Bahrain’s new maritime law to attract shipping

“Bahrain does not have many vessels registered under its name, but with the advanced law setting out clear rights, we are trying to attract more,” Ahmed said.

“We are not China, America or Europe with strong fleets of commercial ships, but we have to work to get more.”

Every ship in the world has foreign employees, and it’s the same here.

“The contracts of foreign workers are governed by the labor ministries of their country of origin and depend on the signed employment contracts.

“But in case of local hiring, we take care of it. The minister said it would be illogical to challenge all cases in Bahrain as it would disrupt work and create chaos.

“Imagine that for every Emirati ship scattered around the world, they would have to go to Dubai to resolve disputes; what would happen to operations? »

The Shura Council yesterday approved 275 of the 392 articles of the new maritime law, including 91 articles adopted two weeks ago.

Only three articles – on overseas employment, litigation and court involvement – ​​have been referred to the Public Utilities and Environmental Affairs Committee for further clarification.

The new legislation has been described as the second largest law in Bahrain’s legislative history, after the 1976 Penal Code which consists of 418 articles.

Under the new law, once approved, stowaways on a Bahrain-registered ship could be imprisoned for up to three months, or fined BD 2,000, or both.

Those who assisted stowaways would face the same penalty.

The captain is responsible for informing the Directorate of Ships and Ship Registration and Maritime Affairs of the Ministry and the consulate of the person concerned.

If the stowaway is stateless, the nearest country must be informed.

The shipowner has the right to immediately terminate the contracts of the crew members concerned.

Any unauthorized or prohibited entry on board without permission while docking in Bahrain will be subject to a fine of between BD 1,000 and BD 10,000.

Refusal to leave will also incur the same penalty.

If such incidents occur in a foreign port, the local authorities should be informed.

The new law imposes, among other things, harsh prison sentences and heavy fines for offenses involving illegal activities at sea, causing pollution and transporting unlicensed goods.

Under the articles approved yesterday, seafarers on ships registered in Bahrain will have clear rights to work, injury or death.

Management would set all the rules, ensuring proper employment, monthly salaries, a safe working environment and job security.

The management would also ensure that clean accommodation, food and drink is provided for the crew on board and at any port or destination.

No sailor will be allowed on board without medical clearance.

The owner is responsible for all contracts, even those concluded by the captain during navigation.

Other approved articles deal with the transport of passengers, animals and goods.

Mayas Al Moataz, director of ships in the ministry and ship registration and seafarers’ affairs, cleared the doubts of Shura members on some articles.

Under the law, captains who fail to report pollution caused by their ships will also be fined BD 1,000 to BD 3,000, and captains whose ships carry unauthorized nuclear waste will be fined. from 50,000 BD to 100,000 BD.

Entry into or exit from a port without a license by vessels is also subject to fines ranging from BD 10,000 to BD 100,000, while failure to provide information or present false data will be punished by fines between 300 BD and 1000 BD.

The same fine will be applicable to captains who refuse the boarding of authorized personnel and to those who refuse the inspection.

Among the hundreds of penalties that regulate the sector is also a fine of up to BD 1,000 for transporting containers without a license.

The law covers vessels weighing 150 tonnes or more, with those over 20 years old not permitted to operate, except by exception made by the relevant minister.

The same goes for ships that were less than 30 years old before being banned from [email protected]

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