Maritime Law in the UAE

UAE Maritime Industry Regulations

Maritime Law in the UAE

New Maritime Law in The UAE

Maritime law in the UAE, as a whole, is an extremely complex area of law. It is the legal system that governs the movements of ships, sailors, and all other such vessels that are used on the water.

Maritime transport and trading account for a considerable percentage of all major commercial transactions across the globe. And in the United Arab Emirates, import and export activities are essential. As such, it has one of the busiest seaports in the world. The UAE is located in an area of the Middle East that has heavy shipping traffic and favors maritime transport. It is an economically crucial area for shipping, trade, and maritime affairs.

For the past few years, the maritime industry has been struggling with an ever-changing legal landscape and due to an ever-growing demand for shipping services, the industry has adapted and learned to adjust to those changes. Shipping services in the Gulf region rely heavily on the maritime law in the region, as it provides a solid base of maritime law for the industry.

Despite these, many people are unaware that the laws governing the activities that take place on land are different from those that govern life on navigable waters. Injuries and accidents that occur on navigable waters are subject to a different set of laws than those that occur on land. Those laws that govern issues on navigable waters are generally called admiralty or maritime law.

And these maritime laws have several complexities that can make them difficult to maneuver. So when operating in the UAE’s maritime industry, you need the assistance of experienced maritime lawyers for any legal issues your business faces. At our firm in Dubai (Advocates & Legal Consultants), our maritime lawyers have the experience and expertise to provide legal advice and representation in maritime dispute resolution as well as drafting all kinds of maritime contracts.

What is the Scope of Maritime Law?

Maritime law is the private law of shipping and navigation. It is a distinct set of rules and regulations that governs contracts, torts (such as personal injury), and workers’ compensation claims that arise from injuries sustained on navigable water.

The scope of maritime law in the UAE covers shipping, navigation, towing, recreational boating, and commerce on waters, both domestically and internationally. It regulates activities on natural seas, lakes, and waterways as well as man-made navigable waters such as canals. A shipowner can be held liable for any injuries to a maritime worker if the vessel or its appliances were unseaworthy and caused the injuries.

And under maritime law, you are entitled to seek compensation for any injuries you sustain in navigable waters, whether you are a crew member or a passenger on a vessel. You can get damages including lost wages, medical expenses, damages for pain and suffering, and even emotional damages. Maritime law also covers injuries that occur on land but are related to work that goes on on marine vessels (or cruise activities).

An Overview of UAE Maritime Law

The UAE Maritime Code is the law regulating all admiralty and shipping practices in the UAE. It is also known as the UAE Federal Law No. 26 of 1981. It was enacted in accordance with modern international maritime laws and deals with many issues of UAE maritime law, including matters like:

  • Registration of vessels;
  • Documentation of vessels;
  • Ownership and use of vessels;
  • Right to a lien on a vessel’s cargo;
  • Mortgage of vessels;
  • Chartering of vessels;
  • Identity of the carrier;
  • The arrest of vessels;
  • The Master and Crew of a vessel;
  • Affreightment contracts and carriage of goods;
  • Carriage of people;
  • Towage and pilotage of vessels;
  • Collisions that involve vessels;
  • Salvage involving vessels;
  • General average;
  • Marine insurance; and
  • Time bar/limit of maritime claims.

The Maritime Code applies to all of the seven Emirates. Any business owner involved in any maritime activity in Dubai or other parts of the UAE has to observe the legal requirements for maritime transport.

Our law firm takes the area of maritime law very seriously. And our maritime lawyers can give you information about compliance with the UAE Maritime Law. We can provide you comprehensive details about the issues that the maritime laws of the UAE deals with.

Regulations of the Maritime Industry in the UAE

The UAE Maritime Code consists of several sections that cover a wide array of matters. These matters range from issues pertaining to the requirements for registration to marine insurance. Here are some of the problems that you may have to consider if you have plans to do anything that relates to the Maritime Industry in the UAE:

#1. Ownership of Vessels by Foreign Investors in Dubai

Foreigners who own businesses in Dubai are to observe the regulations for vessel ownership of the UAE. If you are a foreigner and own a maritime company in Dubai, you cannot register your ships, boats, and other vessels.

The only people allowed to register such vessels are UAE nationals, companies, and businesses that have at least 51% of UAE nationals as owners. If these persons sell a registered UAE vessel to a foreign individual or entity, the UAE registration will be canceled.

#2. Carriage of Goods by Sea

The carriage of goods by sea plays a crucial role in the UAE’s economy. This is because UAE has several seaports located strategically at the crossroads of the Middle East/Southwest Asian region.

Therefore, it is vital that you have adequate knowledge of the legal rules regarding the carriage of goods by sea, as they apply in the UAE.

The UAE Maritime Code covers the carrier’s liability for delay in the delivery of goods. A carrier of goods in sea vessels in the UAE may be liable for any delay in delivering goods to their port of destination.

Most times, there is no physical loss of goods when there is a delay in the delivery of those goods. Nonetheless, you can get damages for any economic loss that you suffered due to the delay in cargo delivery.

#3. Chartering of Sea Vessels

Vessel chartering in the UAE covers the chartering of all types of vessels on the sea, including container ships, bulk vessels, tankers, and even cruise ships.

Charter services handle the various types of charters, including voyage charter, time charter, bareboat charter, and demise charter.

Under a voyage charter, the charterer charters the vessel and pays for its use for one or sometimes multiple voyages. On the other hand, time charters occur when the charterer charters the ship for a set period.

And for demise charters, the shipowner leases the ship to a charterer who provides the crew, as well as stores and bunkers, and pays for all the operating costs.

If you plan to charter a sea vessel in the UAE, you’d have to determine what type of charter to use.

#4. The Arrest of Sea Vessels

It is not uncommon for sea vessels to be arrested in the UAE Maritime field. And as a shipowner, it can be frustrating to have your business disrupted because your ship was arrested.

It is essential to note that irrespective of the applicable law governing the contract, the UAE courts can grant an arrest if an action occurs within the UAE.

A bank or cash guarantee to court is the only relief from an arrest in the UAE.

Contact Our Advocates & Legal Consultants (Lawyers UAE) to Help You Protect Your Maritime Business

At Our Law Firm in Dubai, we have expert Maritime Lawyers who are capable and eager to ensure that you carry out seamless maritime business in the UAE.

We have experience in different areas of maritime law, including:

  • Maritime collision accidents
  • Personal injury claims
  • Marine Insurance
  • Vessel detention
  • Vessel owner’s liability and claims
  • Potential risk insurance and marine insurance
  • Registration, documentation, and ownership of vessel
  • Bill of Lading disputes
  • Casualty
  • Cargo, Freight and dangerous substance transportation
  • Charter Party disputes
  • Crew wages
  • Maritime Insurance
  • Time bar of marine claims; among others

Our firm will provide focused, efficient, personal, and cost-effective representation in managing your litigation case. Our Advocates & Legal Consultants specialize as a maritime law firm in Dubai with experience in all facets of maritime law including trade law, shipping, shipbuilding, and offshore industries. We are a team of dedicated and experienced maritime attorneys from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who provide legal services to the shipping industry.

If you want more information about maritime shipping and trading in the UAE or want us to help you with your maritime matters, contact our law firm in Dubai.

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