Published: Nov 15, 2023

UAE Issues a New Maritime Law

We’re entering an exciting new chapter in maritime law, marked by the enactment of a groundbreaking new maritime statute. This pivotal change heralds a significant transformation in our approach to maritime litigation, arbitration, and commercial dealings. The law introduces extensive provisions for maritime debts and liens, equipping us to protect our clients’ interests more effectively.

Under the previous legal framework, the focus was mainly on specific maritime debt causes, like collisions, personal injuries, salvage, and vessel-related contracts. The new law, however, broadens its reach substantially. It now covers a wider range of obligations, including vessel construction, repair, conversion costs, port and canal dues, crew wages, social security contributions, insurance premiums, and even disputes concerning vessel ownership or possession. This wider scope reflects an evolved and holistic view of maritime commerce, acknowledging the multifaceted financial and legal aspects of ship operations. The law’s comprehensive nature ensures a robust legal foundation to address modern maritime trade’s complexities, providing thorough coverage and enforcement of all relevant debts and obligations.

Another notable advancement is the modernisation of the process for lifting vessel arrests. Moving away from the traditional cash-dependent approach, the new law introduces more flexible options like bail and guarantees. Instead of immediate cash or manager’s cheques, recognised bodies such as protection and indemnity clubs or reputable financial institutions can issue letters of guarantee. This modification not only simplifies the process but also accelerates dispute resolution, making it more attainable and efficient for all parties in maritime legal contexts.

How can we help?

We encourage our clients and partners to embrace this progressive legislative shift. Our expert legal team is ready to provide guidance and support in this new and dynamic maritime legal environment. With these changes, we are better equipped to navigate the complexities of maritime law, ensuring optimal outcomes for our clients.

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Key Contacts

Omar N. Omar

Partner, Head of Transport & Insurance