Merchant Shipping Act 1974

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1974 c. 43


Merchant Shipping Act 1974

1974 CHAPTER 43

An Act to make further provision concerning oil pollution by ships and related matters; to give power to protect shipping and trading interests against foreign action concerning or affecting carriage of goods by sea; to make provision relating to the operation of submersible apparatus; to alter the constitution of the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses; and to amend certain provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act 1970 relating to offences committed by seamen.

[31st July 1974]

Be 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 The International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund

Part I

The International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund

S-1 Interpretation of Part I.

1 Interpretation of Part I.

(1) In this Part of this Act—

(a ) the ‘Liability Convention’ means the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage opened for signature in Brussels on 29th November 1969,

(b ) the ‘Fund Convention’ means the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage opened for signature in Brussels on 18th December 1971;

(c ) ‘the Fund’ means the International Fund established by the Fund Convention; and

(d ) ‘Fund Convention country’ means a country in respect of which the Fund Convention is in force.

(2) If Her Majesty by Order in Council declares that any State specified in the Order is a party to the Fund Convention in respect of any country so specified the Order shall, while in force, be conclusive evidence that that State is a party to the Convention in respect of that country.

(3) In this Part of this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

the ‘Act of 1971’ means the Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution) Act 1971 ,

‘damage’ includes loss,

‘discharge or escape’, in relation to pollution damage, means the discharge or escape of oil carried by the ship,

‘guarantor’ means any person providing insurance or other financial security to cover the owner's liability of the kind described in section 10 of the Act of 1971,

‘oil’, except in sections 2 and 3, means persistent hydrocarbon mineral oil,

‘owner’ means the person or persons registered as the owner of the ship or, in the absence of registration, the person or persons owning the ship, except that in relation to a ship owned by a State which is operated by a person registered as the ship's operator, it means the person registered as its operator,

‘pollution damage’ means damage caused outside the ship carrying oil by contamination resulting from the escape or discharge of oil from the ship, wherever the escape or discharge may occur, and includes the cost of preventive measures and further damage caused by preventive measures,

‘preventive measures’ means any reasonable measures taken by any person after the occurrence to prevent or minimise pollution damage,

‘ship’ means any sea-going vessel and any seaborne craft of any type whatsoever carrying oil in bulk as cargo.

(4) For the purposes of this Part of this Act a ship's tonnage shall be the net tonnage of the ship with the addition of the amount deducted from the gross tonnage on account of engine room space for the purpose of ascertaining the net tonnage.

If the ship cannot be measured in accordance with the normal rules, its tonnage shall be deemed to be 40 per cent. of the weight in tons (of 2240 lbs.) of oil which the ship is capable of carrying.

(5) For the purposes of this Part of this Act, where more than one discharge or escape results from the same occurrence or from a series of occurrences having the same origin, they shall be treated as one.

(6) In this Part of this Act a franc shall be taken to be a unit of 6512 milligrammes of gold of millesimal fineness 900.

(7) The Secretary of State may from time to time by order made by statutory instrument specify the amounts which for the purposes of this Part of this Act are to be taken as equivalent to any specified number of francs.

Contributions to Fund

Contributions to Fund

S-2 Contributions by importers of oil and others.

2 Contributions by importers of oil and others.

(1) Contributions shall be payable to the Fund in respect of oil carried by sea to ports or terminal installations in the United Kingdom.

(2) Subsection (1) above applies whether or not the oil is being imported, and applies even if contributions are payable in respect of carriage of the same oil on a previous voyage.

(3) Contributions shall also be payable to the Fund in respect of oil when first received in any installation in the United Kingdom after having been carried by sea and discharged in a port or terminal installation in a country which is not a Fund Convention country.

(4) The person liable to pay contributions is—

(a ) in the case of oil which is being imported into the United Kingdom, the importer, and

(b ) otherwise, the person by whom the oil is received.

(5) A person shall not be liable to make contributions in respect of the oil imported or received by him in any year if the oil so imported or received in the year does not exceed 150,000 tonnes.

(6) For the purpose of subsection (5) above—

(a ) all the members of a group of companies shall be treated as a single person, and

(b ) any two or more companies which have been amalgamated into a single company shall be treated as the same person as that single company.

(7) The contributions payable by a person for any year shall—

(a ) be of such amount as may be determined by the Assembly of the Fund under Articles 11 and 12 of the Fund Convention and notified to him by the Fund;

(b ) be payable in such instalments, becoming due at such times, as may be so notified to him;

and if any amount due from him remains unpaid after the date on which it became due, it shall from then on bear interest, at a rate determined from time to time by the said Assembly, until it is paid.

(8) The Secretary of State may by regulations contained in a statutory instrument impose on persons who are or may be liable to pay contributions under this section obligations to give security for payment to the Secretary of State, or to the Fund.

Regulations under this subsection—

(a ) may contain such supplemental or incidental provisions as appear to the Secretary of State expedient,

(b ) may impose penalties for contravention of the regulations punishable on summary conviction by a fine not exceeding 400, or such lower limit as may be specified in the regulations, and

(c ) shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

(9) In this and the next following section, unless the context otherwise requires—

‘company’ means a body incorporated under the law of the United Kingdom, or of any other country;

‘group’ in relation to companies, means a holding company and its subsidiaries as defined by section 154 of the Companies Act 1948 (or for companies in Northern Ireland section 148 of the Companies Act (Northern Ireland) 1960 ), subject, in the case of a company incorporated outside the United Kingdom, to any necessary modifications of those definitions;

‘importer’ means the person by whom or on whose behalf the oil in question is entered for customs purposes on importation, and ‘import’ shall be construed accordingly;

‘oil’ means crude oil and fuel oil, and

(a ) ‘crude oil’ means any liquid hydrocarbon mixture occurring naturally in the earth whether or not treated to render it suitable for transportation, and includes—

(i) crude oils from which distillate fractions have been removed, and

(ii) crude oils to which distillate fractions have been added,

(b ) ‘fuel oil’ means heavy distillates or residues from crude oil or blends of such materials intended for use as a fuel for the production of heat or power of a quality equivalent to the ‘American Society for Testing and Materials' Specification for Number Four Fuel Oil (Designation D 396-69)’, or heavier.

‘terminal installation’ means any site for the storage of oil in bulk which is capable of receiving oil from waterborne transportation, including any facility situated offshore and linked to any such site.

(10) In this section ‘sea’ does not include any waters on the landward side of the baselines from which the territorial sea of the United Kingdom is measured.

S-3 Power to obtain information.

3 Power to obtain information.

(1) For the purpose of transmitting to the Fund the names and addresses of the persons who under the last...

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