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Mandatory coverage

What maritime risks must be covered under the law and what is the mandatory level of coverage?

In order to be accepted in the major UAE ports, a vessel must have hull and machinery and protection and indemnity insurance cover. The level of coverage is not mandated and is subject to the ports’ discretion.

Insurable risks and ships

What other risks are typically covered by marine insurance contracts concluded in your jurisdiction and what ships are insurable?

      Freight, demurrage and defence insurance is also available.

Subrogation rights

What is the legal regime governing marine insurers’ subrogation rights?

The subrogation of claims is regulated by Article 1030 of the Civil Transactions Law. The insurer may be subrogated into the insured’s rights to the extent that the insurer has paid compensation to the insured, unless the person responsible for the damage is an ascendant or descendant, a spouse, living with the insured under one roof or a person for whom the insured is responsible.

Marine accidents

Collision and pollution

What rules and procedures (under both domestic and international law) apply to the prevention of, liability for and remedy of:

(a) Collision?

Collisions are regulated by Articles 318 to 326 of the Commercial Maritime Law. The rules are similar to those of the Collision Convention 1910.  The United Arab Emirates has also acceded to the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972.

(b) Oil pollution?

In 1997 the United Arab Emirates ratified the 1992 Protocol to the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage 1969 and the 1992 Protocol to the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage 1971.

(c) Other environmental damage caused by a ship?

The marine environment is protected by the Federal Law on the Protection and Development of the Environment (24/1999). All vessels entering UAE marine zones must have a valid International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate and must maintain a statement mentioning the date and location where sludge has been unloaded. Whoever damages the marine environment negligently or wilfully in breach of Law 24/1999 is responsible for the costs of treatment or removal of the damages and any resulting consequences. A breach of Law 24/1999 may result in fines up to Dh500,000 and up to five years’ imprisonment. 

The United Arab Emirates is also party to Annexes I to V of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships.   


What is the legal regime governing salvage and general average?

The United Arab Emirates ratified the International Convention on Salvage 1989 in 1993. Salvage is also regulated by Articles 327 to 339 of the Commercial Maritime Law. Under Article 8 of the Commercial Maritime Law, the International Convention on Salvage 1989 prevails where the two regimes conflict. The right to remuneration for a successful salvage is not subject to a contractual agreement. No remuneration is payable for usual towage or pilotage or saving persons. Further, there is no entitlement to remuneration if the saved vessel prohibited assistance with reasonable cause. The amount of remuneration is determined by the competent court, if not agreed by the parties.

Wreck removal

What rules and procedures apply to the removal of wrecks in your jurisdiction?

The United Arab Emirates is not party to the Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention 2007 and the removal of wrecks is not expressly regulated by UAE law.

Under what circumstances can the authorities order removal of wreckage?

There is no regulation in place for the removal of wrecks, but the authorities will likely be granted wide-reaching powers to order the removal of wrecks.

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