Charter in the new Maritime Navigation Law

Finally, last 24th of July and after more than 13 years of legislative works  – and different intents  – the final draft of the Maritime Navigation Act,

(Ley 14/2014, de 24 de julio, de Navegación Marítima) has been published after being approved by the Parliament.


This new Law will contribute to modernize the old applicable legislation from the nineteenth century included in our Commercial Code and to integrate in our legislation international treaties applicable to the different aspects of the Maritime and Admiralty Law. Since 1885 something has change in our seas and overseas but not our main Maritime and Admiralty legal corpus. In any case, the new scenario will bring considerable progress and improvements with the following matters in Public and Private L


  1. A more clear distinction and  definition of boat (“emabracación”) and vessel (“Buque)  depending LOA is over 24 m or less than that if the vessel has not  a long deck.

  2. The liabilities of all the agents involved in the maritime traffic

  3. A more detailed list of the different contract applicable to the maritime navigation, including for the first time  – and this is particularly important for our industry – the regulation contract of the hire of pleasure crafts  contrato de arrendamiento naútico” , that is charter,  and the contract for management “contrato de gestión naval”.

  4. Regulation of the conditions of ship building

  5. New regulation of the purchase and sale of vessels

  6. Improvement of the environmental protection of the sea ground and measures against maritime pollution and illegal immigration.

    One of the more relevant aspects is that for the very first time the Spanish legislation includes a regulation for the contract of  hire of pleasure crafts  contrato de arrendamiento naútico” , that is, the  typical charter contract,  as a specific and autonomous legal figure. Up to now agents, brokers and customers used any of the international standard charter model contracts (like for example the MYBA) that in several occasions did not match our Spanish legislation on rentals of goods.  The Law clarifies the most important aspects of the nautical charter such as the possibility of bare boat or charter with crew – specifying in each cases the rights and obligations of the parties –, the obligations of third parties insurance, the obligation to declare damages by the charterer, the consequences of the delay in the delivery, and the prescriptions of the actions. Due to its importance we will come back to these matters in following articles.

    The Law  will enter in force two months after its publication on the 24th of September 2014.


    Carlos Espinosa

    Abogado / Lawyer



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