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British Owned Ships (Registration)

Volume 440: debated on Monday 21 July 1947

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asked the Minister of Transport if a vessel now berthed in one of the South Wales ports, particulars of which have been sent to him, is owned by British citizens or persons domiciled in Great Britain; why the vessel is registered in Panama; and if he will take action, by legislation or otherwise, to prevent British shipowners registering their vessels under another flag thereby evading certain obligations which are required from ships registered in Great Britain.

The owners of the ship referred to do not come within any of the descriptions set out in Section 1 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, of persons qualified to own a British ship and consequently would not be entitled to register the ship as a British ship. With regard to the last part of the Question, the existing law requires every British ship, that is to say a ship owned by persons qualified to own a British ship, to be registered as such and provides appropriate penalties for failure to do so.