Merchant Shipping (Load Lines) Act 1967

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1967 c. 27


Merchant Shipping (LoadLines) Act 1967

1967 CHAPTER 27

An Act to make further provision as to load lines and related matters; to increase penalties under certain provisions of the Merchant Shipping Acts 1894 to 1965 relating to passenger steamers; and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid.

[10th May 1967]

Whereas a Convention entitled ‘the International Convention on Load Lines’ (in this Act referred to as ‘the Convention of 1966’) was signed in London on 5th April, 1966:

And whereas it is intended that the Convention of 1966 shall replace the Convention set out in Schedule 2 to the Merchant Shipping (Safety and Load Line Conventions) Act 1932:

And whereas it is expedient to enable effect to be given to the Convention of 1966:

Be it therefore 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:—

General provisions

General provisions

S-1 Ships to which Act applies.

1 Ships to which Act applies.

1. This Act applies to all ships except—

a ) ships of war
b ) ships solely engaged in fishing; and
c ) pleasure yachts
S-2 Load line rules.

2 Load line rules.

(1) The Board of Trade shall make rules in accordance with the following provisions of this Act (in this Act referred to as ‘the load line rules’); and in making those rules the Board shall have regard in particular to the Convention of 1966.

(2) The load line rules shall make provision—

(a ) for the surveying and periodical inspection of ships to which this Act applies;

(b ) for determining freeboards to be assigned from time to time to such ships;

(c ) for determining, in relation to any such ship, the deck which is to be taken to be the freeboard deck of the ship, and for requiring the position of that deck to be indicated on each side of the ship by a mark of a description prescribed by the rules; and

(d ) for determining, by reference to that mark and the freeboards for the time being assigned to any such ship, the positions in which each side of the ship is to be marked with lines of a description prescribed by the rules, indicating the various maximum depths to which the ship may be loaded in circumstances prescribed by the rules.

(3) The load line rules shall include the following provisions, that is to say—

(a ) provisions specifying such requirements in respect of the hulls, superstructures, fittings and appliances of ships to which this Act applies as appear to the Board of Trade to be relevant to the assignment of freeboards to such ships;

(b ) provisions whereby, at the time when freeboards are assigned to a ship in accordance with the load line rules, such particulars relating to those requirements as may be determined in accordance with the rules are to be recorded in such manner as may be so determined; and

(c ) provisions for determining by reference to those requirements and that record whether, at any time after freeboards have been so assigned to a ship and while they continue to be so assigned, the ship is for the purposes of this Act to be taken to comply, or not to comply, with the conditions of assignment;

and those provisions shall be set out separately in the load line rules under the title of ‘rules as to conditions of assignment’.

(4) The load line rules shall also include provisions requiring such information relating to the stability of any ship to which freeboards are assigned thereunder, and such information relating to the loading and ballasting of any such ship, as may be determined in accordance with the rules to be provided for the guidance of the master of the ship in such manner as may be so determined.

(5) In relation to any matter authorised or required by this Act to be prescribed by the load line rules, those rules may make different provision by reference to (or to any combination of) any of the following, that is to say, different descriptions of ships, different areas, different seasons of the year and any other different circumstances.

(6) Except in so far as the context otherwise requires, in this Act ‘deck-line’ means such a mark as is referred to in paragraph (c ) of subsection (2) of this section and ‘load lines’ means such lines as are referred to in paragraph (d ) of that subsection.

Ships registered in United Kingdom

Ships registered in United Kingdom

S-3 Compliance with load line rules.

3 Compliance with load line rules.

(1) Subject to any exemption conferred by or under this Act, no ship to which this Act applies, being a ship registered in the United Kingdom, shall proceed or attempt to proceed to sea unless—

(a ) the ship has been surveyed in accordance with the load line rules;

(b ) the ship is marked with a deck-line and with load lines in accordance with those rules,

(c ) the ship complies with the conditions of assignment; and

(d ) the information required by those rules to be provided as mentioned in section 2(4) of this Act is provided for the guidance of the master of the ship in the manner determined in accordance with the rules.

(2) If any ship proceeds or attempts to proceed to sea in contravention of the preceding subsection, the owner or master of the ship shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding 200.

(3) Any ship which in contravention of subsection (1) of this section attempts to proceed to sea without being surveyed and marked as mentioned in paragraphs (a ) and (b ) of that subsection may be detained until she has been so surveyed and marked.

(4) Any such ship as is mentioned in subsection (1) of this section which does not comply with the conditions of assignment shall be deemed to be unsafe for the purposes of section 459 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894 (power to detain unsafe ships, and procedure for detention).

S-4 Submersion of load lines.

4 Submersion of load lines.

(1) Where a ship to which this Act applies, being a ship registered in the United Kingdom, is marked with load lines, the ship shall not be so loaded that—

(a ) if the ship is in salt water and has no list, the appropriate load line on each side of the ship is submerged, or

(b ) in any other case, the appropriate load line on each side of the ship would be submerged if the ship were in salt water and had no list.

(2) If any ship is loaded in contravention of the preceding subsection, the owner or master of the ship shall (subject to subsection (5) of this section) be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction—

(a ) to a fine not exceeding 400, and

(b ) to such additional fine, not exceeding an amount calculated in accordance with the next following subsection, as the court thinks fit to impose, having regard to the extent to which the earning capacity of the ship was increased by reason of the contravention.

(3) Any additional fine imposed under subsection (2)(b ) of this section shall not exceed 400 for every complete inch, and for any fraction of an inch over and above one or more complete inches, by which—

(a ) in a case falling within paragraph (a ) of subsection (1) of this section, the appropriate load line on each side of the ship was submerged, or

(b ) in a case falling within paragraph (b ) of that subsection, the appropriate load line on each side of the ship would have been submerged as therein mentioned;

and, if the amount by which that load line was or would have been submerged was less than a complete inch, any such additional fine shall not exceed 400.

(4) If the master of a ship takes the ship to sea when she is loaded in contravention of subsection (1) of this section, or if any other person, having reason to believe that the ship is so loaded, sends or is party to sending her to sea when she is loaded in contravention of that subsection, then (without prejudice to any fine to which he may be liable in respect of an offence under subsection (2) of this section) he shall be guilty of an offence under this subsection and liable—

(a ) on conviction on indictment, to a fine;

(b ) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding 400.

(5) Where a person is charged with an offence under subsection (2) of this section, it shall be a defence to prove that the contravention was due solely to deviation or delay and that the deviation or delay was caused solely by stress of weather or other circumstances which neither the master nor the owner nor the charterer (if any) could have prevented or forestalled.

(6) Without prejudice to any proceedings under the preceding provisions of this section, any ship which is loaded in contravention of subsection (1) of this section may be detained until she ceases to be so loaded.

(7) For the purposes of the application of this section to a ship in any circumstances prescribed by the load line rules in accordance with section 2(2)(d ) of this Act, ‘the appropriate load line’ means the load line which, in accordance with those rules, indicates the maximum depth to which the ship may be loaded in salt water in those circumstances.

S-5 Miscellaneous offences in relation to marks.

5 Miscellaneous offences in relation to marks.

5. Where a ship to which this Act applies, being a ship registered in the United Kingdom, is marked in accordance with any requirements as to marking imposed by or under this Act, then if—

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