Ship Arrest Procedure in the UAE

Photo provided by Al Tamimi & Company

The UAE has amended legislation dealing with ship arrests. Parties looking to enforce maritime debts in the UAE are advised to take note of the new procedures, which are now effective.

Cabinet Decision no. 57 of 2018 regarding the Executive Regulation of the UAE Civil Procedure Law No. 11 of 1992 (the “Cabinet Decision”) amends the arrest procedures.

The position before enactment of the Cabinet Decision was as follows. A claimant was required to file its substantive claim (i.e. dealing with the merits of the claim) no later than eight days after the vessel was actually arrested. The substantive claim needed to also be accompanied by a request confirming the arrest. A claimant was not permitted to file the substantive claim until the vessel was arrested.

Following enactment of the Cabinet Decision – the eight day time limit to file the substantive claim stills applies, except it commences from when the decision to arrest is granted. Further, a claimant is no longer required to seek confirmation of the arrest.

The effect of the Cabinet Decision is that a claimant is no longer required to wait for the arrest order to be issued before filing a substantive claim – it may do so as soon the application is granted. Considering arrests may take several days to be effected – the new position stands to save precious time for claimants at the start of the litigation.

(Please note the term “arrest” is used colloquially, whilst the legislation refers to a precautionary attachment of the vessel.)

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