Maritime Disputes: Terminal Operators Back Alternative Dispute Resolution Method

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By Nosa Alekhuogie

The Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup has okayed the use of arbitration, mediation and other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in settling commercial disputes in the maritime industry.

Speaking when she received the Executive Council members of the Maritime Arbitrators Association of Nigeria (MAAN) who paid her a courtesy visited on Wednesday, Haastrup expressed optimism that resolving maritime industry disputes through ADR will be much faster and less acrimonious than litigation.

“I am happy that we have competent persons who can handle arbitration in Nigeria. I will encourage the use of arbitration as much as possible because it has significant advantages over litigation in court, such as party control of the process, typically lower cost and shorter time to resolution, flexibility and privacy,” she said.

MAAN President, Dr. Omogbai Omoeboh, who led the delegation on the courtesy visit, said MAAN was motivated by the strong desire to provide effective and cost efficient alternatives for dispute resolution of maritime disputes in Nigeria through arbitration proceedings and other ADR methods.

He said the association was organised to gather members ready, willing and able to serve as arbitrators of disputes arising in businesses involving all aspects of maritime, energy and related activities.

“MAAN was conceived by practitioners that have attained distinction and expertise in arbitration and maritime law in Nigeria. Following its conception and incorporation in 2005, its executive council has acted as a steering body for the establishment of the associations’ ethos and structures.

“The council is committed to ensuring that MAAN maintains internationally accepted standards and best practices with local expertise.

“MAAN is borne out of the essential need to offer Nigeria as an alternative resource and venue following recent developments in the industry and the growing cost of arbitration in foreign countries and the pressure on the litigation system to deliver timely solutions.

“It is a membership organisation open to industry practitioners; service providers; consumers of arbitration services and all stakeholders at large,” he said.

Omoeboh also said the group aims to become a worldwide recognised leader in commercial maritime dispute resolution by supporting and facilitating domestic and international arbitration and promoting Nigeria as a venue for the settlement of maritime disputes through arbitration and ADR.

Other members of the MAAN Executive Council who visited the STOAN Chairman include Sir Osuola Nwagbara, Mrs. Tosan Edodo-Emoren and Mrs. Ozien Okereke while the STOAN team which received them include the Chairman, Princess (Dr.) Vicky Haastrup; the Secretary, Barrister Uzamot Boye; Executive Director of ENL Conortium, Mr. Mark Walsh and STOAN Spokesman, Mr. Bolaji Akinola.