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(1) The name of the ship must be painted or marked on each of her bows and the name of the port of registry on her
(2) Her official number and the number denoting her regis-
(5) On first registration, a builder's certificate giving her
(6) A declaration of qualification by the owner, containing, amongst other particulars, the name of the master. Application for registration may be made by the owner or owners or by an agent duly authorized. Registration is carried out by the officials specified in the Act at approved ports in the United Kingdom and at various ports overseas. The registrar enters the particulars in a Register Book and gives the applicant a Certificate of Registry, which is a copy of the entry in the Register Book. Whenever a change occurs in the ownership, the change must be endorsed on the certificate of registry by the same registrar or by the registrar at another port advised by the registrar of the port of registry.
Where a registered ship is so altered as not to correspond with the particulars relating to her tonnage or description, e.g., by converting a vessel from a sailing ship into a steamer, the register must be altered at the port where the alteration is made if there is a registrar there, or if no registrar is there, then at the first port called at afterwards where there is a registrar. Where a registered ship is either actually or constructively lost, taken by the enemy, burnt or broken up, or where it ceases by reason of transfer to persons not qualified to be owners of British ships, or otherwise, to be a British ship, every owner of the ship or any share therein must immediately on obtaining knowledge of the event, give notice to the registrar at her port of registry; and if the certificate has not been lost it must be given up to the registrar or a British consular officer.
Ownership and Management.
The Act provides as follows as to ownership—
(1) The property in a British ship shall be divided into sixtyfour shares.
(2) Not more than sixty-four individuals shall be entitled to be registered at the same time as owners of any one ship, but the rule does not affect the beneficial title of any number of persons or of any company represented by or claiming under or through any registered owner or joint owner. In many cases, of course, a limited liability company becomes the registered owner of either single ships or fleets of vessels.
(3) A person shall not be entitled to be registered as owner of a fractional part of a share, but any number of persons, not exceeding five, may be registered as joint owners of any share in a British ship.
(4) Joint owners shall be considered as constituting one person only as regards the persons entitled to be registered, and shall not be entitled to dispose in severalty of any interest in a ship or in any share therein in respect of which they are registered. In this respect they differ from partners who can, subject to agreement, dispose in severalty of their shares in the partnership property. (5) A corporation may be registered as owner by its corporate name.
(6) Ownership may be transferred by bill of sale in the form set out in the Act, (h) but the transferee shall not be registered as owner until he has made a "declaration of transfer" to the effect that he (or his corporation) is qualified to own a British ship, and that to the best of his knowledge and belief no unqualified person or body of persons has any legal or beneficial interest in the ship or any share therein. Certain restrictions on transfer were operative during the Great War, and some are still continued.
(7) Ownership may be transmitted by death or bankruptcy to the executor or administrator, or to the trustee in bankruptcy, as the case may be. The person to whom transmitted must be capable of owning a British ship, and he must make a " declaration of transmission " giving similar particulars, and producing proof of his right to the transmission. If the person to whom transmitted is not qualified to own a British ship, the court may order that the property be sold and the proceeds paid to the person entitled.
(8) Mortgage of the ship or a share therein shall be in the form prescribed by the Act. It does not transfer the ownership, but confers a power of sale on non-payment.
(h) This has no connection with the Bills of Sale Acts of 1878 and 1882, considered in Chapter 6.
(9) No notice of any trust, express, implied or constructive, shall be entered in the Register Book or be receivable
by the registrar.
(10) There is an obligation on the owner, any agreement to the
contrary notwithstanding, to use all reasonable means to insure the seaworthiness of the ship at the commencement of the voyage, and to keep her in a seaworthy condition during the voyage.
Where several persons own a ship as co-owners they frequently appoint one of their number to manage the employment of the ship and to do all that is necessary to carry the adventure to a profitable conclusion. Such an owner is termed a managing owner." When several persons own the ship and the manager so appointed is not a co-owner, he is termed the "ship's husband."
A manager so appointed must be registered at the port of registry. He has implied authority to do all that is necessary up to the commencement of the voyage; after that, as will appear later, the master is responsible.
Failing the appointment of a manager the will of the majority of owners will, as a rule, prevail; but, if there should be a dissentient minority as to the destination and details of an intended voyage, the Court may cause indemnity to be given to the minority that the vessel will return safely.
The owner must appoint a properly qualified master to navigate the vessel. He is bound to keep an official log, and he must produce this and the ship's papers when required to any commissioned officer of any of His Majesty's Ships, and to certain other officials specified in the Act. The papers usually carried
(a) The Certificate of Registry.
(b) The Agreement with the Seamen.
(c) The Manifest or general statement as to ship and cargo. (d) The Muster Roll, or particulars of all persons on board. (e) The Charter Party and Bills of Lading.
(f) The official Log Book and Ship's Log Book, in which are entered all the details of the voyage.
(g) The Bill of Health, a certificate given by a consul or other authority declaring the state of health at the place where the ship clears from any port.
The master is invested with power to do everything necessary to bring the voyage to a successful termination, and he has disciplinary powers over all persons on board. Before the com
mencement of the voyage he takes in the cargo and signs the Bills of Lading for all goods received on board.
General Average.-During the voyage the master has unlimited discretion to act in time of peril, and, if necessary for the general safety, he may throw goods overboard to lighten the ship. This act is termed jettison. It would, of course, be unfair that the owner of the particular goods should bear the whole of the loss which was incurred for the general benefit. The loss is, therefore, apportioned or adjusted rateably, between all the parties interested. This adjustment is termed General Average. It is a very ancient custom, and arises independently of contract although, as a matter of practice, the law which is to govern the general average is usually determined by agreement. In the absence of any agreement, however, the law applicable is that of the port of destination. An attempt has been made to obtain uniformity in the matter of general average, and a set of rules now in fairly general use is known as the York-Antwerp rules. (v) The whole subject is at present under discussion by leading shipowners and underwriters.
There are certain essentials that must exist before general average may arise
(a) That it was absolutely necessary to incur some sacrifice; (b) That it was incurred voluntarily and intentionally; (c) That it was incurred in the avoidance of a danger common to all interests;
(d) That it was a real sacrifice and not a mere casting off of that which had become already lost and consequently of no value;
(e) That the ship and at least some portion of the cargo have
been preserved ;
(f) That there was no default by the person whose interest has been sacrificed.
Where the loss has been occasioned by the inherent vice of the subject-matter sacrificed, the last rule will not apply, e.g., in the case of Greenshields Cowie Co. v. Stephens & Sons (1908), coal was shipped without negligence, and by spontaneous combustion it caught fire and water was poured down the holds in the attempt to extinguish the fire. It was held that the owners of the coal were entitled, in respect of the damage done by the water to the coal that had not ignited, to general average contribution.
Particular Average. Sometimes the term Particular Average is used. This is when a particular loss is occasioned, not for the benefit of all, but by accident or otherwise. Such loss is borne entirely by the person to whom the property belongs, or the
(v) See post, p. 205.
insurer if covered by the policy, and there is no contribution from the owners of other goods being carried, e.g., a mast being swept away, or goods washed overboard accidentally.
It is sometimes difficult to draw the distinction between what should be reckoned as General and what as Particular Average. In Shepherd v. Kottgen (1878) the ship was caught in a storm and, the mast being in a very unstable condition owing to portions of the rigging having been torn away, the captain ordered it to be cut away. It was held that if anything on board, which is cut or cast away because it endangers the whole adventure, is in such a condition that it must certainly itself be lost, although the rest of the adventure should be saved without the cutting or casting away, then the destruction of the thing gives no claim for general average, i.e., it is particular average.
Somewhat akin to average is the adjustment of loss caused by a collision between two vessels. The old rule of the Admiralty Court was that where both ships were at fault, the loss sustained by both was added together and divided between them. By the Maritime Conventions Act, 1911, this rule was altered so that the damage is apportioned according to the degree in which each ship is to blame.
Bottomry and Respondentia.-During the voyage the master is what is termed an "agent of necessity" and, if occasion arise, he may hypothecate or even sell the ship or cargo. In modern times, obviously, it is rarely necessary to resort to such extreme measures owing to the facilities for rapid communication with the owners. But, should the cargo be hypothecated or sold, the shipowner must indemnify the owner of the goods, who can receive either the amount the goods actually fetched or the price they would have fetched had they reached their destination. The master has power also to pledge the owners' credit for necessaries for the ship. Where money is actually required for the purposes of the ship or cargo, and cannot be obtained otherwise, and it is borrowed on the security of the ship or cargo it is carried out by means of bonds, termed in the case of the ship a Bottomry Bond and in the case of the cargo a Respondentia Bond. A Bottomry Bond is a contract in writing, entered into by the owner or master at a foreign port, containing the conditions that if the ship arrives safely the ship itself is liable and also the borrower personally; if the ship is lost, then the lender loses his money. The bond is void if there is a covenant to repay in any event, because the master has no authority so to covenant. A Respondentia Bond is different only in name and, in fact, the term bottomry bond is often used for a security on the cargo also. It has always been usual, and legal, to charge a high rate