*General table of contents.
- Neutrality laws of Denmark.
- Neutrality laws of Prussia.
- Neutrality laws of Russia.
- Neutrality laws of Netherlands.
- Neutrality laws of Sweden.
- Neutrality proclamations, &c., of Brazil.
- Memoranda relative to Miranda Expedition.
- Case of the Meteor and Oriental.
[650, 651] *The Merchant Shipping Act, 1854.
anno decimo septimo et decimo octavo victoriæ reginie.
Chap. CIV.— AN ACT to amend and consolidate the acts relating to merchant-shipping.—[10 August, 1854.]
* * * * * * *
1. This act may be cited for all purposes as “The Merchant Shipping Act, 1854.”[Page 164]
2. In the construction and for the purposes of this act (if not inconsistent with the context or subject-matter) the following terms shall have the respective meanings hereinafter assigned to them that is to say:* * * * *
“The treasury” shall mean the commissioners of Her Majesty’s treasury.
“The admiralty” shall mean the lord high admiral or the commissioners for executing his office.
“The board of trade” shall mean the lords of the committee of privy council appointed for the consideration of matters relating to trade and foreign plantations.
* * * * * * *
6.  The board of trade shall be the department *to undertake the general superintendence of matters relating to merchant-ships and seamen, and shall be authorized to carry into execution the provisions of this act, and of all other acts relating to merchant-ships and seamen in force for the time being, other than such acts as relate to the revenue.* * * * *
12. All consular officers, and all officers of customs abroad, and all local marine boards and shipping-masters shall make and send to the board of trade such returns or reports on any matter relating to British merchant shipping or seamen as such board requires and all shipping-masters shall, whenever required by the board of trade, produce to such board or to its officers all official log-books and other documents which, in pursuance of this act, are delivered to them.
13. Every officer of the board of trade, and every commissioned officer of any of Her Majesty’s ships on full pay, and every British consular officer, and the registrar-general of seamen and his assistant, and every chief officer of customs in any plage in Her Majesty’s dominions, and every shipping master may, in cases where he has reason to suspect that the provisions of this act or the laws for the time being relating to merchant seamen and to navigation are not complied with, exercise the following powers, that is to say:
 *He may require the owner, master, or any of the crew of any British ship to produce any official log-books or other documents relating to such crew or any member thereof in their respective possession or control.
He may require any such master to produce a list of all persons on board his ship, and take copies of such official log-books, or documents, or of any part thereof.
He may muster the crew of any such ship.
He may summon the master to appear and give any explanation concerning such ship or her crew, or the said official log-books or documents. And if, upon requisition duly made by any person so authorized in that behalf as aforesaid, any person refuses or neglects to produce any such official log-book or document as he is hereinbefore required to produce, or to allow the same to be inspected or copied as aforesaid, or impedes any such muster of a crew as aforesaid, or refuses or neglects to give any explanation which he is hereinbefore required to give, or knowingly misleads or deceives any person hereinbefore authorized to demand any such explanation, he shall for each such offense incur a penalty not exceeding twenty pounds.
14.  The board of trade may, from time to time, whenever it seems expedient to them so to do, appoint any person as an inspector, to report to *them upon the following matters; that is to say:
- Upon the nature and causes of any accident or damage, [Page 165] which any ship has sustained or caused, or is alleged to have sustained or caused.
- Whether the provisions of this act, or any regulations made under or by virtue of this act, have been complied with.
- Whether the hull and machinery of any steamship are sufficient and in good condition.
15. Every such inspector as aforesaid shall have the following powers; that is to say:
- He may go on board any ship, and may inspect the same or any part thereof, or any of the machinery, boats, equipments or articles on board thereof to which the provisions of this act apply, not unnecessarily detaining or delaying her from proceeding on any voyage.
- He may enter and inspect any premises the entry or inspection of which appears to him to be requisite for the purpose of the report which he is directed to make.
- He may, by summons under his hand, require the attendance of all such persons as he thinks fit to call before him and examine for such purpose, and may require answers or returns to any inquiries he thinks fit to make.
-  He may require and enforce the production of *all books, papers or documents which he considers important for such purpose.
- He may administer oaths, or may, in lieu of requiring or administering an oath, require every person examined by him to make and subscribe a declaration of the truth of the statements made by him in his examination.
 And every witness so summoned as aforesaid shall be allowed such expenses as would be allowed to any witness attending on subpoena to give evidence before any court of record, or if in Scotland, to any witness attending on citation the court of justiciary; and in case of any dispute as to the amount of such expenses the same shall be referred by the inspector to one of the masters of Her Majesty’s Court of -Queen’s Bench in England or Ireland, or to the Queen’s and lord treasurer’s remembrancer in Scotland, who, on a request made to him for that purpose under the hand of the said inspector, shall ascertain and certify the proper amount of such expenses; and every person who refuses to attend as a witness before any such inspector, after having been required so to do in the manner hereby directed, and after having had a tender made to him of the expenses, if any, to which he is entitled as aforesaid, or who refuses or neglects to make any answer, or to give any return, or to produce any document in his possession, or *to make or subscribe any declarations which any such inspector is hereby empowered to require, shall for each such offense incur a penalty not exceeding ten pounds.
16. Every person who willfully impedes any such inspector appointed by the board of trade, as aforesaid, in the execution of his duty, whether on board any ship or elsewhere, shall incur a penalty not exceeding ten pounds, and may be seized and detained by such inspector or other person or by any person or persons whom he may call to his assistance, until such offender can be conveniently taken before some justice of the peace or other officer having proper jurisdiction.* *
description and ownership of british ships.
18. No ship shall be deemed to be a British ship unless she belongs wholly to owners of the following description; that is to say:[Page 166]
(1.) Natural-born British subjects:
 Provided that no natural-born subject, who has taken the oath of allegiance to any foreign sovereign or state shall be entitled to be such owner as aforesaid, unles he has, subsequently to taking such last-mentioned oath, taken the oath of allegiance to Her Majesty, and is and continues to be during the whole period of his so being an owner resident in some place within Her Majesty’s dominions; *or if not so resident, member of a British factory or partner in a house actually carrying on business in the United Kingdom or in some other place within Her Majesty’s dominion.
(2.) Persons made denizens by letters of denization or naturalized by or pursuant to any act of the imperial legislature, or by or pursuant to any act or ordinance of the proper legislative authority in any British possession:
Provided, that such persons are and continue to be during the whole period of their so being owners resident in some place within Her Majesty’s dominions; or if not so resident, members of a British factory or partners in a house actually carrying on business in the United Kingdom or in some other place within Her Majesty’s dominions, and have taken the oath of allegiance to Her Majesty subsequently to the period of their being so made denizens or naturalized.
(3.) Bodies corporate established under, subject to the laws of, and having their principal place of business in the United Kingdom or some British possession.
19. Every British ship must be registered in manner hereinafter mentioned, except—
- Ships duly registered before this act comes *into operation. 
- Ships not exceeding fifteen tons burden employed soley in navigation on the rivers or coasts of the United Kingdom, or on the rivers or coasts of some British possession wjthin which the managing owners of such ships are resident.
- Ships not exceeding thirty tons burden, and not having a whole or fixed deck, and employed solely in fishing or trading coastwise on the shores of Newfoundland or parts adjacent thereto, or in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, or on such portions of the coasts of Canada, Nova Scotia, or New Brunswick as lie bordering on such gulf.
And no ship hereby required to be registered shall, unless registered, be recognized as a British, ship; and no officer of customs shall grant a clearance or transire to any ship hereby required to be registered for the purpose, of enabling her to proceed to sea as a British ship, unless the master of such ship, upon being required so to do, produces to him such certificate of registry as is hereinafter mentioned; and if such ship attempts to proceed to sea as a British ship without a clearance or transire, such officer may detain such ship until such certificate is produced to him. * * * * *
29.  The commissioners of customs may, with the sanction of the treasury, appoint such persons to superintend the survey and admeasurement of ships as they think fit; and may, with the approval of the board of trade, make such regulations for that purpose as may be necessary; and also, with the like approval, make such modifications and alterations as from time to time become necessary in the tonnage rules hereby prescribed, in order to the more accurate and uniform application thereof, and the effectual carrying out of the principle of admeasurement therein adopted.[Page 167]
registry of british ships.
30. The following persons are required to register British ships, and shall be deemed registrars for the purposes of this act; that is to say:
- At any port or other place in the United Kingdom or Isle of Man approved by the commissioners of customs for the registry of ships, the collector, comptroller, or other principal officer of customs for the time being.
- In the islands of Guernsey and Jersey, the principal officers of Her Majesty’s customs, together with the governor, lieutenant-governor, or other person administering the government of such islands respectively.
- In Malta, Gibraltar, and Heligoland, the governor, lieutenant-governor, or other person administering the government of such places respectively.
-  At any port or place so approved as aforesaid within the limits of the charter but not under the *government of the East India Company, and at which no custom-house is established, the collector of duties, together with the governor, lieutenant-governor, or other person administering the government.
- At the ports of Calcutta. Madras, and Bombay, the master attendants, and at any other port or place so approved as aforesaid within the limits of the charter and under the government of the East India Company, the collector of duties, or any other person of six years standing in the civil service of the said company who is appointed by any of the governments of the said company to act for this purpose.
- At every other port or place so approved as aforesaid, within Her Majesty’s dominions abroad, the collector, comptroller, or other principal officer of customs, or of navigation laws; or if there is no such officer resident at such port or place, the governor, lieutenant-governor, or other person administering the government of the possession in which such port or place is situate.
31.  The governor, lieutenant-governor, or other person administering the government, in any British possession where any ship is registered under the authority of this act sthall, with regard to the performance of any act or thing relating to the *registry of a ship or of any interest therein, be considered in all respects as occupying* the place of the commissioners of customsand any British consular officer shall, in any place where there is no justice of the peace, be authorized to take any declaration hereby required or permitted to be made in the presence of a justice of the peace. * * * *
35. Every application for the registry of a ship shall, in the case of individuals, be made by the person requiring to be registered as owner, or by some one or more of such persons, if more than one, or by his or their duly authorized agent, and in the case of bodies corporate, by their duly authorized agent the authority of such agent, if appointed by individuals, to be testified by some writing under the hands of the appointers, and if appointed by a body corporate, by some instrument under the common setl of such body corporate.
36. Before registry, the ship shall be surveyed by a person duly appointed under this act, and such surveyor shall grant a certificate in the form marked A, in the schedule hereto, specifying her tonnage, build, and such other particulars descriptive of the identity of the ship as may from time to time be required by the board of trade; and such certificate shall be delivered to the registrar before registry.[Page 168]
37.  The following rules shall be observed with *respect to entries in the register book; that is to say:
- The property in a ship shall be divided into sixty-four shares.
- Subject to the provisions with respect to joint owners or owners by transmission hereinafter contained, not more than thirty-two individuals shall be entitled to be registered at the same time as owners of any one ship; but this rule shall 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.
- No person shall be entitled to be registered as owner of any fractional part of a share in a ship, but any number of persons, not exceeding five, may be registered as joint owners of a ship, or of a share or shares therein.
- Joint owners shall be considered as constituting one person only as regards the foregoing rule relating to the number of persons entitled to be registered as owners, and shall not be entitled to dispose in severalty of any interest in any ship, or in any share or shares therein, in respect of which they are registered.
- A body corporate may be registered as owner by its corporate name.
38.  No person shall be entitled to be registered *as owner of a ship, or any share therein, until he has’made and subscribed a declaration in the form marked B, in the schedule hereto, referring to the ship as described in the certificate of the surveyor, and containing the following particulars; that is to say:
- A statement of his qualification to be an owner of a share in a British ship.
- A statement of the time when and the place where such ship was built, or (if the ship is foreign-built, and the time and place of building not known) a statement that she is foreign-built, and that he does not know the time or place of her building; and, in addition thereto, in the case of a foreign ship, a statement of her foreign name, or (in the case of a ship condemned) a statement of the time, place, and court at and by which she was condemned.
- A statement of the name jof the master.
- A statement of the number of shares in such ship of which he is entitled to be registered as owner.
- A denial that, to the best of his knowledge and belief, any unqualified person or body of persons is entitled as owner to any legal or beneficial interest in such ship, or any share therein.
 The above declaration of ownership shall be *made and subscribed in the presence of the registrar, if the declarant reside within five miles of the custom-house of the port of registry, but if beyond that distance, in the presence of any registrar or of any justice of the peace. * * * * * * *
40. Upon the first registry of a ship there shall, in addition to the declaration of ownership, be produced the following evidence; that is to say:
- In the case of a British-built ship, a certificate (which the builder is hereby required to grant, under his hand) containing a true account of the proper denomination and of the tonnage of such ship as estimated by him, and of the time when and of the place where such ship was built, together with the name of the party (if any) on whose account he has built the same; and, if any sale or sales have taken place, the bill or bills of sale under which the ship, or share therein, has become vested in the party requiring to be registered as owner.
-  In the case of a foreign-built ship, the same evidence as in the case of a British-built ship, unless the person requiring to be registered as owner, or, in the case of a body corporate, the duly appointed officer, declares that the time or place of her building is unknown, or that the builder’s certificate cannot be procured, in which *case there shall be required only the bill or bills of sale under which the ship or share therein became vested in the party requiring to be registered as owner thereof.
- In the case of a ship condemned by any competent court, an official copy of the condemnation of such ship.
41. If any builder willfully makes a false statement in any certificate hereby required to be granted by him, he shall, for every such offense, incur a penalty not exceeding one hundred pounds.
42. As soon as the foregoing requisites to the due registry of a ship have been complied with, the registrar shall enter in the register-book the following particulars relating to such ship; that is to say:
- The name of the ship and of the port to which it belongs.
- The details as to her tonnage, build, and description comprised in the certificate hereinbefore directed to be given by the surveyor.
- The several particulars as to her origin stated in the declaration or declarations of ownership.
- The names and descriptions of her registered owner or owners, and if there is more than one such owner, the proportions in which they are interested in such ship. * * * *
44.  Upon the completion of the registry of any *ship, the registrar shall grant a certificate of registry in. the form marked D, in the schedule hereto, comprising the following particulars; that is to say:
- The name of the ship and of the port to which she belongs.
- The details as to her tonnage, build, and description comprised in the certificate hereinbefore directed to be given by the surveyor.
- The name of her master.
- The several particulars as to her origin stated in the declaration or declarations of ownership.
- The name and descriptions of her registered owner or owners, and if there is more than one such owner, the proportions in which they are respectively interested indorsed upon such certificate.
* * * * * * *
53.  If any registered ship is either actually pr constructively lost, taken by the enemy, burnt, or broken up, or if by reason of a transfer to any persons not qualified to be owners of British ships, or of any other matter or thing, any such ship as aforesaid ceases to be a British ship, every person who at the time of the occurrence of any of the aforesaid events owns such ship or any share therein shall, immediately upon obtaining knowledge of any such occurrence, if no notice thereof has already been given to the registrar at the port of registry of such ship, *give such notice to him, and he shall make an entry thereof in his register-book $ and, except in cases where the certificate of registry is lost or destroyed, the master of every ship so circumstanced as aforesaid shall immediately, if such event occurs in port, but if the same occurs elsewhere, then within ten days after his arrival in port, deliver the certificate of registry of such ship to the registrar; or, if there be no registrar, to the British consular officer at such port, and such registrar, if he is not himself the registrar of her port of registry, or such British consular officer, shall forthwith forward the certificate so delivered to him to the registrar of the port of registry of the ship; and every owner and master who, without reasonable cause, makes default [Page 170] in obeying the provisions of this section, shall for each offense incur a penalty not exceeding one hundred pounds.
 *certificates of mortgage and sale.
76. Any registered owner, if desirous of disposing by way of mortgage or sale of the ship or share in respect of which he is registered at any place out of the country or possession in which the port of registry of such ship is situate, may apply to the registrar, who shall thereupon enable him to do so by granting such certificates as are hereinafter mentioned, to be called, respectively, certificates of mortgage or certificates of sale, according as they purport to give a power to mortgage or a power to sell.
77. Previously to any certificate of mortgage or sale being granted, the applicant shall state to the registrar, to be by him entered in the register-book, the following particulars; that is to say:
- The names of the persons by whom the power mentioned in such certificate is to be exercised, and in the case of a mortgage the maximum amount of charge to be created, if it is intended to fix any such maximum, and in the case of a sale the minimum price at which a sale is to made, if it is intended to fix any such minimum.
-  The specific place or places where such power is to be exercised, or if no place be specified, then that it may be exercised anywhere, *subject to the provisions hereinafter contained.
- The limit of time within which such power may be exercised.
78. No certificate of mortgage or sale shall be granted, so as to authorize any mortgage or sale to be made;
At any place within the United Kingdom, if the port of registry of the ship be situate in the United Kingdom; or at any place within the same British possession if the port of registry is situate within a British possession; or,
By any person not named in the certificate.
79. Certificates of mortgage and sale shall be in the forms marked respectively M and N, in the schedule hereto, and shall contain a statement of the several particulars hereinbefore directed to be entered in the register-book, and in addition thereto an enumeration of any registered mortgages, or certificate of mortgage, or sale affecting the ship or shares in respect of which such certificates are given.
81. The following rules shall be observed as to certificates of sale) that is to say:
-  If the ship is sold to a party not qualified to be the owner of a British ship, the bill of sale by which the ship is transferred, the certificate of sale, and the certificate of registry shall be produced to some registrar or consular officer, *who shall retain the certificates of sale and registry, and, having indorsed thereon the fact of such ship having been sold to persons not qualified to be owners of British ships, shall forward such certificates to the registrar of the port appearing on the certificate of registry to be the port of registry of such ship and such last-mentioned registrar shall thereupon make a memorandum of the sale in his register-book, and the registry of the ship in such book shall be considered as closed, except so far as relates to any unsatisfied mortgages or existing certificates of mortgage entered therein.
- If, upon a sale being made to an unqualified person, default is made in the production of such certificates as are mentioned in the last rule, such unqualified person shall be considered by British law as having [Page 171] acquired no title to or interest in the ship; and, further, the party upon whose application such certificate was granted, and the persons exercising the power, shall each incur a penalty not exceeding one hundred pounds.
94.  Every registrar in the United Kingdom shall, at the expiration of every month, and *every other registrar shall without delay, or at such stated times as may be fixed by the commissioners of customs, transmit to the custom-house in London a full return, in such form as they may direct, of all registries, transfers, transmissions, mortgages and other dealings with ships which have been registered by or communicated to them in their character of registrars, and the names of the persons who have been concerned in the same, and such other particulars as may be directed by the said commissioners.
102. No officer of customs shall grant a clearance or transire for any ship until the master of such ship has declared to such officer the name of the nation to which he claims that she belongs; and such officer I shall thereupon inscribe such name on the clearance or transire. And if any ship attempts to proceed to sea without such clearance or transire, any such officer may detain her until such declaration is made.
103. The offenses hereinafter mentioned shall be punishable as follows, that is to say:
-  If any person uses the British flag and assumes the British national character on board any ship owned in whole or in part by any persons *not entitled by law to own British ships, for the purpose of making such ship appear to be a British ship, such ship shall be forfeited to Her Majesty, unless such assumption has been made for the purpose of escaping capture by an enemy, or by a foreign ship of war in exercise of some belligerent right; and in any proceeding for enforcing any such forfeiture the burden of proving a title to use the British flag and assume the British national character shall Tie upon the person using and assuming the same.
- If the master or owner of any British ship does or permits to be done any matter or thing, or carries or permits to be carried any papers or documents with intent to conceal the British character of such ship from any person entitled by British law to inquire into the same, or to assume a foreign character, or with intent to deceive any such person as lastly hereinbefore mentioned, such ship shall be forfeited to Her Majesty; and the master, if he commits or is privy to the commission of the offense, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
-  If any unqualified person, except in the case of such transmitted interests as are herein before mentioned, acquires as owner any interest, either legal or beneficial, in a ship using a British flag, and assuming the British character, such interest *shall be forfeited to Her Majesty.
- If any person, on behalf of himself or any other person or body of persons, willfully makes a false declaration touching the qualification of himself or such other person or body of persons to own British ships or any shares therein, the declarant shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; and the ship or share in respect of which such declaration is made, if the same has not been forfeited under the foregoing provision, shall, to the extent of the interest therein of the person making the declaration, and unless it is shown he had no authority to make the same of the parties on behalf of whom such declaration is made, be forfeited to Her Majesty.
 And in order that the above provisions as to forfeitures may be carried into effect, it shall be lawful for any commissioned officer on full pay in the military or naval service of Her Majesty, or any British officer of customs, or any British consular officer, to seize and detain any ship which has, either wholly or as to any share therein, become subject to forfeiture as aforesaid, and bring her for adjudication before the high court of admiralty in England or Ireland or any court having admiralty jurisdiction in Her Majesty’s dominions; and such court may thereupon make such order in the case as it may think fit, and may award to the officer bringing in the same for adjudication such portion of the proceeds of the sale of any forfeited ship or share as it may think right.
104. No such officer as aforesaid shall be responsible, either civilly or criminally, to any person whomsoever, in respect of the seizure or detention of any ship that has been seized or detained by him in pursuance of the provisions herein contained, notwithstanding that such ship is not brought in for adjudication; or, if so brought in, is declared not to be liable to forfeiture, if it is shown to the satisfaction of the judge or court before whom any trial relating to such ship or such seizure or detention is held that there were reasonable grounds for such seizure or detention; but if no such grounds are shown, such judge or court may award payment of costs and damages to any party aggrieved, and make such other order in the premises as it thinks just.
No. 122. In every sea-port in the United Kingdom in which there is a local marine board, such board shall establish a shipping-office or shipping-offices, and may, for that purpose, subject as herein mentioned, procure the requisite premises, and appoint, and from time to time remove and re-appoint, superintendents of such offices, to be called shipping-masters, with any necessary deputies, clerks, and servants, and regulate the mode of conducting business at such offices, and shall, subject as herein mentioned, have complete control over the same; and every act done by or before any deputy duly appointed shall have the same effect as if done by or before a shipping-master.
No. 123. The sanction of the board of trade shall be necessary, so far as regards the number of persons so appointed by any such local marine board, and the amount of their salaries and wages and all other expenses; and the board of trade shall have the immediate control of such shipping-offices, so far as regards the receipt, and payment of money thereat; and all shipping-masters, deputies, clerks, and servants, so appointed as aforesaid, *shall, before entering upon their duties, give such security (if any) for the due performance thereof as the board of trade requires; and if in any case the board of trade has reason to believe that any shipping-master, deputy, clerk, or servant appointed by any local marine board does not properly discharge his duties, the board of trade may cause the case to be investigated, and may, if it thinks fit so to do, remove him from his office, and may provide for the proper performance of his duties until another person is properly appointed in his place.
No. 124.  It shall be the general business of shipping-masters, appointed as aforesaid—
- To afford facilities for engaging seamen by keeping registries of their names and characters;
- To superintend and facilitate their engagement and discharge in manner hereinafter mentioned;
- To provide means for securing the presence on board at the proper times of men who are so engaged;
- To facilitate the, making of apprenticeships to the sea-service;
- To perform such other duties relating to merchant seamen and merchant ships as are hereby, or may hereafter, under the powers herein contained, be committed to them.
*No. 149.  The master of every ship, except ships of less than eighty tons registered tonnage, exclusively employed in trading between different ports on the coasts of the United Kingdom, shall enter into an agreement with every seaman whom he carries to sea from any port in the United Kingdom as one of his crew in the manner hereinafter mentioned; and every such agreement shall be in a form sanctioned by the board of trade, and shall be dated at the time of the first signature thereof, and shall be signed by the master before any seaman signs the same, and shall contain the following particulars as terms thereof I that is to say:
- The nature, and, as far as practicable, the duration of the intended voyage or engagement.
- The number and description of the crew, specifying how many are engaged as sailors.
- The time at which each seaman is to be on board or to begin work.
- The capacity in which each seaman is to serve.
- The amount of wages which each seaman is to receive.
-  A scale of the provisions which are to be furnished to each seaman.
- Any regulations as to conduct on board, and as to fines, short allowance of provisions, or other lawful punishments for misconduct, which have been sanctioned by the board of trade as regulations proper to be adopted, and which the parties agree to adopt.
And every such agreement shall be so framed as to admit of stipulations, to be adopted at the will of the master and seamen in each case, as to advance and allotment of wages, and may contain any other stipulations which are not contrary to law: Provided, That if the master of any ship belonging to any British possession has an agreement with his crew made in due form according to the, law of the possession to which such ship belongs or in which her crew were engaged, and engages single seamen in the United Kingdom, such seamen may sign the agreement so made, and it shall not be necessary for them to sign an agreement in the form sanctioned by the board of trade.
*No. 150.  In the case of all foreign-going ships, in whatever part of Her Majesty’s dominions the same are registered, the following rules shall be observed with respect to agreements; that is to say:
- Every agreement made in the United Kingdom (except in such cases of agreements with substitutes as are hereinafter specially provided for) shall be signed by each seaman in the presence of a shipping-master.
- Such shipping-master shall cause the agreement to be read over and explained to each seaman, or otherwise ascertain that each seaman understands the same before he signs it, and shall attest each signature.
- When the crew is first engaged the agreement shall be signed in duplicate, and one part shall be retained by the shipping-master and the other part shall contain a special place or form for the descriptions and [Page 174] signatures of substitutes or persons engaged subsequently to the first departure of the ship, and shall be delivered to the master.
-  In the ease of substitutes engaged in the place of seamen who have duly signed the agreement, and whose services are lost within twenty-four hours of the ship’s putting to sea, by death, desertion, or other unforeseen cause, the engagement shall, when practicable, be made before some shipping-master duly appointed in the manner hereinbefore specified; and whenever such last-mentioned engagement cannot be so made, the master shall, before the ship puts to sea, if practicable, and if not, as soon afterward as possible, cause the agreement to be read over and explained to the seamen; and the seamen shall thereupon sign the same in the presence of a witness, who shall attest their signatures.
168. All stipulations for the allotment of any part of the wages of a seaman during his absence, which are made at the commencement of the voyage, shall be inserted in the agreement, and shall state the amounts and times of the payments to be made; and all allotment notes shall be in forms sanctioned by the board of trade.