The UAE’s Federal National Council has passed an amendment to an existing maritime law that allows 100 per cent foreign ownership of ships in the country.

The law will come in to effect once Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, president of the UAE, signs the amendment.

In 2010, a study carried out by the UAE’s National Transport Authority found that there were about 228 ship owners in the UAE. They controlled 978 ships that had a combined deadweight of 11.4 million tonnes.

The amendment will now allow foreign ships to register in the UAE and upgrades the current legislation on foreign ownership and mortgage registration in an attempt to modernise the ship registry.

The law will now allow ships that are 100 per cent foreign-owned to fly the UAE flag.