Empire

The ship’s manager is one of  the co-owners who is appointed to act by and on behalf of his fellow co-owners in relation to the employment/trading of the vessel and the collecting of freight.  The ship’s manager is often referred to as the ‘Managing Owner’.  This is a commercial and not a legal expression. The ship’s managing owner is distinct from the ship’s husband. The ship’s husband is a party who is not a part or co-owner of the ship and is expressly appointed to manage the vessel on the owner’s behalf.  Thus it can be seen that he is distinct from the managing owner, who is most definitely one of the co-owners. A managing owner cannot arrange insurance without express authority from his co-owners, nor can he pledge the ship for a loan without express authority.  Although he may enter into charter party obligations which are reasonable, he may not cancel or significantly vary a charter without his co-owner’s authority. Prior to 1988 the issue of ownership and registration of a British ship was governed by the Merchant Shipping Act 1894. Today, the relevant provisions are to be found in the Merchant Shipping Act 1988.  The aim of the 1988 Act is to update various provisions dealt with under the 1894 Act. It should be noted that Part I of the 1988 Act does not apply to fishing vessels; these are dealt with under Part II of the Act.  Likewise, Part I does not entirely apply to ‘small ships’ (under 24 metres in length) which may in fact be registered under the Merchant Shipping Act 1983. The 1894 Act was drafted to provide a common scheme of registration for all countries included in the British Empire.