The relevance of Alternative Dispute Resolution(ADR) in managing trade disputes have been highlighted by the Maritime Arbitrators Association of Nigeria (MAAN).
In a statement on Friday, the President of MAAN, Bodunrin Adewole spotlighted the importance of ADR in the promotion and sustainability of effective and efficient business relationships between stakeholders, port users, cargo owners as well as ship owners in the Nigerian maritime sector.
Mr Adewole also restated the commitment of MAAN to the promotion and sustainability of international best practices in maritime arbitration and ADR through the creation and establishment of an International Maritime Arbitration and Dispute Resolution Centre in Lagos.
The MAAN President stressed that rather than resorting to litigation, stakeholders and port users should embrace ADR in settling disputes in trade contracts between themselves, publics and with the federal government.
He also urged parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Transportation especially; Nigerian Shippers Council, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMAS) and Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) to also apply ADR in their agreements, adding that ADR is a much cheaper and faster way of dispute resolutions.
The MAAN President noted that the establishment of the International Arbitration Center would further promote Nigeria as an attractive venue for settlement of maritime disputes through arbitration and ADR in West Africa.
It is expected that when put in place, the International Arbitration Center would actually benefit the Federal Ministry of Transportation with all it’s existing contacts especially as it concerns sputes arising from execution of contracts.
MAAN was founded in Nigeria in 2005 as a professional organisation to provide cost-efficient resolution of maritime disputes in Nigeria through arbitration, mediation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) without resorting to litigation in the courts as a first port of call.
The Association held its 11th Practical Maritime Dispute Resolution Seminar in May 2022, which was well attended by members of the Association and representatives of the collaborating stakeholders in the maritime sector namely – Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Nigerian Shippers Council.
The garden reception after the seminar
The Theme for the seminar was; ‘’ADR to the Rescue, Effective and Efficient Business Modes in the Maritime Eco Space.’’
In his welcome address at the seminar, Mr Adewole informed participants that the topics in this year’s seminar focuses mainly on the recent developments in the operational activities of the collaborating stakeholders.
He also informed participants that MAAN and its collaborating stakeholders are committed to the promotion and sustainability of international best practices in maritime arbitration and ADR through the creation and establishment of an International Maritime Arbitration and Dispute Resolution Centre in Lagos.
During the one-day practical dispute resolution seminar, presentations were made by various resource persons.
The Founding President of the Association, Mrs Adedoyin Rhodes-Vivour SAN C.Arb, started off the proceedings with a paper titled ‘’Maritime Dispute Resolution Agreements: A driver to speedy resolution.”
Thereafter, Mr Nnorom Emmanuel, a resource person from the Nigerian Ports Authority presented a paper titled ‘’Automation at our Seaports: Sustainability and the way forward.”
Both presentations were followed by a question and answer session during which the Speakers fielded questions and comments from the actively engaged participants.
After the session, a presentation was made by Mrs Lillian N King-Chibuzor on behalf of the Nigerian Shippers Council titled ‘’Embracing ADR Agreements in Contracts between Stakeholders in the Maritime Eco Space.’’
Thereafter, presentations were rounded off with a paper by Mrs Nneka Obianyor, the Registrar of Ships at NIMASA, titled ‘’The role of NIMASA on the creation and establishment of a Maritime Arbitration and Dispute Resolution Centre in Nigeria.”
Speaking on the institutional framework for maritime arbitration and dispute resolution centre, Obianyor recalled that in the past, the absence of formal arbitral institutions was identified as one of the reasons why Nigeria was not considered as a viable centre for international commercial arbitration.
She, however, acknowledged that this is no longer the case “Since we now have a number of reputable bodies such as Maritime Arbitration Association of Nigeria (MAAN) that have a well structured practice direction for ADR”
Vice President of the Association, Mrs Jean Chiazor Anishere SAN, FCIArb gave the concluding remarks and vote of thanks on behalf of the Advisory Board, Executive Council and Members of the Association.
“Since its inception in 2005, MAAN in collaboration with various stakeholders in the maritime industry in Nigeria, has led the drive to promote the resolution of maritime disputes through arbitration, mediation and all other ADR mechanisms and the Association is set to undertake more programmes and initiatives in the coming years”
“MAAN, in collaboration with the major stakeholders in the maritime sector, is committed to the creation and establishment of a Maritime Arbitration and Dispute Resolution Centre in Nigeria” the press statement read.