Arbitration of maritime disputes is cost-effective, says association

Dr Omogbai Omo-Eboh, President, MAAN

The Maritime Arbitrators Association of Nigeria (MAAN) says arbitration of maritime disputes is cost-effective for ensuring speedy resolution of disputes.

The President of the association, Dr Omogbai Omo-Eboh, who spoke in an interview in Lagos, said: ``arbitration does not come cheap as people may think.’’

Omo-Eboh said people still thought that they need not pay for arbitration and attributed it to lack of awareness.

 ``The other challenge we face is that even for those who come for our services, arbitration is not cheap. I must make that clear to you.

``You have to pay for the services of the arbitrator and you pay commercial rates unlike when you go to the courts.

``So, arbitration is not cheap and once you advise parties about the costs involved, they tend to shy away. But you see, you must look at the benefits.

``In as much as arbitration is not cheap, I will tell you that it’s cost-effective and is cost-efficient, in terms of the fact that you get a speedy resolution.

``And in addition to that, an expert in that field who understands the issues at stake in and out is the judge who resolves that dispute for you.’’

According to Omo-Eboh, arbitration helps to sustain business relationship of the parties involved after the dispute is resolved, as they can continue doing business with one another.

He said another major challenge was the place of arbitration, which was mostly determined by the ship owners involved in the disputes.

Omo-Eboh, who is also a maritime lawyer, said that since the ship owners were foreigners, arbitration usually took place in such foreign arbitration forum, which might cost more.