Gateley team wins $118m payout for Bocimar against Dubai ship owner

A team of lawyers from the Dubai and Birmingham offices of Gateley has successfully advised Belgium-based, Bocimar International, on a dispute against Dubai-based ship owner, Emirates Trading Agency (ETA).

Bocimar is an Antwerp-based company that specialises in dry bulk shipping, and in 2007 Bocimar concluded two charter parties, with ETA as the charterer. The initial dispute, which was in relation to unpaid hire charges by ETA, had originally gone to arbitration and, in 2013, awards in the UK were made in Bocimar’s favour.

Following non-payment of the debt, Bocimar sought to enforce the arbitral awards through two commercial court judgments, intending to use the Dubai International Financial Centre Court in Dubai (DIFC).

Various arguments were put forward by ETA’s lawyers in seeking to delay the proceedings, and putting forward challenges to Bocimar’s case. In January 2016 the hearing was meant to commence in the DIFC but just days before the hearing ETA conceded a Consent Order, permitting enforcement of the commercial court judgements. Costs were agreed on the indemnity basis.

Having won the case in Dubai, Gateley made an ex parte request for a Freezing Order to prevent ETA moving its assets, in order to protect the $118m including an interest payment which is owed to Bocimar. The team was successful in its application, with the judge, Justice Sir John Chadwick, in the DIFC accepting its request to prevent ETA from dissipating its assets.