Sunday, September 21, 2014

Dubai Arbitration Centre Set Up to Rule on Maritime Disputes

Bid to Make Emirate Acceptable to More Vessel Owners
Shipping News Feature

UAE – A new maritime arbitration centre has been set up in Dubai, the first of its kind in the Middle East region. The Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre (EMAC) is aimed at addressing and resolving maritime disputes via deliberations based on legal frameworks and set maritime regulatory guidelines and standards. The launch of the new initiative represents the Dubai Maritime City Authority’s (DMCA) commitment to develop and establish an integrated legal environment for the maritime sector that also falls in line with the objectives set forth by the Dubai Maritime Sector Strategy (DMSS), which aims to position the emirate as a world-class maritime hub.

Once completed, the centre will immediately start trying to resolve disputes arising in the Middle East, with an objective to expand in other parts of the region. Following its launch, the DMCA will draft the necessary organisational items such as contracts and documentation on disputes related to cargo transfer between vessels, refuelling, load dividing and other kinds of legalities which require arbitration within Dubai's territorial waters.

The EMAC could be of great importance in the authority’s efforts in modernising and developing the Dubai maritime community since arbitration so often proves an essential component of the global industry. The EMAC is also expected to play a key role in the worldwide maritime network while also bolstering international shipping development in the emirate. H.E. Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, President of DMCA, said:

“The new initiative, which serves as a fundamental pillar in Dubai's legal maritime system, is also expected to help raise investor trust and confidence across the local maritime segment. The presence of a maritime-based arbitration panel will also play a major role in attracting more ship owners to Dubai, which can lead to enhanced integration, coordination and harmonisation of its vital economic sectors like maritime insurance, national courts, aviation, hospitality, banking, financial sectors, the public and private judicial systems and other sectors.”

The DMCA insists that the EMAC workings will be based on recognised legal systems that will ensure absolute freedom in choosing litigation laws and various arbitration mechanisms using the highest standards of confidentiality and to maximum effect, in addition to providing a wide range of legal options to resolve disputes relating to various maritime commercial operations in the emirate. Amer Ali, Executive Director, DMCA, said:

“Dubai’s maritime community has long expressed a growing need to attract and recruit more ship owners into the emirate, since they will represent the basic foundation of a successful maritime industry. Looking to address this challenge, the DMCA has established EMAC, a first-of-its-kind centre in the region that aims to resolve maritime disputes quickly.

“The most common disputes would include affreightment, cargo shipping, shipbuilding and repair contracts, in addition to used ships sale contracts, assurance and reinsurance contracts, marine collisions and other disputes related to marine loss adjusting, maritime assistance and rescue. This new initiative is expected to strengthen investor and stakeholder trust in Dubai's maritime system, which at the same time will raise the competitiveness of the local maritime industry.”