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New Maritime Law in the UAE

By Bashir Ahmed, Mevan Bandara and Nazim Hashim

The UAE issued a new Maritime Law this week. The new Maritime Law, Federal Decree-Law No 43 of 2023 will come into force six months from publication and will repeal the 1981 Maritime Law.


As expected, the new Maritime Law significantly improves the maritime landscape in the UAE, and will no doubt seal the UAE as a shipping-hub in the region.


On the precautionary arrest of a vessel front, the new law requires the applicant seeking an arrest of the vessel to provide security to cover the expenses of the crew, and to maintain the vessel. The new law also appears to have broadened the definition of a “maritime debt” to include claims arising out of damage caused by the vessel to the environment and coastline, wreckage removal and port fees. Arrest of a sister vessel is also permitted, provided that the sister vessel was owned by the debtor at the time of submitting the application for arrest. This is a departure from the position under the 1981 law which permitted the arrest of a sister vessel if the sister vessel was owned by the debtor at the time the debt arose.


The Afridi & Angell maritime team is closely reviewing the new law and will continue to provide further updates. ■

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