sæther joined Nordisk in 2013 and was promoted to CEO on 6 April 2021. Before joining Nordisk, he spent 10 years as a shipping lawyer at leading Norwegian law firms Wikborg Rein and BAHR.

Like his predecessors since 1889, he will split his time between managing Nordisk and working as a shipping lawyer. His practice includes all areas of maritime law, including dispute resolution, charter parties, compliance, shipbuilding and ship recycling contracts, shipping / ship finance transactions and salvage law.

Nordisk’s Management Group
Mats will, together with the management team consisting of  Joanne Conway-Petersen (solicitor), Lars Theodorsen (CFO) and Knut Erling Øyehaug (lawyer), continue as ever to focus on the best interests of the members and the management of the members’ respective cases.



Statutes & Rules

Rules 2024 (PDF opens in new window)

Statutes valid from 31 May 2022 (PDF opens in new window)


Terms of Business

Terms of Business (Alminnelige Forretningsvilkår)