Harbours Act, 1946

Remedies for nonpayment of tonnage rates.

116.—(1) Where default is made in the payment to a harbour authority of tonnage rates on a vessel, the collector of rates of the harbour authority may board the vessel, and unless the rates are there and then paid, may distrain the vessel and the tackle, apparel and furniture thereof.

(2) No article forfeitable under the Customs Acts shall be distrained under this section.

(3) Any vessel, tackle, apparel or furniture distrained under this section may—

(a) be detained until the tonnage rates in respect of which the distraint was made are paid or until security is given in respect thereof, or

(b) if such rates are not paid within seven days after the distraint, be sold in accordance with the provisions of this section by the harbour master.

(4) The following provisions shall have effect in respect of the sale of a vessel distrained under this section on behalf of a harbour authority:

(a) the sale shall be authorised by order of the harbour authority and shall not take place unless the harbour authority by order so direct;

(b) the order shall contain a declaration vesting in the harbour master of the harbour authority by virtue of the order the right to transfer the vessel, and the harbour master shall by virtue of such declaration be entitled to transfer the vessel in the same manner and to the same extent as if he were the registered owner thereof;

(c) the sale shall operate to vest the vessel in the purchaser freed of all mortgages, liens, charges or other interests therein whatsoever, and the purchaser shall not require any other evidence of title to the vessel than a copy, certified by the harbour master, of the order of the harbour authority directing the sale;

(d) a registrar of shipping shall, on production of the order or a copy thereof certified by the harbour master, register the bill of sale effecting the transfer in the same manner as if the harbour master were the registered owner.

(5) A harbour authority shall not sell under this section for home use any article if any prohibition or restriction on importation applies in respect thereof or if the price which would be obtained does not equal or exceed the amount of any duties of customs or excise payable in respect thereof.

(6) Where a sale has been carried out under this section, the proceeds thereof shall be applied firstly in payment of any duties of customs or excise payable in respect of any of the articles sold and secondly in payment of the tonnage rates in respect of which such sale was carried out, and any expenses of and incidental to such sale, and the surplus (if any) shall be paid on demand to the former owner or master of the relevant vessel.

(7) Where—

(a) a harbour authority are unable or deem it inexpedient to make a distraint in accordance with this section, or

(b) the proceeds of a sale under this section are not sufficient to pay all the tonnage rates payable to the harbour authority and the expenses of and incidental to such sale,

the rates due or the amount of the deficiency (as the case may be) may be sued for and recovered by the harbour authority as a simple contract debt in any court of competent jurisdiction.

(8) Nothing in this section shall be construed as prejudicing any forfeiture to which a vessel is subject under the Customs Acts or the Merchant Shipping Acts, 1894 to 1939.