Merchant Shipping Act 1894

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1894 c. 60

Merchant Shipping Act, 1894

(57 & 58 Vict.) CHAPTER 60.

An Act to consolidate Enactments relating to Merchant Shipping.

[25th August 1894]

B e it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

I Registry .


Registry .

Qualification for owning British Ships.

Qualification for owning British Ships.

S-1 Qualification for owning British ship.

1 Qualification for owning British ship.

A ship shall not be deemed to be a British ship unless owned wholly by persons of the following description (in this Act referred to as persons qualified to be owners of British ships); namely,—

a. ) Natural-born British subjects
b. ) Persons naturalized by or in pursuance of an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom, or by or in pursuance of an Act or ordinance of the proper legislative authority in a British possession
c. ) Persons made denizens by letters of denization; and
d. ) Bodies corporate established under and subject to the laws of some part of Her Majesty's dominions, and having their principal place of business in those dominions

Provided that any person who either—

(i) being a natural-born British subject has taken the oath of allegiance to a foreign sovereign or state or has otherwise become a citizen or subject of a foreign state; or

(ii) has been naturalized or made a denizen as aforesaid;

shall not be qualified to be owner of a British ship unless, after taking the said oath, or becoming a citizen or subject of a foreign state, or on or after being naturalized or made denizen as aforesaid, he has taken the oath of allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen, and is during the time he is owner of the ship either resident in Her Majesty's dominions, or partner in a firm actually carrying on business in Her Majesty's dominions.

Obligation to register British Ships.

Obligation to register British Ships.

S-2 Obligation to register British ships.

2 Obligation to register British ships.

(1)—(1.) Every British ship shall, unless exempted from registry, be registered under this Act.

(2) (2.) If a ship required by this Act to be registered is not registered under this Act she shall not be recognised as a British ship.

(3) (3.) A ship required by this Act to be registered may be detained until the master of the ship, if so required, produces the certificate of the registry of the ship.

S-3 Exemptions from registry.

3 Exemptions from registry.

The following ships are exempted from registry under this Act:—

(1) (1.) Ships not exceeding fifteen tons burden employed solely in navigation on the rivers or coasts of the United Kingdom, or on the rivers or coasts of some British possession within which the managing owners of the ships are resident:

(2) (2.) Ships not exceeding thirty tons burden and not having a whole or fixed deck, and employed solely in fishing or trading coastwise on the shores of Newfoundland or parts adjacent thereto, or in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, or on such portions of the coasts of Canada as lie bordering on that gulf.

Procedure for Registration.

Procedure for Registration.

S-4 Registrars of British ships.

4 Registrars of British ships.

(1)—(1.) The following persons shall be registrars of British ships:—

  ( a. ) At any port in the United Kingdom, or Isle of Man, approved by the Commissioners of Customs for the registry of ships, the chief officer of customs:

  ( b. ) In Guernsey and Jersey, the chief officers of customs together with the governor:

  ( c. ) In Malta and Gibraltar, the governor:

  ( d. ) At Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, the port officer:

  ( e. ) At any other port in any British possession approved by the governor of the possession for the registry of ships, the chief officer of customs, or, if there is no such officer there resident, the governor of the possession in which the port is situate, or any officer appointed for the purpose by the governor;

  ( f. ) At a port of registry established by Order in Council under this Act, persons of the descripton in that behalf declared by the Order.

(2) (2.) Notwithstanding anything in this section Her Majesty may by Order in Council declare, with respect to any British possession named in the Order, not being the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, the description of persons who are to be registrars of British ships in that possession.

(3) (3.) A registrar shall not be liable to damages or otherwise for any loss accruing to any person by reason of any act done or default made by him in his character of registrar, unless the same has happened through his neglect or wilful act.

S-5 Registrars book.

5 Registrars book.

Every registrar of British ships shall keep a book to be called the register book, and entries in that book shall be made in accordance with the following provisions:—

(i.) The property in a ship shall be divided into sixty-four shares:

(ii.)Subject to the provisions of this Act with respect to joint owners or owners by transmission, not more than sixty-four individuals shall be entitled to be registered at the same time as owners of any one ship; but this rule shall not affect the beneficial title of any number of persons or of any company represented by or claiming under or through any registered owner or joint owner:

(iii.) A person shall not be entitled to be registered as owner of a fractional part of a share in a ship; but any number of persons not exceeding five may be registered as joint owners of a ship or of any share or shares therein:

(iv.) Joint owners shall be considered as constituting one person only as regards the persons entitled to be registered, and shall not be entitled to dispose in severalty of any interest in a ship, or in any share therein in respect of which they are registered:

(v.) A corporation may be registered as owner by its corporate name.

S-6 Survey and measurement of ship.

6 Survey and measurement of ship.

Every British ship shall before registry be surveyed by a surveyor of ships and her tonnage ascertained in accordance with the tonnage regulations of this Act, and the surveyor shall grant his certificate specifying the ship's tonnage and build, and such other particulars descriptive of the identity of the ship as may for the time being be required by the Board of Trade, and such certificate shall be delivered to the registrar before registry.

S-7 Marking of ship.

7 Marking of ship.

(1)—(1.) Every British ship shall before registry be marked permanently and conspicuously to the satisfaction of the Board of Trade as follows:—

  ( a. ) Her name shall be marked on each of her bows, and her name and the name of her port of registry must be marked on her stern, on a dark ground in white or yellow letters, or on a light ground in black letters, such letters to be of a length not less than four inches, and of proportionate breadth:

  ( b. ) Her official number and the number denoting her registered tonnage shall be cut in on her main beam:

  ( c. ) A scale of feet denoting her draught of water shall be marked on each side of her stem and of her stern post in Roman capital letters or in figures, not less than six inches in length, the lower line of such letters or figures to coincide with the draught line denoted thereby, and those letters or figures must be marked by being cut in and painted white or yellow on a dark ground, or in such other way as the Board of Trade approve.

(2) (2.) The Board of Trade may exempt any class of ships from all or any of the requirements of this section, and a fishing boat entered in the fishing boat register, and lettered and numbered in pursuance of the Fourth Part of this Act, need not have her name and port of registry marked under this section.

(3) (3.) If the scale of feet showing the ship's draught of water is in any respect inaccurate, so as to be likely to mislead, the owner of the ship shall be liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds.

(4) (4.) The marks required by this section shall be permanently continued, and no alteration shall be made therein, except in the event of any of the particulars thereby denoted being altered in the manner provided by this Act.

(5) (5.) If an owner or master of a British ship neglects to cause his ship to be marked as required by this section, or to keep her so marked, or if any person conceals, removes, alters, defaces, or obliterates, or suffers any person under his control to conceal, remove, alter, deface, or obliterate any of the said marks, except in the event aforesaid, or except for the purpose of escaping capture by an enemy, that, owner, master, or person shall for each offence be liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds, and on a certificate from a surveyor of ships, or Board of Trade inspector under this Act, that a ship is insufficiently or inaccurately marked the ship may be detained until the insufficiency or inaccuracy has been remedied.

S-8 Application for registry.

8 Application for registry.

An application for registry of a ship shall be made in the case of individuals by the person requiring to be registered as owner, or by some one or more of the persons so requiring if more than one, orby his or their agent, and in the case of corporations by their agent, and the authority of the agent shall be testified by writing, if appointed by individuals, under the hands of the appointors, and, if appointed by a corporation, under the common seal of that corporation.


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