Section No :  
Legislative Enactments
Marginal Notes
1. This Act may be cited as the Merchant Shipping Act, and shall come into operation on such date* as the Minister may appoint by Order published in the Gazette. Different dates may be so appointed for the purposes of the different Parts or provisions of this Act.
2. Extension and application of Act.
3. Appointment of Director of Merchant Shipping.
4. Power of Minister to give directions.
5. Appointment of officers and servants.
6. Powers of Minister.
7. Appointment and duties of Shipping Officers.
8. Designation of Shipping Offices.
9. Power of Director to dispense with transaction of certain matters at Shipping office.
10. Appointment of Surveyors, & c.
11. Chief Registrar and Registrars of Sri Lanka Ships.
12. Minister may delegate certain duties.
13. Appointment of Registrar of Seamen.
14. Application of this Part.
15. Restriction on chartering of ships.
16. Licenses to take ships to sea.
17. Revocation, & c, of licence.
18. Unlicensed ships.
19. No port clearance until licence is produced.
20. Power to give directions.
21. Shipping Allocation Board.
22. Powers to fix shipping rates.
23. Shipping Rates Advisory Board.
24. Power to call for information.
25. Submission of schedule of fares, & c, in respect of certain ships.
26. Power of Director to enter ships.
27. Penalty.
28. Restrictive practices in relation to the carriage of goods by sea.
29. Power to make rules.
30. Qualification for owning Sri Lanka ship.
31. Obligation to register Sri Lanka ships.
32. Exemptions from registry.
33. Register book.
34. Application for registry.
35. Declaration of ownership.
36. Ship's names.
37. Evidence on first registry.
38. Survey.
39. Marking of ship.
40. Entry of particulars in register book.
41. Documents to be retained by Registrar.
42. Application to Government ships.
43. Port of registry.
44. Regulations.
45. Power of Chief Registrar to inquire into title of Sri Lanka ship to be registered as such.
46. Exemption.
47. Certificate of registry.
48. Provisional certificate.
49. Custody and use of certificate.
50. Improper use of certificate.
51. Grant of new certificate.
52. Provision for loss of certificate.
53. Change of master.
54. Change of owner.
55. Delivery of certificate of ship lost or ceasing to be Sri Lanka ship.
56. Transfer of ship or share.
57. Declaration of transfer.
58. Registry of transfer.
59. Transmission of property in ship on bankruptcy death, & c.
60. Order for sale on transmission to an unqualified person.
61. Transfer of ship or sale by order of Court.
62. Power of court to prohibit transfer.
63. Rules of English law applicable except where they are inconsistent or in conflict with this Act.
64. Mortgage of ship or share.
65. Entry of discharge of mortgage.
66. Priority of mortgages.
67. Mortgagee not treated as owner.
68. Mortgagee to have power of sale.
69. Mortgage not affected by bankruptcy.
70. Transfer of mortgages.
71. Transmission of interest in mortgage on bankruptcy, & c.
72. Powers of mortgage and sale to be exercised outside Sri Lanka may be conferred by certificate.
73. Requisites for certificates of mortgage and sale.
74. Restrictions on certificates of mortgage and sale.
75. Contents of certificates of mortgage and sale.
76. Rules as to certificates of mortgage.
77. Rules as to certificates of sale.
78. Power of Chief Registrar in case of loss of certificate.
79. Revocation of certificates of mortgage and sale.
80. Application.
81. Restriction on cancellation registration.
82. Restriction on registration.
83. Maritime liens.
84. Priority of liens.
85. Order of priority of liens.
86. Rights of shipbuilders and ship , repairers.
87. Overriding nature of maritime liens.
88. Saving in relation to claims arising from radioactive products, & c.
89. Limitation period.
90. When limitation period is interrupted.
91. Notice of sale to be given to mortgages, register, & c.
92. Effect of sale on mortgages. & c
93. Disposition of proceeds of sale.
94. When a certificate that a ship is sold free of mortgages, liens, & c, shall issue.
95. Action by Registrar on receipt of certificate.
96. Registry of alterations
97. Regulations for registry of alterations.
98. Registry anew on change of ownership.
99. Procedure for registry anew.
100. Provisional certificate and endorsement where a ship is to be registered anew.
101. Transfer of registry.
102. Restriction on re-registration of abandoned, ships.
103. Provision for case of incapacity.
104. Notice of trusts not received.
105. Liability of owners.
106. Definition of beneficial interest.
107. Managing owner. & c.
108. Power to dispense with declarations, & c.
109. Mode of making declarations
110. Returns to be made by Registrars.
111. Evidence of register book, certificate of registry and other documents.
112. Forgery of documents.
113. False declarations.
114. Trade in Sri Lanka waters.
115. National character of ship to be declared on clearance.
116. Penalty for unduly assuming Sri Lanka character.
117. Penalty for concealment of Sri Lanka or assumption of foreign character.
118. Penalty for acquiring ownership if unqualified.
119. Liabilities of ship not recognized as Sri lanka ship.
120. National colours.
121. Showing of national ensign.
122. Proceedings on forfeiture of ship.
123. Protection of officers.
123A. Interpretations. [2,36 of 1988]
123B. This Part to apply to parallel registration. [2,36 of 1988]
123C. Parallel registration of ships. [2,36 of 1988]
123D. Requirements registration. [2,36 of 1988]
123E. Procedure for parallel registration. [2,36 of 1988]
123F. Ship to fly Sri Lanka flag. [2,36 of 1988]
123G. Mortgages in the case of parallel registration. [2,36 of 1988]
123H. Cancellation of registration. [2,36 of 1988]
123J. Section 118 or 118 not to apply. [2,36 of 1988]
123K. Regulations. [2,36 of 1988]
124. Application.
125. Interpretation.
126. Regulations relating to qualifications of officers and seamen, the manning of ship, & c.
127. Regulations relating to conditions of service, & c.
128. Regulations relating to official log-books.
129. Regulations relating to returns of births and deaths in Sri Lanka ships.
130. Regulations relating to returns of births and deaths of citizens in ships not registered in Sri Lanka.
131. Handing over of documents on change of master.
132. Stowaways.
133. Unauthorized presence on board ship.
134. Master's power of arrest.
135. Unregistered Sri Lanka ship.
136. National Welfare Board for seamen.
137. Prohibition of the maintenance of a seamen's lodging house without a licence.
138. Interpretation. [2, 17 of 2019]
139. Regulations relating to safety at sea. [3, 17 of 2019]
140. Savings
141. Power of Minister to exempt.
142. Saving relating to ships taking refuge from weather, & c.
143. Prohibition on Passenger ship sailing without certificates [4, 17 of 2019]
144. Prohibition on cargo ship sailing without certificates. [5, 17 of 2019]
145. Variation of certificates on amendment, & c, of Convention.
146. Production of certificates.
147. Surveys and declarations of Survey.
148. Issue of certificates.
149. Minister may approve organizations to survey ships and issue certificates.
150. Period of validity of certificate.
151. Cancellation or suspension of certificates.
152. Surrender of certificates. [6, 17 of 2019]
153. Recognition of certificates issued outside Sri Lanka.
154. Issue of certificates to foreign ships in Sri Lanka and to Sri Lanka ships in foreign countries.
155. Penalty for alteration in ship after certificate has been issued. [7, 17 of 2019]
156. Penalty for forgery of certificate or declaration. [8, 17 of 2019]
157. Information about ship's stability. [9, 17 of 2019]
158. Signaling lamps. [10, 17 of 2019]
159. Interpretation. [11, 17 of 2019]
160. Application [12, 17 of 2019]
161. Definition of "international voyage". [13, 17 of 2019]
162. Definition of "new ship". [13, 17 of 2019]
163. Definition of "valid Convention certificate ".
164. Regulations relating to load lines, & c. [14, 17 of 2019]
165. Regulations relating to deck cargo.
166. Prohibition on sailing without certificates. [15, 17 of 2019]
167. Prohibition in excess loading. [16, 17 of 2019]
168. Penalties concerning marking of ships. [17, 17 of 2019]
169. Issue of certificates. [18, 17 of 2019]
170. Presumptions arising on issue of certificates.
171. Certificate to be produced prior to clearance. [19, 17 of 2019]
172. Duties of owner and master on issue of certificate. [20, 17 of 2019]
173. Issue of certificate to ship not registered in Sri Lanka. [21, 17 of 2019]
174. Prohibition on sailing without survey, & c. [22, 17 of 2019]
175. Prohibition on excess loading. [23, 17 of 2019]
176. Issue of Sri Lanka Load Line Certificate.
177. Certificates to produced prior to clearance.
178. Power of inspection.
179. Power of exemption in relation to ships on certain international voyages.
180. Power of exemption in relation to ships under eighty tons, & c.
181. Power of exemption in relation to ships with novel features.
182. Power of exemption in relation to ships in Sri Lanka.
183. Power of exemption in relation to single voyage.
184. Power to impose condition.
185. Exemption certificate.
186. Collision regulation.
187. Observance of collision regulations.
188. Local rules for navigation in ports, & c.
189. Inspection as to lights and fog signals.
190. Method of giving helm orders.
191. Reports of accidents to ships.
192. Notice of loss of Sri Lanka ship to be given lo the Director.
193. Interpretation.
194. Injury to lighthouses.
195. Prevention of false lights.
196. Notice under section 195.
197. Penalty.
198. Powers of Director and failure to extinguish false light, & c.
199. Obligation to assist ships, & c, in distress.
200. Right to requisition ships when in distress.
201. General duty to render assistance to persons in danger at sea.
202. Duty of ship to assist the other in Case or collision.
203. Assistance to persons in danger.
204. Salvage rights not affected.
205. Sending unseaworthy ship to sea an offence. [24, 17 of 2019]
206. Obligation of ship owner to crew with respect to sea worthiness.
207. Power to detain unsafe ships. [25, 17 of 2019]
208. Method of detention of unsafe ships.
209. Supplementary Provisions relating to detention.
210. Exercise of Powers.
211. Liability for costs and damages.
212. Power to require complainant to give security for costs.
213. Survey of ship alleged by seamen to be unseaworthy.
214. Appointment of Surveyor.
215. Costs of survey.
215A. Interpretation. [26, 17 of 2019]
215B. Regulations. [26, 17 of 2019]
215C. Prohibition on ships sailing without certificate issued under this Part. [26, 17 of 2019]
215D. Variation of certificate on amendment of Convention. [26, 17 of 2019]
215E. Production of certificate. [26, 17 of 2019]
215F. Survey, examination or investigation. [26, 17 of 2019]
215G. Issue of certificate. [26, 17 of 2019]
215H. Period of validity of certificate. [26, 17 of 2019]
215I. Cancellation or suspension of certificate. [26, 17 of 2019]
215J. Information relating to cancellation or suspension. [26, 17 of 2019]
215K. Recognition of certificate issued outside Sri Lanka. [26, 17 of 2019]
216. Interpretation.
217. Constitution of court of Survey.
218. Power and procedure of Courts of Survey.
219. Report of the court of Survey.
220. Rules of procedure.
221. Reference in difficult cases to scientific referees.
222. Payments to officers of Courts, & c.
223. Indemnity.
224. Interpretation.
225. Appointment of Principal receiver of Wrecks and receivers.
226. Fees of receiver of wrecks.
227. Duty of receiver where vessel is in distress.
228. Power of receiver in case of vessels in distress.
229. Powers to pass over adjoining lands.
230. Power of receiver to suppress plunder and disorder by force.
231. Exercise of powers of receiver in his absence.
232. Examination in respect of ships in distress.
233. Rules to be observed by persons finding wreck.
234. Penalty for taking wreck at the time of casualty.
235. Notice of wreck to be given by receiver.
236. Claims of owners to wreck.
237. Immediate sale of wreck by receiver in certain cases.
238. Provisions as to duties, & c, on wrecked goods.
239. Right to unclaimed wreck.
240. Disposal of unclaimed wreck.
241. Delivery of unclaimed wreck by receiver not to prejudice title.
242. Removal of wreck by harbour or conservancy authority.
243. Prohibition of the receipt, & c, wrecks by Admiralty Courts.
244. Breaking and removal of wrecks.
245. Powers of removal to extend to tackle, cargo, & c.
246. Powers to be cumulative.
247. Taking wreck to a foreign port.
248. Boarding wreck, & c.
249. Interfering with wreck, & c.
250. Summary procedure for concealment of wreck.
251. Salvage of life.
252. Salvage of cargo.
253. Services to which sections 251 and 252 do not apply.
254. Where both vessels belong to the same.
255. Determination of salvage disputes.
256. Power of High Court in relation to salvage agreements.
257. Summary determination of salvage disputes.
258. Appeal in case of salvage disputes.
259. Valuation of Property by receiver.
260. Detention of property liable to salvage by receiver.
261. Sale of detained property.
262. Apportionment of salvage amongst owners, & c. of foreign vessel.
263. Apportionment of salvage not exceeding two thousand rupees by receiver.
264. Apportionment of salvage by High court.
265. Application to the Government.
266. Shipping casualties.
267. Preliminary inquiry into shipping or casualties.
268. Formal investigation as to shipping casualties.
269. Power of court of investigation to inquire into charges against masters, mates and engineers.
270. Power of Director to direct inquiry into charges of incompetency or misconduct.
271. Power to arrest witnesses and enter ships.
272. Power to commit for trial and bind over witnesses.
273. Power of Courts as to certificates.
274. Power of court to censure master, male or engineer of a ship.
275. Power of court to remove master of a ship and appoint new master.
276. The delivery of certificate cancelled or suspended.
277. Effect of cancellation or suspension of certificates.
278. Suspended certificate not to be endorsed.
279. Rehearing of an appeal from inquiries and investigations.
280. Rules relating to inquiries and investigations.
281. Powers of Director to cancel, suspend, & c, certificate of master, mate, or engineer of a ship.
282. Limitation of time for summary proceedings.
283. Liability of ship owners.
284. Offences by bodies of servants and agents.
285. Who may prosecute.
286. Compounding of offences.
287. Jurisdiction of Magistrates' court & c.
288. Provision as to jurisdiction over offences.
289. Jurisdiction over ships lying off the coast.
290. Jurisdiction in case of offences on board ship.
291. Application of Fines.
292. Conviction under other law.
293. Power to arrest foreign ship that has occasioned damage.
294. Enforcing detention of ship.
295. Proper officer of customs to be informed detention of ship.
296. Cost of detaining ship.
297. Notice to Consular officer on detention of foreign ship.
298. Sums ordered to be paid leviable by distress on ship.
299. Inquiries into deaths of crew members and others.
300. Depositions to be received in evidence where witness cannot be produced.
301. Proof of attestation not required.
302. Admissibility of documents in evidence.
303. Notices, & c, to be in writing.
304. Service of documents.
305. All officers, & c, to be public servants.
306. Protection of public servants.
307. Interpretation of certain terms in this Chapter.
308. Powers of authorized officers to under board ships.
309. Power of requiring production of documents, & c.
310. Inspections.
311. Power of arrest.
312. Returns by Surveyors.
313. Appointment of inspectors.
314. Powers of inspectors.
315. Witnesses.
316. Obstruction of inspector.
317. Power of Director to prescribe forms.
318. Exemption from stamp duty.
319. Offences in respect of use of forms.
320. Power to apply Act to ships of countries, and to exempt such ships.
321. General power to make regulations.
321A. Implementing standards. [27, 17 of 2019]
321B. Imposition of a penalty. [27, 17 of 2019]
321C. Recovery of penalty. [27, 17 of 2019]
321D. Panel of Experts. [27, 17 of 2019]
322. Indemnity to Government.
323. General power of exemption.
323A. Power of exemption. [28, 17 of 2019]
324. Interpretation.
325. Repeal.
326. Transitional provisions registered ships.
327. Provision relating to tonnage measurement & c.
328. Provision relating ship name's & c.
329. Provision relating to forms and bills of sale & c.
330. Application of international conventions. [29, 17 of 2019]
331. Act to override certain other.
332. Temporary continuance of certain rules.
333. Regulations for resolving transitional difficulties.