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The Dominican Republic has a new Maritime and Commercial Law

After 10 years of revisions, on January 19th, 2023, the government of the Dominican Republic finally approved the Maritime Commercial Law (Law No.5-23).

E&M International Consulting is honored to have played a vital role in the preparation of this law, thanks to our President, Lludelis Espinal (Judy) who was appointed by the National Congress and the National Authority of Maritime Affairs (ANAMAR) on June 6th, 2013, to review a document prepared by experts appointed by the International Maritime Organization, which was originally made to be used by the Central America countries to modernize their maritime legislations.

Mrs. Espinal, reviewed, amended and actualized said document preparing a bill based on the most modern international maritime conventions following national legal system.

It is important to note that during the process of discussion and review of the bill at the National Congress, wherein public and private sectors presented their opinions and suggestions, staff members of our firm especially Mr. Esteban Mejía, Attorney at Law, along with the Tito Mella Foundation, under the Presidency of Mr. Vinicio Mella contributed valuable inputs to the document.

This Law brings new aspects and updates for the Dominican legislation, such as:

1.- To regulate within the territory of the Dominican Republic, the events and legal relations of the national and foreign ships, as well as those arising from transportation and other maritime activities.

2.- The Maritime Registry, wherein the ships are record including all activities regarding to the same. This institution is under the control of the Dominican Navy, which was designated as the Maritime Authority.

3.- The maritime liens and mortgages, maritime and privileged credits are updated, including a new Registry of Admission and Registration of Naval Mortgages under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and MSMEs.

4.- The arrest of ships and all actions to protect maritime credits are actualized according to international conventions.

5.- The law contemplates a chapter on the parties involved in the navigation: shipowners, charterers, master and crew members, including their functions and faculties.

6.- This legislation also deals with the auxiliary entities of navigation and their attributions: pilotage, towage and ship agents.

7.- The maritime contracts, such as: the bareboat charter, the time charter, the voyage charter; the transport of goods under bill of lading; the passengers transport contract, multimodal transport; the towing contract, among others.

8.- It is important to mention, that even though the Dominican Republic is signatory of the Hamburg Rules, the transport of goods was modernized using relevant aspects of the Rotterdam Rules, including the electronic bill of lading.

9.- The Dominican Republic did not have a proper legislation about maritime insurance; therefore, this law includes a whole new chapter related to hall and machinery insurance, cargo insurance, freight insurance and protection and indemnity insurance.

10.- The allision and collision of vessels, abandonment of vessels, shipwreck, assistance and salvage are fully regulated in this law.

11.- The general average based on the principles of York & Antwerp Rules are also regulated under this new law.

12.- The exemptions and limitations of liability, according to International Conventions, but adapted to local legal system were also incorporated to this new legislation.

Indeed, it is a great accomplishment for our country by modifying a law issued two hundred years ago and trust that its implementation will improve the shipping industry of the Dominican Republic and the international community.

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