Published: Nov 20, 2023

Examining the Implications of UAE’s Federal Law No. 43 of 2023 on Vessel Registration

The upcoming enactment of Federal Law No. 43 of 2023, known as the “Maritime Law,” which will be effective from 29 March 2024, represents a significant shift in the United Arab Emirates (“UAE“) maritime sector, departing from the 1981 Maritime Commercial Law. This change, eagerly anticipated by many, modernises the regulations concerning vessel registration in the UAE.

Expansion of Vessel Ownership and Registration Criteria

The Maritime Law introduces major changes in the criteria for vessel registration under the UAE flag. The new legislation enables UAE residents, of any nationality, to own and register their vessels in the UAE. Additionally, the registration is now open to companies incorporated in the UAE and vessels that are managed by UAE-incorporated entities. This marks a substantial change from the 1981 Maritime Commercial Law, addressing the evolving needs and interests of the maritime community.

Registration Requirements for Specific Vessel Types

Under the new law, coastal service providers and supply vessels, which previously had the option to operate under foreign flags, will now be required to register under the UAE flag. This requirement reflects the UAE’s efforts to strengthen its maritime regulatory framework and maintain high standards of operation for these vessels.

Anticipating the Executive Regulation

We are awaiting the forthcoming executive regulation, which is expected to outline the law’s implementation procedures. This regulation will play a crucial role in providing clear guidelines and ensuring a smooth transition to the new legal requirements.

Enhancing the UAE’s Maritime Infrastructure

The enactment of this law is anticipated to greatly enhance the maritime infrastructure in the UAE and open up new opportunities for international investment. The broader options for vessel ownership and registration underscore the UAE’s commitment to being an inclusive and leading maritime centre.

How can we help?

As we prepare for these changes, our focus is to keep our clients informed and supported. Our team is ready to provide expert guidance and assistance in adapting to the new maritime law and maximising its benefits.

For detailed information or to discuss how these changes may influence your maritime operations, please contact us.

If you wish to keep updated as more details about the law emerge, please follow us on our LinkedIn page.

Key Contacts

Omar N. Omar

Partner, Head of Transport & Insurance