10 Most Common Maritime Law Mistakes in UAE
When Do You Need a Maritime Lawyer?
Maritime Cargo Claims In The UAE
The UAE maritime business sector is one of the areas that has allowed for economic diversification. This, in turn, has led to the economic growth of the UAE. As such, the UAE maritime business has quickly become a massive industry over time.
The UAE has a total of 12 ports aside from oil ports. And according to the World Shipping Council, two of UAE’s ports are among the world’s top 50 container ports, with Dubai in the top 10.
Furthermore, 61% of cargo heading to the Gulf Cooperation Council arrives firstly at the UAE’s seaport. This goes on to show how the seaport business sector is thriving in the UAE.
The growing port industry is likely to lead to a rise in legal issues relating to it. Legal matters such as maritime accidents, maritime claims, cargo loss may occur. And for all these legal issues, different laws act as guidelines in resolving them. These laws are known as maritime laws.
Let’s first dive into what maritime law is all about before considering the common mistakes regarding maritime laws.
What is Maritime Law?
Maritime law, also referred to as admiralty law, is a body of laws, treaties, and conventions that govern private maritime matters and other nautical business like shipping or offenses that occur on open water.
In the international scene, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has prescribed several rules that the navies and coast guards of different countries can enforce. Countries that have signed a treaty with IMO may adopt these rules into their admiralty laws.
Generally, maritime laws fashioned after the IMO rules govern the following:
- Insurance claims relating to ships and cargo
- Civil issues involving shipowners, passengers, and seamen
- Registration and license
- Inspection procedures for ships
- Shipping contracts
- Maritime insurance
- Transportation of goods and passengers
One of the primary duties of the IMO is to ensure that existing international maritime conventions are up to date. They also make it a point of duty to develop new agreements with other countries when there is a need.
As of today, numerous conventions are governing different aspects of maritime commerce and transport. Among these conventions, IMO has mentioned three as their core conventions. These conventions are:
- The international convention safeguarding life while at sea
- The convention prohibiting pollution from ships
- The convention that deals with the aspect of training, certification, and watchkeeping for sailors
The governments of the organization’s member countries are responsible for enacting the convention prescribed by the IMO in their countries. These governments go on to set penalties for the infringement of the conventions.
The UAE laws adopt most features of the modern international maritime conventions. These maritime laws apply to all the Emirates in the UAE.
The UAE has a well developed maritimes law, with a number of regulations in place, which is quite different from the rest of the region. However, there are still some areas of ambiguity in the field, which may lead to some disputes, and mistakes in maritime contracts. The UAE maritime law falls under the UAE Federal law written in No. 26 of 1981. This section of the law specifies the regulation guiding the shipping activities in the UAE. This law was amended in the year 1988 to cover a broader range of topics.
UAE Maritime Claims
Of the UAE’s maritime laws, maritime claims are frequently the area of attention. Under maritime law, certain incidents can lead to different claims. These incidents have been specified in the UAE maritime law.
The maritime laws can be technical. That is why it is important to contact a maritime lawyer when involved in an accident on a vessel. These accidents could be the collision of vessels or personal injury while on a vessel.
It is important to note that the UAE maritime law sets a time limit on different types of claims. These are the timeframe for various claims in the UAE:
- A claim concerning personal injury resulting from negligence by the vessel owner must be filed within three years.
- The catheter party can file a claim against the vessel owner for damage to their cargo. They must, however, do this within 90 days.
- For collision of vessels, an individual must file a claim within two years.
- The time limit for a marine insurance claim is two years.
- Two years for claims relating to death or Personal Injury.
- An individual must file a claim within six months for delays in cargo delivery as specified in the contract of agreement between the individual and vessel owner.
The majority of these claims depend on the contract of agreement between an individual and a vessel owner. This, to a large extent, will determine if the individual can file a claim or not. This is another reason why a maritime lawyer is important in any admiralty dealings.
Common Mistakes Injured Mariners Make
When filing a claim for personal injuries sustained on a vessel, there are certain common mistakes.
#1. Overstating the claim
Some persons fail to give an accurate account of how the accidents happened. Sometimes they exaggerate the events that led to the injury. Doing this can negatively affect a compensation claim.
#2. Being overconfident that the judge or jury will give them all they deserve
Sometimes the judge or jury might not be fully convinced by the testimony an individual renders. That is why you must get an expert maritime lawyer to help you fight for what you deserve. The admiralty lawyer will help you state your case convincingly.
#3. Trusting the wrong person
Most injured mariners tend to trust vessel owners who approach them not to seek legal counsel. The vessel owner may have promised to pay a certain amount to the wounded mariners every month.
Before accepting such deals, it is best to seek legal counsel. This is because the owner may be proposing an amount that is less than is due. And when they’re not, they are not legally bound to keep the promise.
#4. Handling a claim on their own
A person who does not have the required legal expertise should seek legal assistance. Filing a claim without the necessary skill and experience can lead to various errors. This can, in turn, cause a dent in receiving due compensation.
#5. Not filing a claim when appropriate
There are different time frames for filing claims. The Court will throw out any claim that is not filed within the stipulated timeframe. As such, it is best to contact a maritime lawyer immediately after the incident in question.
#6. Failing to seek compensation
When a person is involved in a marine accident, it is within their right to seek compensation. So a person should ask for compensation regarding any inconvenience the individual has faced.
#7. Accepting to be under-compensated
When a person files a claim, the insurance company might want to bully them into accepting their offer. However, with proper legal representation, the insurance company strategy will fail. The maritime lawyer will put in great effort to ensure that the insurance company adequately compensates the victim.
#8. Asking for too much
When filing a claim, a person needs to be realistic. They have to seek compensation that matches the injury sustained. Most times, the compensation the insurance company offers is to cover the person’s medical expenses. A maritime lawyer can help you calculate the damages you deserve. That way, you won’t be demanding too much or too little.
#9. Signing documents too early
After an injury on a vessel, an individual might receive visitors from the insurance company trying to get them to sign an agreement. The individual must desist from signing any agreement without legal advice from their maritime lawyer.
#10. Accepting blame
After an injury, a person must avoid admitting to any fault, even when they feel like they may be at fault. The best thing to do is contact a maritime lawyer and relate the entire incident to them.
Contact an Expert UAE Maritime Lawyer
The United Arab Emirates is one of the few countries in the GCC with a comprehensive and modern maritime law system in place. However, the UAE still has a number of deficiencies in its maritime legislation and in its overall maritime regulatory framework.
When it comes to hiring a UAE maritime lawyer, you need someone familiar with the in and out of maritime law. Maritime laws can be technical as there are several procedures and guidelines regarding maritime activities. These activities can include filing a maritime claim, signing a contract, registering a vessel, chartering a vessel e.t.c.
Amal Khamis Advocates & Legal Consultants are leading UAE maritime law advocates. We provide legal advice and assistance in maritime disputes arising from maritime contracts, carriage of goods, and chartering. Our clients are based in UAE and across the Middle East. We can help you win your case and get the compensation you deserve.
At Amal Khamis Advocates & Legal Consultants, we have lawyers with vast knowledge and experience in maritime laws. We pay utmost attention to our clients and try to work with them to protect their rights and interests. Contact us today to seek legal aid as regards maritime matters.