James Wilkes
James Wilkes Managing director

A highly experienced trouble-shooter, James has been helping clients manage issues arising from corporate malfeasance, criminal activity, political instability, terrorism and other complex problems, for twenty years.

An articulate, quick-witted and creative leader, James has headed the company since its inception in 2003 and oversees its strategic direction and development.


Countering piracy and maritime crime
Maritime security and asset protection
Cargo fraud, fine art and specie investigations
Delivering effective advice and meaningful support during crisis situations

Expert work

Dating back to 1997, James has advised shipowners, cargo interests, marine insurers and nation sates in more than 40 cases involving piracy, encompassing hijack for cargo theft, kidnap for ransom and, historically, barratry and phantom-ship fraud.

In December 2009, James appeared in the High Court as the Expert for Amlin Corporate Member Ltd, the defendant insurer in what is commonly referred to as the Bunga Melati Dua Case; Masefiled AG – v – Amlin Corporate Member Ltd [2010] EWHC 208 (comm.) His evidence is referred to in the Judgment of Steel, J (18 February 2010) and in the Judgment handed down by the Court of Appeal panel (Rix, Moore-Bick and Patten, LLJ’s) on 26 January 2011: Masefiled AG – v – Amlin Corporate Member Ltd [2011] EWHC Civ 24.

Since then James has been retained as an expert in five further cases where piracy and matters of ship security have been central to the proceedings being brought.

Public speaking

James is an accomplished public speaker. He has spoken at numerous conferences, seminars and events around the world, and in front of a wide range of audiences. In 2009, James was privileged to be a speaker at the Oxford Union.


James is regularly asked to write for international trade publications and has written on topics such as piracy and maritime crime, security technology, and what the Ebola crisis meant for the shipping industry.

James is also a respected media commentator.

Written press includes The Sunday Telegraph, TradeWinds, IHS Maritime Fairplay, Lloyd’s List, Bloomberg and Reuters, as well as The Mark News and Splash24/7.

On the Radio, James has featured on BBC Radio 4’s The Investigation, BBC World Service, BBC Radio 5 and LBC.

On television, James has appeared on BBC News at Six, BBC News at Ten, BBC World News, Channel 4 News and Sky News.


James is a Freeman of the City of London and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights. He is also a dedicated fly fisher, an okay golfer and sails when the opportunity arises.

Office + 44 1865 861 420 | james.wilkes@graypage.com