The Effectiveness of Maritime Law in The United Arab Emirates

Considerably 90 percent of the world’s trade is through sea the goods here are being transported more efficiently here. Trade and commerce had their initial beginning from the travel and transport through the sea. In the development of civilization, sailing/ navigation through the sea was considered an important instrument. Along the Arabian Sea, the first significant commerce route was established between India and Pakistan. The UAE has 6% of the world’s oil reserves and is the 7 largest holder of natural gas reserves, having 20 seaports and Dubai has the largest natural harbor. 


Legal Developments

The shipping practices within the United Arab Emirates are governed and regulated by the UAE Maritime Trade Law. Here there are restrictions on the ships not to fly the flag of UAE on certain conditions. A ship to acquired a UAE nationality should either be registered within the UAE port or should be owned by an individual or company possessing the UAE nationality. There are many legal procedures to acquire UAE nationality, if you have any queries related to this legal procedure you can reach out to the reputed shipping law experts in UAE.


Enforcement of Maritime Claims in UAE

The proper use of limited rights as guaranteed by international conventions and local laws has long been a source of debate in the UAE and the GCC. Following the capsizing of the auto-ship Golden Ray, this was recently reconsidered as cargo interests pursued recovery. While the UAE Courts consider which limitation regimes to apply and how they should be applied, some cargo interests may have already settled at a large undervalue by relying on the erroneous limitation rules and walked away with hundreds of thousands of dollars. This raises the question of which limiting regimes truly apply in practice, regardless of the contract’s provisions.


Charter party

A charter party is when a shipowner lets the ship for any purpose of transportation of cargo to another. It is hiring a ship from a shipowner for which a contract is made for the transportation of the cargo. The owner of the ship has the following duties and responsibilities:


Marine Casualties

A marine casualty is defined as an occurrence or a series of events that resulted in any of the following occurring immediately in the course of a ship’s operations:

There are various arbitration centers in the UAE, however, when it comes to maritime issues, there are two that are considered more specialised, owing to the supervision of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) courts rather than the Federal courts. EMAC (Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre) was established in 2016. Unless otherwise agreed, EMAC arbitrations are held in the DIFC and are overseen by the DIFC courts. It offers parties the option of emergency and fast-track arbitration, and its Arbitration Rules, which are mostly based on the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules 2010, are up to date and follow international best practices. The majority of arbitrations, including those involving shipping, are handled by the DIFC-London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) Centre.


The wrongful arrest of a Vessel

The main criterion to meet is the arresting party’s intent: if it can be shown that the arresting party acted with the intent to cause damage (e.g., fabricating evidence or submitting forged documents to obtain the arrest), then the chances of recovering such losses are very good as long as the owner can prove its losses. If the arrest was wrongful, for example, if it was discovered that it did not fall firmly within the category of marine debt, the possibilities of receiving compensation for wrongful arrest are slim. A maritime expert is usually appointed by the court to assess the loss.

The United Arab Emirates is a jurisdiction that welcomes arrests. Before effecting the arrest order, however, various legal and procedural factors must be reviewed. 

  1. The arresting party must demonstrate to the court that his debt is a maritime debt—a bill of lading or charter party to that effect would suffice;
  2. the lawyer must produce an official Power of Attorney (POA) issued by the attesting party, which must be notarized and attested by the UAE Embassy in the origin country. 
  3. The arresting party would be required to produce a written commitment to indemnify the arresting party against any loss or harm resulting from the arrest. If the court determines that the arrest application was submitted without cause, and maliciously filed,
  4. the court can also ask for the security deposit, 
  5. all the documents about the case have to be translated into Arabic. 

Chapter 5 of the UAE Federal Law No. 26 of 1981 deals with marine accidents and further Article 318 of the Law deals with Marine collisions. In case the collision occurs due to a force-majeure then both parties of the vessel, or boat shall bear the loss which they have suffered. And if one party is at fault, and there is a difficulty in proving who has a more degree of default then the liability shall be equally divided among them (Article-321). There can also be a liability if a collision occurred due to the default of the pilot (Article-322).

Persons who suffer damage from oil pollution from maritime causalities involving oil-carrying ships are to be adequately compensated and this was mentioned in the International Convention on Civil Liabilities for Oil Pollution Damage. So, the owner of the ship from which the polluting oil gets discharged would be held liable.