Five New Provisions in the Omani Maritime Law of 2023

As can be seen from our overview post of the new Omani Maritime Law, this law is massive and makes many changes to the way the maritime industry is governed. In this post, we will highlight five key changes introduced by this major legal instrument:

1. Relationship with International Law

Article 3 of the Maritime Law makes a reference to the relationship between domestic and international maritime law by stating not only that international law provisions are an integral part of the maritime legal framework in Oman, but it also states that in the case of conflict between the international and domestic provisions, the international provisions prevail. This is one of the most explicit references to the supremacy of international law over domestic law in Oman, it was not stated in the previous law, and it goes beyond the recognition of international agreements as having the mere power of law in Oman if ratified in accordance with article 93 of the Basic Statute of the State.

2. Governance of Shipbuilding

Chapter 5 of part 2 of the new law introduces for the first time in Oman a framework for governing shipbuilding, which can be seen as a signal by the Omani government of its intention to promote the development of the shipbuilding industry. One notable requirement established by this chapter is that the construction of the ship must be supervised by an international expert organisation.

3. Agents and Brokers

Part 5 of the new law introduces a framework for defining the responsibilities of ship agents, cargo agents, and freight forwarders that was not found in the old law. A noteworthy provision of this part is article 136 which stipulates that the law of the port where the transaction with these agents and brokers takes place is the one that applies to the transaction, unless the parties agree otherwise.

4. Tourist Transportation

Chapter 3 of part 6 of the new law goes beyond carriage of goods and carriage of persons, which are the types of carriage traditionally governed by maritime law, and treats tourist sea travel as a distinct form of maritime transportation that grants specific rights to commuters and passengers, and imposes specific obligations on tour operators.

5. Marine Wreck

The new law dedicates a whole chapter to marine wrecks as chapter 5 of part 7 provides detailed provisions for dealing with marine wrecks including the consequences that result from such events, and new stricter obligations on the shipowner or master to notify the maritime authority of the wreck immediately; and to recover, remove, or refloat the ship within 30 days from the date of sinking, stranding, or abandonment of the ship. This law provides for situations where this period may be reduced by the maritime authority.

The five provisions identified above are merely some of the new changes introduced by the Maritime Law, those working in the logistics and maritime industry need to review this law in full to understand the full scope of the changes.

You can read the law in full in English on the link below: