THE MERCHANT SHIPPING ACT, 1958

THE MERCHANT SHIPPING ACT, 1958

THE MERCHANT SHIPPING ACT, 1958

This Act has been extended to Goa, Daman and Diu by Reg. 12 of 1962, s. 3 and Sch. and to Pondicherry by Reg. 7 of 1963, s. 3 and Schedule. 𝑰.

1 Parts I and II came into force w.e.f. 15th December, 1958,
And the vide Notification No. S. O. 2583A, dated the 10th December, 1958, see Gazette of India, 1958, Pt. II. Sec. 3(ii).

Part IV came into force w.e.f. 17th March, 1959, vide Notification No. S. O. 627, dated the 17th March, 1959, see Gazette of India, 1959, Pt. II, Sec. 3(ii).

Sections 7, 405 to 414 (both inclusive), 436 (in so far as it relates to offences mentioned against S. Nos. 122 to 125), 437 to 442, 447, 448, 456 to 460 and so much of section 461

and of Part I of the Schedule as relate to the Control of Shipping Act, 1947 (26 of 1947), came into force on the 1st April, 1960,

see Notification No. S. O. 565, dated the 26th February, 1960, Gazette of India, Pt. II, Sec. 3(ii).

The remaining provisions came into force w.e.f. 1st January, 1961,

With vide Notification No. S. O. 3127, dated the 17th December, 1960, see Gazette of India, 1960, Pt. II, Sec. 3(ii).

An Act to foster the development and ensure the efficient maintenance of an Indian
mercantile marine in a manner best suited to serve the national interests and
for that purpose to establish a National Shipping Board to provide for the 3

[registration, certification, safety and security]

of Indian ships and generally to amend and consolidate the law relating to merchant shipping.

NOTE :- 1. The words “and a Shipping
Development fund”
omitted by Act 66 of 1986, s. 3
(w.e.f. 3-4-1987).

  1. Subs. by Act 40 of 2007, s. 2, for the word
    “registration”(w.e.f. 1-3-2008).

BE it enacted by Parliament in the Ninth Year of the Republic of India as follows:―

Short title and commencement.

(1) This Act may be called the Merchant Shipping Act,1958.

(2) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint, and different dates may be appointed for different provisions of this Act.

THE MERCHANT SHIPPING ACT, 1958

THE MERCHANT SHIPPING ACT, 1958

Application of Act.

(1) Unless otherwise expressly provided, the provisions of this Act which apply to―

(a) any vessel which is registered in India; or

(b) any vessel which is required by this Act to be so registered; or

(c) any other vessel which is owned wholly by persons to each of whom any of the
descriptions specified in clause (a) or in clause (b) or in clause (c), as the case may be, of section 21 applies,

shall so apply wherever the vessel may be.

(2) Unless otherwise expressly provided, the provisions of this Act which apply to vessels other than those referred to in sub-section (1) shall so apply only while any such vessel is within India, including the territorial waters thereof.]

NOTE :-

  1. Parts I and II came into force w.e.f. 15th December, 1958,
    vide Notification No. S. O. 2583A, dated the 10th December, 1958, see Gazette of India, 1958, Pt. II. Sec. 3(ii).

Part IV came into force w.e.f. 17th March, 1959,
vide Notification No. S. O. 627, dated the 17th March, 1959, see Gazette
of India, 1959, Pt. II, Sec. 3(ii).

Sections 7, 405 to 414 (both inclusive), 436 (in so far as it relates to offences mentioned against S. Nos. 122 to 125), 437 to 442, 447, 448, 456 to 460 and so much of section 461 and of Part I of the Schedule as relate to the Control of Shipping Act, 1947 (26 of 1947), came into force on the 1st April, 1960,

see Notification No. S. O. 565, dated the 26th February, 1960, Gazette of India, Pt. II, Sec. 3(ii).

SEE ALSO : http://What Is Design Act 2000

Definitions

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,―

(1) Cargo ship :- “cargo ship” means a ship which is not a Passenger ship.

(2) coasting ship:- “coasting ship” means a
ship exclusively employed in trading between any port or place in India and any other port or place on the continent of India or between ports or places in India and ports or places in Ceylon or Burma;

coasting trade of India

“coasting trade of India” means the carriage by sea of passengers or goods from any port or place in India to any other port or place on the continent of India;

collision regulations___________

“collision regulations” means the regulations made under section 285 for the prevention of collisions at sea;

company___________

“company” means a company as defined in section 2(20) of the Companies Act, 2013;

“country to which the Load Line Convention applies” means,―————-

(a) a country the Government of which has been declared under section 283 to have
accepted the Load Line Convention and has not been so declared to have denounced that Convention;

(b) a country to which it has been so declared that, the Load Line Convention has been applied under the provisions of 4
[article thirty-two] thereof, not being a country to which it has been so declared that that Convention has ceased to apply under the provisions of that article;

“Safety Convention” means the Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea signed in
London on the 1 [1st day of November, 1974] as amended from time to time;

“safety convention certificate” means,―

(i) a passenger ship safety certificate,

(ia) a special trade passenger ship safety certificate,

(ib) a special trade passenger ship space certificate,

(ii) a qualified passenger ship safety certificate,

(iii) a cargo ship safety construction Certificate,

(iv) a qualified cargo ship safety construction
certificate,

(v) a cargo ship safety equipment certificate,

(vi) a qualified cargo ship safety equipment certificate,

(vii) a cargo ship safety radio telegraphy certificate,

(viii) a cargo ship safety radio telephony certificate,

(ix) an exemption certificate,

(x) a nuclear passenger ship safety certificate,

(11A) “family____________

[(11A) “family” means―

(i) in the case of male, his wife, his children whether married or unmarried, his dependent parents and his deceased son’s widow and children:

Provided that if a person proves that his wife has ceased under the personal law governing him or the customary law of the community to which the spouses belong to be entitled to maintenance she shall no longer be deemed to be a part of such person‟s family for the
purpose of this Act unless such person subsequently intimates by express notice, in writing, to the Central Government that she shall continue to be so regarded; and

(ii) in the case of female, her husband, her children, whether married or unmarried, her
dependent parents, her husband’s dependent parents and her deceased son’s widow and
children:

Provided that if a person by notice in writing to the Central Government expresses her
desire to exclude her husband from the family, the husband and his dependent parents shall no longer be deemed to be a part of such person’s family for the purpose of this Act, unless such person subsequently cancels in writing any such notice.

Explanation.―In either of the above two cases, if the child, or, as the case may be, the child of a deceased son, of a person has been adopted by another person and if under the personal law of the adopter adoption is legally recognised, such a child shall be considered as excluded from the family of the first mentioned person.]

(12) “fishing vessel” means a ship fitted with mechanical means of propulsion which is
exclusively engaged in sea fishing for profit;

(13) “foreign-going ship” means a ship, not being a home trade ship, employed in trading between any port or place in India and any other port or place or between ports or places, outside India;

[(14) “free board” means the distance measured vertically downwards, amidships, from the upper edge of the deck line to the upper edge of the related load line;]

(15) “High Court”, in relation to a vessel, means the High Court within the limits of whose appellate jurisdiction―

(a) the port of registry of the vessel is situate; or
(b) the vessel is for the time being; or
(c) the cause of action wholly or in part arises;

(16) “home-trade ship” means a ship not exceeding three thousand tons gross which is employed in trading between any port or place in India and any other port or place on the continent of India or between ports or places in India and ports or places in Ceylon, Maladive Islands, Federation of Malaya, Singapore or Burma;

(17) “Indian consular officer” means the consul-general, consul, vice-consul, consular agent and pro-consul appointed as such by the Central Government, and includes any person authorised by the Central Government to perform the functions of consul-general, consul, vice-consul,
consular agent or pro-consul;

seaman________

“seaman” means every person (except a master, pilot or apprentice) employed or
engaged as a member of the crew of a ship under this Act, but in relation to sections 178 to 183 (inclusive) includes a master;

seamen‟s employment office____________

“seamen‟s employment office” means the seamen’s employment office referred to in section 12

Director-General of Shipping―_

(1) The Central Government may by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint a person to be the Director-General of Shipping for the purpose of exercising or discharging the powers, authority or duties conferred or imposed upon the Director-General by or under this Act.

(2) The Central Government may, by general or special order, direct that any power, authority or jurisdiction exercisable by it under or in relation to any such provisions of this Act as may be specified in the order shall, subject to such conditions and restrictions as may be so specified, be exercisable also by the Director-General or by such other officer as may be specified in the order.

(3) The Director-General may, by general or special order, and with the previous approval of the Central Government, direct that any power or authority conferred upon or delegated to, and any duty imposed upon, the Director-General by or under this Act may, subject to such conditions and restrictions as he may think fit to impose, be exercised or discharged also by such officer or other
authority as he may specify in this behalf.

Mercantile Marine Department________

Mercantile Marine Department.―

(1) The Central Government may establish and maintain at each of the ports of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras and at such other port in India as it may consider necessary an office of the Mercantile Marine Department for the administration of this Act and the rules and regulations thereunder.

(2) The office of the Mercantile Marine Department at the port of Bombay, Calcutta or Madras shall be in the charge of a principal officer, and the office at any other port shall be in the charge of such officer as the Central Government may appoint in this behalf.

(3) In the discharge of their duties, the principal officer and other officers shall be subject to the control of the Director-General.

Surveyors.__

(1) The Central Government may by, notification in the Official Gazette, appoint at such ports as it may consider necessary as many persons as it may think fit to be surveyors for the purposes of this Act.

[(1A) Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-section (1), the Central Government, in the case of cargo ships, may, by notification in the Official Gazette authorise any person or body of persons, on such terms and conditions as may be specified therein, to be surveyor or surveyors for the purposes of this Act.]

(2) The surveyors may be nautical surveyors, ship surveyors or engineer and ship surveyors.

(3) At any port at which no surveyor appointed under this section is available, the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint any qualified person to perform the functions of a surveyor under this Act.

(4) All acts done under this Act by a principal officer of the Mercantile Marine Department or a person appointed under sub-section (3) relating to matters within the competence of a surveyor shall have the same effect as if done by a surveyor for the purposes of this Act.

Seamen’s welfare officers._

(1) The Central Government may appoint a seamen’s welfare officers at such ports in or outside India as it may consider necessary.

(2) A seamen‟s welfare officer appointed under sub-section (1) shall perform―

(a) in the case of any such officer appointed at any port in India, such functions in relation to welfare of seamen as may be assigned to him by the Central Government;

(b) in the case of any such officer appointed at any port outside India, such functions in

  1. relation to welfare of seamen and such functions of an Indian consular officer under Part VII as may be assigned to him by the Central Government.

(3) If any seamen‟s welfare officer appointed at any port outside India performs any functions assigned to an Indian consular officer under Part VII, such functions shall have the same effect as if they had been performed by an Indian consular officer for the purposes of that Part.

Registrars of Indian ships.

At each of the ports of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras, the principal officer of the Mercantile Marine Department, and at any other port such authority as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint, shall be the registrar of Indian ships at that port:

[Provided that subject to such order as the Central Government may issue in this behalf when the office of registrar of Indian ships at any port is vacant or the holder of such office is on leave or is not available, for any reason at the port to exercise and discharge the powers, duties and functions of the office the senior most surveyor at that port may act as and exercise and discharge the powers’ duties and functions of the registrar of Indian ships at that port.]

Register book.

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

(a) the property in a ship shall be divided into ten shares;

(b) subject to the provisions of this Act with respect to joint owners or owners by
transmission, not more than ten 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 interest of any number of persons represented by or claiming under or through any registered owner or joint owner;

(c) 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;

(d) joint owners shall be considered as constituting one person and shall not be entitled to dispose in severally of any interest in a ship or any share therein in respect of which they are registered;

(e) a company 1
[or a co-operative society] may be registered as owner by its name.

Application for registry

Application for registry.―An application for the registry of an Indian ship shall be made―

(a) in the case of an individual, by the person requiring to be registered as owner or by his
agent;

(b) in the case of more than one individual requiring to be so registered, by some one or more of the persons so requiring or by his or their agent; and

(c) in the case of a company 2
[or a co-operative society] requiring to be so registered, by its agent;

and the authority of the agent shall be testified by writing, if appointed by an individual, under the hand of the person appointing him and, if appointed by a company, 2
[or a co-operative society] under
its common seal.

Survey and measurement of ships before registry.―

(1) The owner of every Indian ship in
respect of which an application for registry is made shall cause such ship to be surveyed by a surveyor and the tonnage of the ship ascertained in the prescribed manner.

(2) The surveyor shall grant a certificate specifying the ship‟s tonnage and build and such other
particulars descriptive of the identity of the ship as may be prescribed and the certificate of the surveyor shall be delivered to the registrar before registry.

THE MERCHANT SHIPPING ACT, 1958

Documents to be retained by registrar.

On the registry of a ship, the registrar shall retain in his custody the following documents :―

(a) the surveyor’s certificate;
(b) the builder’s certificate;
(c) any instrument of sale by which the ship was previously sold;
(d) all declarations of ownership.

Power of Central Government to inquire into title of Indian ship to be so registered.

(1) Where it appears to the Central Government that there is any doubt as to the title of any Indian ship to be registered as an Indian ship, it may direct the registrar of her port of registry to require evidence to be given to his satisfaction within such time, not being less than thirty days as the Central Government may fix, that the ship is entitled to be registered as an Indian ship.

(2) If within such time as may be fixed by the Central Government under sub-section (1) evidence to the satisfaction of the registrar that the ship is entitled to be registered as an Indian ship is not given, the ship shall be liable to forfeiture.

Grant of certificate of registry.__

On completion of the registry of an Indian ship, the registrar shall grant a certificate of registry containing the particulars respecting her as entered in the register book with the name of her master.

Power to grant new certificate when original certificate is defaced, lost, etc.

(1) In the event of the certificate of registry of an Indian ship being defaced or mutilated, the registrar of her port of registry may, on the delivery to him of that certificate, grant a new certificate in lieu of her original certificate.

(2) In the event of the certificate of registry of an Indian ship being mislaid, lost or destroyed or of the person entitled thereto being unable to obtain it from the custody of any other person, the registrar of her port of registry shall grant a new certificate in lieu of her original certificate.

(3) If the port at which the ship is at the time of the event referred to in sub-section (2) or first arrives after the event is outside India, then the master of the ship or some other person having knowledge of the facts of the case shall make a declaration stating such facts and the names and descriptions of the registered owners of such ship to the best of the declarant’s knowledge and belief to the nearest available Indian consular officer who may thereupon grant a provisional certificate containing a statement of the circumstances under which it is granted.

(4) The provisional certificate shall, within ten days after the first subsequent arrival of the ship at her port of discharge in India, be delivered by the master to the registrar of her port of registry and the registrar shall thereupon grant a new certificate of registry.

(5) If the certificate of registry stated to have been mislaid, lost or destroyed shall at any time afterwards be found, or if the person entitled to the certificate of registry obtains it at any time afterwards, the said certificate shall forthwith be delivered to the registrar of her port of registry to be cancelled.

See Also : What Is Indian Trusts Act, 1882

THE MERCHANT SHIPPING ACT, 1958

THE MERCHANT SHIPPING ACT, 1958 THE MERCHANT SHIPPING ACT, 1958 THE MERCHANT SHIPPING ACT, 1958

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