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Merchant Shipping Act, 1947

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Number 46 of 1947.


MERCHANT SHIPPING ACT, 1947.


ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

Section

1.

Definitions.

2.

Obligation to hoist the national flag.

3.

Prohibition on hoisting flag distinctive of nationality other than the national flag.

4.

Temporary registration of ship on time or voyage charter.

5.

Discharge of member of crew at port in the State.

6.

Fine on conviction of offence of absence without leave.

7.

Recognition of certificates of competency.

8.

Direction restricting registration of ship.

9.

Regulations restricting closing or transfer of registry.

10.

Restriction on transfer or mortgage.

11.

Regulations with respect to safety.

12.

Regulations with respect to welfare and conditions of employment.

13.

Rules relating to bills of lading.

14.

Repeals.

15.

Short title, commencement, construction and collective citation.

FIRST SCHEDULE.

SECOND SCHEDULE.

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Number 46 of 1947.


MERCHANT SHIPPING ACT, 1947.


AN ACT TO RE-ENACT CERTAIN PROVISIONS RELATING TO SHIPS MADE BY ORDERS UNDER THE EMERGENCY POWERS ACTS, 1939 TO 1945, TO PROVIDE FOR GIVING EFFECT TO CERTAIN INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS OR CONVENTIONS RELATING TO SHIPS AND TO AMEND AND EXTEND THE MERCHANT SHIPPING ACTS, 1894 TO 1939. [23rd December, 1947.]

BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS:—

Definitions.

1.In this Act—

the word “contravention” includes, in relation to any provision, failure to comply with that provision;

the expression “Irish ship” means

(a) a ship which is registered in the State under the Principal Act, or

(b) a ship of which the owner is one or more than one Irish citizen and which is neither registered in the State under the Principal Act nor registered under the law, of any other State;

the expression “the Minister” means the Minister for Industry and Commerce;

the expression “the Principal Act” means the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894.

Obligation to hoist the national flag.

2.(1) The national flag shall be hoisted on an Irish ship on entering or leaving a port outside the State and, if the ship is of fifty tons gross tonnage or upwards, on entering or leaving a port in the State.

(2) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to a fishing boat duly entered in the fishing boat register and lettered and numbered as required by Part IV of the Principal Act.

(3) The Minister may, notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, issue to any body of persons a warrant authorising members of the body to hoist on specified Irish ships a specified flag in lieu of the national flag, and the Minister may by any such warrant impose conditions and restrictions on the exercise of the authority thereby conferred and may revoke any such warrant.

(4) Where a ship to which a warrant issued under subsection (3) of this section relates enters or leaves a port outside the State or, if the ship is of fifty tons gross tonnage or upwards, enters or leaves a port in the State, the hoisting on the ship in accordance with the warrant of the flag specified in the warrant shall have effect as a compliance with subsection (1) of this section.

(5) Where there is a contravention of this section, the master of the ship concerned shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds.

Prohibition on hoisting flag distinctive of nationality other than the national flag.

3.(1) There shall not be hoisted on an Irish ship any flag distinctive of nationality other than the national flag or that flag with a white border or that flag when comprised in a flag hoisted under the authority of a warrant issued under subsection (3) of section 2 of this Act.

(2) Where there is a contravention of this section, the master of the ship concerned shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds.

Temporary registration of ship on time or voyage charter.

4.A ship which is not an Irish ship and which is taken on time or voyage charter by a charterer in the State may, if the Minister so approves, be registered in the State under the Principal Act and shall remain so registered during the period or voyage for which the ship is so taken on charter and no longer.

Discharge of member of crew at port in the State.

5.(1) A stipulation to which this section applies shall be a lawful and effectual stipulation, and a form therefor may accordingly be approved by the Minister pursuant to subsection (1) of section 114 of the Principal Act.

(2) This section applies to a stipulation, in an agreement entered into by the master of a ship with the crew, that the master may discharge a member of the crew at a port in the State subject to his having given notice of discharge to such member twenty-four hours or more before the discharge.

Fine on conviction of offence of absence without leave.

6.A seaman who is guilty of the offence of absence without leave specified in paragraph (b) of section 221 of the Principal Act shall, without prejudice to the provisions of that paragraph, be liable on summary conviction of the offence to a fine not exceeding ten pounds.

Recognition of certificates of competency.

7.(1) Where the Government of another State provide for the holding of examinations for the grant of certificates of competency as masters, mates or engineers on board ship or as skippers or second hands on board fishing boats and the Minister is satisfied that the certificates so granted are granted on such principles as to show qualifications of competency which are adequate qualifications for service in Irish ships, the Government may by order provide that certificates so granted shall be of the same force within the State as if they had been granted by the Minister under Part II or section 414 (as the case may be) of the Principal Act, and such certificates shall have effect within the State and shall be liable, as respects their effect within the State, to suspension or cancellation accordingly.

(2) Where a certificate is suspended or cancelled by virtue of this section, it shall, if it is not in the possession of the Minister, be delivered by the holder to the Minister, and the Minister shall return any certificate so suspended or cancelled to the authority by whom it was issued together with a report on the circumstances of the suspension or cancellation.

(3) The Government may by order amend or revoke any order previously made under this section.

Direction restricting registration of ship.

8.(1) The Minister may direct that a specified ship or any ship of a specified class shall not be registered at a port in the State under the Principal Act save with the approval of the Minister.

(2) A ship to which a direction under this section relates shall not be registered at a port in the State under the Principal Act save with the approval of the Minister.

Regulations restricting closing or transfer of registry.

9.(1) The Minister may provide by regulations that the registry in the State under the Principal Act of a specified ship or of any ship of a specified class shall not be closed or transferred to a port outside the State save with the approval of the Minister.

(2) The registry in the State under the Principal Act of a ship to which regulations under this section relate shall not be closed or transferred to a port outside the State save with the approval of the Minister.

Restriction οn transfer or mortgage.

10.(1) A person shall not transfer or mortgage, or transfer any mortgage of, any Irish ship or any share in an Irish ship unless—

(a) the transaction is approved of by the Minister, or

(b) the transaction is a transaction declared by regulations under subsection (3) of this section to be an excepted transaction for the purposes of this section.

(2) If an instrument is executed which purports to be a transfer, mortgage or transfer of a mortgage of an Irish ship or a share therein and the transaction to which the instrument relates is neither approved of by the Minister nor a transaction declared by regulations under subsection (3) of this section to be an excepted transaction for the purposes of this section, the instrument shall be void.

(3) The Minister may by regulations declare that a transaction which—

(a) is a transfer, mortgage or transfer of a mortgage in which both the transferor or mortgagor and the transferee or mortgagee is one or more than one of the following:

(i) a person ordinarily resident in the State,

(ii) a company incorporated in the State, or

(b) is a transfer, mortgage or transfer of a mortgage of a ship of a specified class or any share therein,

shall be an excepted transaction for the purposes of this section.

Regulations with respect to safety.

11.(1) The Minister may make regulations for securing the safety of vessels to which this section applies, and may include in such regulations any supplemental or ancillary provisions which he considers proper.

(2) Regulations under this section may apply to the whole of the State or to part thereof and different regulations may be made for different parts of the State.

(3) Regulations under this section may, in particular, provide for any of the following matters:

(a) licensing of vessels,

(b) prohibition of carriage of passengers in vessels not licensed,

(c) attachment of conditions to licences, including, in particular, conditions with respect to.

(i) standards of seaworthiness to be maintained,

(ii) life saving and fire fighting appliances to be carried,

(iii) maximum number of passengers to be carried,

(iv) limits within or routes on which vessels may be used for the carriage of passengers,

(v) times within which vessels may operate,

(d) licensing of persons in charge of vessels,

(e) prohibition of carriage of passengers in vessels in charge of persons not licensed,

(f) surveys of vessels,

(g) cancellation and suspension of licences.

(4) Where there is a contravention of any regulation under this section, the master and the owner of the vessel concerned shall each be guilty of an offence under this section and liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds.

(5) Where there is a contravention of any condition attached to a licence issued under regulations under this section, the holder of the licence shall be guilty of an offence under this section and liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding twenty-five pounds.

(6) Regulations under this section may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, fix fees to be paid in respect of surveys of vessels carried out pursuant to the regulations and in respect of licences granted under the regulations.

(7) The Public Offices Fees Act, 1879, shall not apply in respect of fees under regulations made under this section and all such fees shall be collected and taken in such manner as the Minister for Finance directs from time to time and shall be paid into or disposed of for the benefit of the Exchequer in accordance with the directions of that Minister.

(8) This section applies to vessels used for carrying passengers for reward, exclusive of any such vessel which is in any of the classes specified in the rules in force at the commencement of this Act under section 427 of the Principal Act.

Regulations with respect to welfare and conditions of employment.

12.(1) The Minister may by regulations make such provisions as he thinks proper for promoting the welfare of seamen in Irish ships or at ports within the State or for maintaining in Irish ships suitable conditions of employment for seamen, and may include in any such regulations any supplemental or ancillary provisions which he considers proper.

(2) Regulations under this section may, in particular, relate to any matters recommended by any of the conventions specified in the First Schedule to this Act, being the conventions which were adopted at the twenty-eighth session of the International Labour Conference held at Seattle, Washington, United States of America, in the month of June, 1946.

(3) Where regulations under this section relate to any matters recommended by any international agreement or convention which stipulates that provisions giving effect to it as respects that matter shall be made after consultations, the Minister shall, before making the regulations, have those consultations.

(4) Where there is a contravention of any regulation under this section, the master and the owner of the ship concerned and the person contravening the regulation shall each be guilty of an offence under this section and liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding twenty-five pounds.

Rules relating to bills of lading.

13.(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, the rules relating to bills of lading set out in the Second Schedule to this Act (in this section referred to as “the Rules”) shall have effect in relation to the carriage of goods by sea in ships carrying goods from any port in the State to any other port whether in or outside the State.

(2) There shall not be implied in any contract for the carriage of goods by sea to which the Rules apply any absolute undertaking by the carrier of the goods to provide a seaworthy ship.

(3) Every bill of lading, or similar document of title, issued in the State which contains or is evidence of any contract to which the Rules apply shall contain an express statement that it is to have effect subject to the provisions of the Rules as applied by this Act.

(4) Article VI of the Rules shall, in relation to the carriage of goods by sea in ships carrying goods from any port in the State to any other port in the State or to a port in Great Britain or Northern Ireland, have effect as though the Article referred to goods of any class instead of to particular goods and as though the proviso to the second paragraph of the Article were omitted.

(5) Nothing in this section or the Rules shall affect the operation of sections 446, 447, 448, 449, 450, 502 and 503 of the Principal Act, as amended by any subsequent enactment, or the operation of any other enactment for the time being in force limiting the liability of the owners of seagoing vessels.

(6) The Rules shall not by virtue of this section apply to any contract for the carriage of goods by sea made before such day, not being earlier than the first day of January, 1948, as the Minister by order appoints for the purposes of this subsection, nor to any bill of lading or similar document of title issued, whether before or after the day so appointed, in pursuance of any such contract as aforesaid.

Repeals.

14.Sections 73 and 74 of the Principal Act are hereby repealed.

Short title, commencement, construction and collective citation.

15.(1) This Act may be cited as the Merchant Shipping Act, 1947.

(2) This Act shall come into operation on such day as the Minister appoints by order.

(3) This Act shall be construed as one with the Merchant Shipping Acts, 1894 to 1939, but shall have effect notwithstanding anything contained in those Acts.

(4) The Merchant Shipping Acts, 1894 to 1939, and this Act may be cited together as the Merchant Shipping Acts, 1894 to 1947.

FIRST SCHEDULE.

Conventions adopted at the twenty-eighth session of the International Labour Conference held at Seattle, Washington, United States of America, in the month of June, 1946.

Food and Catering (Ships' Crews) Convention, 1946.

Certification of Ships' Cooks Convention, 1946.

Social Security (Seafarers) Convention, 1946.

Seafarers' Pensions Convention, 1946.

Paid Vacations (Seafarers) Convention, 1946.

Medical Examinations (Seafarers) Convention, 1946.

Certification of Able Seamen Convention, 1946.

Accommodation of Crews Convention, 1946.

Wages, Hours of Work and Manning (Sea) Convention, 1946.

SECOND SCHEDULE.

Rules Relating to Bills of Lading.

Article I. — Definitions:

In these Rules the following expressions have the meanings hereby assigned to them respectively, that is to say—

(a)Carrier” includes the owner or the charterer who enters into a contract of carriage with a shipper;

(b) “Contract of carriage” applies only to contracts of carriage covered by a bill of lading or any similar document of title, in so far as such document relates to the carriage of goods by sea, including any bill of lading or any similar document as aforesaid issued under or pursuant to a charterparty from the moment at which such bill of lading or similar document of title regulates the relations between a carrier and a holder of the same;

(c)Goods” includes goods, wares, merchandises, and articles of every kind whatsoever, except live animals and cargo which by the contract of carriage is stated as being carried on deck and is so carried;

(d)Ship” means any vessel used for the carriage of goods by sea;

(e) “Carriage of goods” covers the period from the time when the goods are loaded on to the time when they are discharged from the ship.

Article II.—Risks:

Subject to the provisions of Article VI, under every contract of carriage of goods by sea the carrier, in relation to the loading, handling, stowage, carriage, custody, care, and discharge of such goods, shall be subject to the responsibilities and liabilities, and entitled to the rights and immunities hereinafter set forth.

Article III.—Responsibilities and Liabilities:

1. The carrier shall be bound, before and at the beginning of the voyage, to exercise due diligence to—

(a) Make the ship seaworthy;

(b) Properly man, equip, and supply the ship;

(c) Make the holds, refrigerating and cool chambers, and all other parts of the ship in which goods are carried, fit and safe for their reception, carriage and preservation.

2. Subject to the provisions of Article IV, the carrier shall properly and carefully load, handle, stow, carry, keep, care for and discharge the goods carried.

3. After receiving the goods into his charge, the carrier, or the master or agent of the carrier, shall, on demand of the shipper, issue to the shipper a bill of lading showing among other things—

(a) The leading marks necessary for identification of the goods as the same are furnished in writing by the shipper before the loading of such goods starts, provided such marks are stamped or otherwise shown clearly upon the goods if uncovered, or on the cases or coverings in which such goods are contained, in such a manner as should ordinarily remain legible until the end of the voyage;

(b) Either the number of packages or pieces, or the quantity, or weight, as the case may be, as furnished in writing by the shipper;

(c) The apparent order and condition of the goods;

Provided that no carrier, master or agent of the carrier shall be bound to state or show in the bill of lading any marks, number, quantity, or weight which he has reasonable ground for suspecting not accurately to represent the goods actually received, or which he has had no reasonable means of checking.

4. Such a bill of lading shall be prima facie evidence of the receipt by the carrier of the goods as therein described in accordance with paragraph 3 (a), (b) and (c).

5. The shipper shall be deemed to have guaranteed to the carrier the accuracy at the time of shipment of the marks, number, quantity, and weight, as furnished by him, and the shipper shall indemnify the carrier against all loss, damages, and expenses arising or resulting from inaccuracies in such particulars. The right of the carrier to such indemnity shall in no way limit his responsibility and liability under the contract of carriage to any person other than the shipper.

6. Unless notice of loss or damage and the general nature of such loss or damage be given in writing to the carrier or his agent at the port of discharge before or at the time of the removal of the goods into the custody of the person entitled to delivery thereof under the contract of carriage, or, if the loss or damage be not apparent, within three days, such removal shall be prima facie evidence of the delivery by the carrier of the goods as described in the bill of lading.

The notice in writing need not be given if the state of the goods has at the time of their receipt been the subject of joint survey or inspection.

In any event the carrier and the ship shall be discharged from all liability in respect of loss or damage unless suit is brought within one year after delivery of the goods or the date when the goods should have been delivered.

In the case of any actual or apprehended loss or damage the carrier and the receiver shall give all reasonable facilities to each other for inspecting and tallying the goods.

7. After the goods are loaded the bill of lading to be issued by the carrier, master or agent of the carrier, to the shipper shall, if the shipper so demands, be a “shipped” bill of lading, provided that if the shipper shall have previously taken up any document of title to such goods, he shall surrender the same as against the issue of the “shipped” bill of lading, but at the option of the carrier such document of title may be noted at the port of shipment by the carrier, master, or agent with the name or names of the ship or ships upon which the goods have been shipped and the date or dates of shipment, and when so noted the same shall for the purpose of this Article be deemed to constitute a “shipped” bill of lading.

8. Any clause, covenant or agreement in a contract of carriage relieving the carrier or the ship from liability for loss or damage to or in connection with goods arising from negligence, fault or failure in the duties and obligations provided in this Article or lessening such liability otherwise than as provided in these Rules, shall be null and void and of no effect.

A benefit of insurance or similar clause shall be deemed to be a clause relieving the carrier from liability.

Article IV.—Rights and Immunities:

1. Neither the carrier nor the ship shall be liable for loss or damage arising or resulting from unseaworthiness unless caused by want of due diligence on the part of the carrier to make the ship seaworthy, and to secure that the ship is properly manned, equipped and supplied, and to make the holds, refrigerating and cool chambers and all other parts of the ship in which goods are carried fit and safe for their reception, carriage and preservation in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 of Article III.

Whenever loss or damage has resulted from unseaworthiness, the burden of proving the exercise of due diligence shall be on the carrier or other person claiming exemption under this section.

2. Neither the carrier nor the ship shall be responsible for loss or damage arising or resulting from—

(a) Act, neglect, or default of the master, mariner, pilot, or the servants of the carrier in the navigation or in the management of the ship;

(b) Fire, unless caused by the actual fault or privity of the carrier;

(c) Perils, dangers, and accidents of the sea or other navigable waters;

(d) Act of God;

(e) Act of war;

(f) Act of public enemies;

(g) Arrest or restraint of princes, rulers or people, or seizure under legal process;

(h) Quarantine restrictions;

(i) Act or omission of the shipper or owner of the goods, his agent or representative;

(j) Strikes or lock-outs or stoppages or restraint of labour from whatever cause, whether partial or general;

(k) Riots and civil commotions;

(l) Saving or attempting to save life or property at sea;

(m) Wastage in bulk or weight or any other loss or damage arising from inherent defect, quality, or vice of the goods;

(n) Insufficiency of packing;

(o) Insufficiency or inadequacy of marks;

(p) Latent defects not discoverable by due diligence;

(q) Any other cause arising without the actual fault or privity of the carrier, or without the fault or neglect of the agents or servants of the carrier, but the burden of proof shall be on the person claiming the benefit of this exception to show that neither the actual fault or privity of the carrier nor the fault or neglect of the agents or servants of the carrier contributed to the loss or damage.

3. The shipper shall not be responsible for loss or damage sustained by the carrier or the ship arising or resulting from any cause without the act, fault or neglect of the shipper, his agents or his servants.

4. Any deviation in saving or attempting to save life or property at sea, or any reasonable deviation shall not be deemed to be an infringement or breach of these Rules or of the contract of carriage, and the carrier shall not be liable for any loss or damage resulting therefrom.

5. Neither the carrier nor the ship shall in any event be or become liable for any loss or damage to or in connection with goods in an amount exceeding £100 per package or unit, or the equivalent of that sum in other currency, unless the nature and value of such goods have been declared by the shipper before shipment and inserted in the bill of lading.

This declaration if embodied in the bill of lading shall be prima facie evidence, but shall not be binding or conclusive on the carrier.

By agreement between the carrier, master or agent of the carrier and the shipper another maximum amount than that mentioned in this paragraph may be fixed, provided that such maximum shall not be less than the figure above named.

Neither the carrier nor the ship shall be responsible in any event for loss or damage to or in connection with goods if the nature or value thereof has been knowingly misstated by the shipper in the bill of lading.

6. Goods of an inflammable, explosive or dangerous nature to the shipment whereof the carrier, master or agent of the carrier, has not consented with knowledge of their nature and character may at any time before discharge be landed at any place or destroyed or rendered innocuous by the carrier without compensation, and the shipper of such goods shall be liable for all damages and expenses directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from such shipment.

If any such goods shipped with such knowledge and consent shall become a danger to the ship or cargo, they may in like manner be landed at any place or destroyed or rendered innocuous by the carrier without liability on the part of the carrier except to general average, if any.

Article V.—Surrender of Rights and Immunities, and Increase of Responsibilities and Liabilities:

A carrier shall be at liberty to surrender in whole or in part all or any of his rights and immunities or to increase any of his responsibilities and liabilities under the Rules contained in any of these Articles, provided such surrender or increase shall be embodied in the bill of lading issued to the shipper.

The provisions of these Rules shall not be applicable to charterparties, but if bills of lading are issued in the case of a ship under a charterparty they shall comply with the terms of these Rules. Nothing in these Rules shall be held to prevent the insertion in a bill of lading of any lawful provision regarding general average.

Article VI.—Special Conditions.

Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding Articles, a carrier, master or agent of the carrier, and a shipper shall in regard to any particular goods be at liberty to enter into any agreement in any terms as to the responsibility and liability of the carrier for such goods, and as to the rights and immunities of the carrier in respect of such goods, or his obligation as to seaworthiness, so far as this stipulation is not contrary to public policy, or the care or diligence of his servants or agents in regard to the loading, handling, stowage, carriage, custody, care, and discharge of the goods carried by sea, provided that in this case no bill of lading has been or shall be issued and that the terms agreed shall be embodied in a receipt which shall be a non-negotiable document and shall be marked as such.

Any agreement so entered into shall have full legal effect:

Provided that this Article shall not apply to ordinary commercial shipments made in the ordinary course of trade, but only to other shipments where the character or condition of the property to be carried or the circumstances, terms and conditions under which the carriage is to be performed, are such as reasonably to justify a special agreement.

Article VII.—Limitations on the Application of the Rules.

Nothing herein contained shall prevent a carrier or a shipper from entering into any agreement, stipulation, condition, reservation or exemption as to the responsibility and liability of the carrier or the ship for the loss or damage to or in connection with the custody and care and handling of goods prior to the loading on and subsequent to the discharge from the ship on which the goods are carried by sea.

Article VIII.—Limitation of Liability.

The provisions of these Rules shall not affect the rights and obligations of the carrier under any statute for the time being in force relating to the limitation of the liability of owners of seagoing vessels.