Force

The 1993 Act and the 1993 Regulations principally came about due to the impact of the EC and complex litigation in R v Secretary of State for Transport, ex parte Factortame Ltd and Others (No 3) European Court of Justice (1991).  It is beyond the scope of this update to go into the full details of this case, but, broadly speaking, the ECJ held that it is contrary to the provisions of Community law for a Member Sate to stipulate conditions as to the nationality, residence and domicile of a fishing vessel.  In determining the conditions which have to be fulfilled in order for a vessel to be registered in this register and granted the right to fly their flag, Member States have to comply with the rules of Community law.  Thus, the provisions of the 1988 Act and 1988 Regulations which treated the plaintiffs’ existing registration of their fishing vessels (under the 1894 Act) as having ceased were contrary to the provisions of Community law.  The 1993 Act has been repealed by the 1995 ActThe Merchant Shipping Act 1995a brief overview.  Registration of a British ship is (still) an entitlement and not an obligation. S 1(1) provides, inter alia, that a ship is a British ship if: The ship is registered in the United Kingdom under Part II; or the ship is registered under the law of a relevant British possession; or the ship is a small ship other than a fishing vessel and certain conditions in s 1(1)(i) – (iii) are complied with. Section 9(1) provides for when a ship is entitled to be registered and when an application is duly made.  Section 10(1) provides that the Secretary of State shall, by registration regulations, make provision for and in connection with the registration of ships as British ships.  No regulations have, at the time of writing (February 1998), been made and, as already stated, the 1993 Regulations, are still in force.