The New Maritime Law is about to be endorsed. These are very
exciting times for the Al Tamimi Maritime, Aviation & Insurance
lawyers and indeed, many others, who have been involved with
amendments to the law.
When this law is endorsed and published, the UAE shipping and
associated industries will be sailing toward new, unlimited
The change starts with the name, where, as you will have noticed, I
referred to the law as the "Maritime Law" instead of the
original "Commercial Maritime Law". There are a number of
major amendments to the new law, which include, but are not limited
Allowing complete non-UAE ownership for vessels registered in
Extending the State's authority to fight drug and human
trafficking occurring in foreign vessels with UAE territorial
Regulating the registration and licensing of pleasure and
fishing boats under 10 tons.
Foreign Vessel operation within UAE special Economic
Reducing the quantum required to approve vessel mortgages from
75% to 50%.
Widening port local authority to detain vessel departure.
Extending latent defect time bar to include vessel repair as in
Identifying the debt resulting from vessel sale as a marine
debt enabling creditors to arrest the vessel against such debt
however; restricting the arrest right only on the vessel itself and
not including sister vessels.
Widening the range of marine debts acceptable to arrest a
Deleting the 24 hours execution requirement between notifying
the debtor to pay and vessel auction.
Reducing the vessel auction sessions into one with a
possibility of extending to another hearing instead of three. Also,
the new law will require the awarded party to deposit 1/3 of the
price and expenses immediately after the award and to deposit the
rest within 3 days. Currently, the existing law requires full
payment the next after the award.
Including a new clause regarding vessel repair where the
shipper/charterer will have the choice to either wait until the
repairs are completed or to discharge the cargo and re-ship onto
Including a new section regulating Marine Agents work and
Adding a new time bar clause regarding bareboat-chartered
The proposed amendments to the law are all substantial and
important, however, the amendment, which is of particular interest
to me, relates to permitting full non-UAE vessel ownership and the
authorization to establish an open vessel registry.
Although, we still believe the term "open registry" may
not be the most suitable term to describe the UAE ambitions in this
regard, we are sure that with the UAE distinguished shipping
expertise and infrastructure, this will gradually establish the UAE
as a recognized regional and international registry. Furthermore
this amendment paves the way for large UAE fleets under other
international registered flags to return to where they belong. Such
registry procedures will become a beacon, signaling all vessel
owners in the region to register their vessels in the first Class A
registry in this part of the world.
We know and recognise there is a long road ahead, yet we remain
optimistic. There is a need to amend some other associated laws and
regulations. There is also a need for upgrade and standardization
across many fields and areas within the shipping industry. There is
an unresolved amount of determination and resolution necessary to
ensure these requirements are met.
Nonetheless, the new Maritime Law is definitely a huge step in the
right direction. In a country capable and used to reducing storms
to wind in a teacup, we are all confident the UAE will eventually
claim its rightful position as an international registry.
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It is a criminal offence to leave the scene of an accident,
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