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Application Of Merchant Shipping Acts To Ships Chartered By Demise To The Crown

Volume 130: debated on Wednesday 30 March 1988

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To move the following Clause: —

`(1) This section applies to a ship if for the time being—
  • (a) the ship is—
  • (i) registered in the United Kingdom, and
  • (ii) in the service of a government department ("the relevant department") by reason of a charter by demise to the Crown; and
  • (b) there is in force under section 80 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1906 (Government ships) an Order in Council providing for the registration of Government ships in the service of the relevant department.
  • (2) Where this section applies to any ship, the following statutory provisions, namely—
  • (a) the provisions of the Order in Council referred to in subsection (1)(b) (excluding those relating to registration under the Order), and
  • (b) the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Acts (as they apply by virtue of the Merchant Shipping Act 1906 and that Order in Council),
  • shall (subject to subsections (3) and (4)) have the same effect in relation to that ship as they have in relation to a Government ship in the service of the relevant department (whether referred to as such or as such a ship registered in pursuance of that Order in Council).
    (3) Subject to subsection (4), the registration enactments shall have effect in relation to a ship to which this section applies in like manner as if it were not, for the purposes of the Merchant Shipping Acts, a ship belonging to Her Majesty.
    (4) Her Majesty may by Order in Council provide that any statutory provision falling within subsection (2) or (3) and specified in the Order—
  • (a) shall not have effect in accordance with that subsection in relation to a ship to which this section applies, or
  • (b) shall so have effect in relation to such a ship, but subject to such modifications as are specified in the Order.
  • (5) In the application of any provision of the Merchant Shipping Act, (other than a provision of the registration enactments) in relation to a ship to which this section applies, any reference to the owner of the ship shall be construed as a reference to the relevant department.
    (6) An Order in Council under this section—
  • (a) may make such transitional, incidental or supplementary provision as appears to Her Majesty to be necessary or expedient: and
  • (b) shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.
  • (7) In this section—
    "government department" includes a Northern Ireland department;
    "Government ship" means a Government ship within the meaning of section 80 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1906;
    "the registration enactment" means—
  • (a) the provisions of Part I of the 1984 Act down to and including section 67 of that Act;
  • (b) section 5 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1983; and
  • (c) Parts I and II of this Act.'. — [Mr. David Mitchell.]
  • Brought up, and read the First time.

    I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

    The purpose of the new clause is to clarify the position of British-registered ships chartered by demise to the Crown and in the service of Government Departments.

    The point of difficulty arises in connection with demise-chartered ships. For those not familiar with the phrase, it refers to the lease of the whole ship. The problem arises because there is some uncertainty concerning the application of the Merchant Shipping Acts. It is arguable that they are in the position of fully registered British ships or that, for the purposes of the Merchant Shipping Acts, they are in the position of unregistered
    "ships belonging to Her Majesty"
    and therefore may be outside the scope of the Merchant Shipping Acts. It is clearly of benefit to remove any such doubts, and the new clause will clarify the legal position of all demise-chartered ships in the service of any Government Department.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Clause read a Second time and added to the Bill.