The UAE (United Arab Emirates) Maritime Code
Abu Dhabi – Dubai – Sharjah – Ajman – Fujairah – Ras Alkhaimah
WHAT IS THE LAW AND REGULATION GOVERNING SHIPPING PRACTICE IN THE UAE?
The UAE Federal Law No. 26 of 1981 as amended in 1988 (known as the UAE “Maritime Code”)
governs and regulates all shipping practices in the UAE. The law has a number of sections, and deals with many
issues of UAE maritime law, including:
i. Registration of the vessel;
ii. The vessel’s documents;
iii. Ownership of the vessel;
iv. The right to lien on the vessel’s cargo;
v. Mortgage of vessels;
vi. Arrest of vessels;
vii. Identity of the carrier;
viii. The Master of the vessel;
x. Chartering of vessels;
xi. Contracts of affreightment and carriage of goods
xii. Carriage of people;
xiii. Towage and pilotage of vessels;
xiv. Collisions involving vessels;
xv. Salvage involving vessels;
xvi. General average;
xvii. Marine insurance; and
xviii. Time bar of marine claims.
The law is applicable to all the emirates of the United Arab Emirates. The law is based on modern
international ‘law and maritime principles set out in International Conventions. It is also very similar to the maritime laws of the other Arabian Gulf Co-operation Council (“GCC”) States (other than Saudi Arabia).
In addition to the Maritime Code, there are several relevant Ministerial Decrees or local laws regulating
registration of vessels, crewing, classification of vessels, restrictions with regards to activities undertaken by foreign flag vessels and other activities in port according to the relevant Port Ordinances applicable in the individual emirates.
IS THE UAE A MEMBER OF ANY INTERNATIONAL MARITIME TREATIES OR CONVENTIONS?
The UAE has not yet signed all the major International Maritime Conventions, although the UAE has adhered to
the following international Treaties and Conventions:
i IMO Amendments 93
ii SOLAS Convention 74
iii SOLAS Protocol 78
iv LOAD LINES Convention 66
v TOMMAGE Convention 69
vi COLREG Convention 72
vii STCW Convention 78
viii SAR Convention 79
ix IMMARSAT Convention 76
x IMMARSAT OA 76
xi LC Convention 72
xii INTERVENTION Convention 69
xiii CLC Convention 69
xiv CLC Protocol 76
xv CLC Protocol 92
xvi FUND Convention 71
xvii FUND Protocol 92
xviii LLMC Convention 76
xix SALVAGE Convention 69
Approval of Kuwait Regional Agreement for cooperation and marine environment protection of pollution.
Ratification of the UAE joining Maritime Organisation of Universal Consultants.
WOULD IT BE POSSIBLE FOR NON UAE NATIONALS TO OWN A UAE FLAGGED VESSEL?
It is not possible to register a vessel in the UAE unless it is 100% owned by a UAE national or a company at least
51% owned by UAE nationals, provided always that the manager of the company is a UAE national. The UAE
does not allow foreign owners of vessels to register their vessels in the UAE. If a UAE vessel is sold to a foreign
entity, the UAE registration must cancelled.
AL TAMIMI & COMPANY WEBSITES
Please visit the following websites for in-depth information on the UAE law: