The Bangladesh Merchant Shipping Ordinance, 1983

( Ordinance NO. XXVI OF 1983 )

An Ordinance to consolidate and amend the law relating to merchant shipping and to provide for matters connected therewith.

WHEREAS it is expedient to consolidate and amend the law relating to merchant shipping and to provide for matters connected therewith;
NOW, THEREFORE, in pursuance of the Proclamation of the 24th March, 1982, and in exercise of all powers enabling him in that behalf, the Chief Martial Law Administrator is pleased to make and promulgate the following Ordinance:-



1. Short title, commencement, extent and application

2. Definitions

3. Power to alter conditions relating to ownership of Bangladesh Ship

4. Department of Shipping

5. Mercantile Marine Office

6. Surveyors

7. Radio Inspectors

8. Shipping Offices

9. Conduct of business of Shipping office at other Office

10. Functions of a Shipping Master

11. Fees for engagement or discharge of seamen

12. Seamen’s Welfare Officer

13. Application

14. Registration

15. Ports of registry

16. Registrar General

17. Register Book

18. Application for registration

19. Survey and measurement of ships before registration

20. Marking of ship

21. Declaration of ownership on registration

22. Evidence on first registration

23. Registration of ships

24. Documents to be retained by Registry

25. Power of Government to inquire into title of ship to be registered as Bangladesh ship

26. Grant of certificate of registry

27. Custody and use of Certificate

28. Power to grant new Certificate when original Certificate is defaced, lost, etc.

29. Endorsement of change of master on Certificate of Registry

30. Endorsement on Certificate of change of ownership

31. Delivery of Certificate of ship lost or ceasing to be a Bangladesh ship

32. Provisional Certificate for ships becoming Bangladesh ships abroad

33. Temporary pass in lieu of Certificate of Registry

34. Restriction on conversion of ship

35. Transfer of registry of Bangladesh ships.

36. Mode of transfer of ships, etc.

37. Transmission of property in Bangladesh ship on death, insolvency, etc.

38. Order for sale where ship has ceased to be a Bangladesh ship

39. Transfer of ship on sale by order of Court.

40. Mortgage of ship or share, etc.

41. Entry of discharge of mortgage.

42. Mortgagee not deemed to be owner

43. Rights of mortgagee

44. Mortgage not affected by insolvency

45. Transfer of mortgage

46. Transmission of interest in mortgage in certain circumstances

47. Name of Bangladesh ship not to be changed, etc.

48. Registry of alterations

49. Provisional Certificate and endorsement where ship is to be registered anew

50. Procedure for registration anew

51. Restriction on re-registration of abandoned ships

52. National colours for ships

53. Unlawful assumption or concealment of Bangladesh character, etc.

54. Bangladesh ships to hoist proper national colours in certain cases

55. National character of ships to be declared before clearance

56. Liabilities of ships not registered as Bangladesh ships

57. Proceedings on forfeiture of ship

58. Notice of trust not received

59. Liability of owners

60. Inspection of Register Book and admissibility of certain documents in evidence

61. Power to register Government ships

62. Special powers for Magistrates

63. Power to make rules

64. Application

65.Restriction on chartering of ships

66. Licences for taking ships to sea

67. Licences for coasting trade

68. Revocation, etc. of licences

69. No port clearance until licence is produced

70. Restriction on the use of certain ships, etc.

71. Power to give directions

72. Power to constitute Shipping Allocation Board

73. [Omitted]

74. [Omitted]

75. Power to call for information

76. [Omitted]

77. Power of Shipping Authority to enter ship

78. Penalty

79. Power to make rules

80. Definition

81. Application

82. Manning of ships

83. Certificate of Competency

84. Recognition of Certificate of Competency not granted by the Director-General

85. Form of Certificates

86. Loss of Certificate

87. Master to be custodian of Certificates

88. Employment of aliens

89. Continuous Discharge Certificate Book

90. Power to cancel or suspend Certificate, etc.

91. Record of orders affecting Certificate, etc.

92. Port Clearance.

93. Report of accidents, etc.

94. Penalty

95. Power to make rules

98. Employment of young persons

99. Engagement of young persons as trimmers or stokers

100. Medical examination of young persons

101. Offences against sections 98, 99 and 100

102. Maintenance of list or Register of young persons in a ship

103. Power to make rules

104. Rules relating to engagement of seamen and maritime labour

105. Supply of seamen, etc.

106. Seaman’s identity card

107. Seaman to be in possession of Continuous Discharge Certificate

108. Loss of Continuous Discharge Certificate, etc.

109. Cancellation, etc. of Continuous Discharge Certificate

110. Certificate of fitness of seaman

111. Rules relating to manning of ships

112. Agreement with crew

113. Forms and contents of the agreement

114. Engagement in Bangladesh of single seaman for foreign ship

115. Special provisions with regard to agreements with crew of Bangladesh foreign-going ships

116. Renewal of running agreements in certain cases

117. Special provisions as to agreements with crew of home trade or coasting ships

118. Changes in crew to be reported

119. Certificate as to agreement with crew of foreign going and home trade ships

120. Certificate as to agreements with crew of coasting ships

121. Copy of agreement with crew to be made accessible to the crew

122. Alteration in agreement with the crew

123. List of crew to be furnished to Shipping Masters

124C. Recovery of excess salary, repatriation cost, etc.

124. Engagement of seamen for ships other than Bangladesh ships

124A. Agreement to meet legal requirements of the country of Registration of the ship

124B. Penalties for violating provisions of Sec. 124A

125. Engagement of seaman outside Bangladesh

126. Power to prohibit engagement of Bangladeshi seamen

127. Power to board ships and muster seamen

128. Forged Continuous Discharge Certificate, etc.

129. Power to make rules

130. Discharge of seamen to be before Shipping Master

131. Entries to be made in Continuous Discharge Certificate and return of Certificates of Competency to officers on discharge

132. Report to Shipping Master as to work of seamen, etc.

133 . Discharge of seamen abroad

134. Discharge of seamen and apprentices on charge of owner ship

135. Transmission of documents on transfer of seaman from one ship to another

136. Repatriation of seaman and apprentice on termination of service abroad

137. Leaving behind in Bangladesh of seaman or apprentice shipped abroad

138. Leaving behind seaman or apprentice by masters of Bangladesh ships abroad

139. Wages and other property of seaman or apprentice left behind by Bangladesh ships abroad

140. Power to make rules

141. Master to deliver account of wages

142. Deductions from wages of seamen

143. Disrating of seamen

144. Deduction on account of provident fund, etc.

145. Payment of wages before Shipping Master

146. Time of payment of wages

147. Settlement of wages

148. Decision on disputes by Shipping Masters

149. Power of Shipping Master to require production of ships’ papers

150. Rate of exchange for payment to seaman in a currency other than the currency as stated in the agreement

151. Right to wages and provisions

152. Wages not to depend on freight

153. Wages on termination of service by wreck, illness, etc.

154. Wages not to accrue during refusal to work or imprisonment

155. Compensation to seamen

156. Restriction on sale of and charge upon wages

157. Summary proceedings for wages

158. Restriction on suits for wages

159. Advances and allotments

160. Regulations as to allotment notes

161. Payment of sums allotted

162. Power to make rules

163. Master to take charge of the effects of deceased seamen

164. Disposal of property of seaman who dies during the voyage

165. Liability of master in respect of property of deceased seaman, etc.

166. Property of deceased seaman left abroad but not on board ship

167. Dealing with property of deceased seamen

168. Recovery of wages, etc. of seamen lost with their ship

169. Property of seamen dying in Bangladesh

170. Payment over of property of deceased seamen by Shipping Master

171. Disposal of unclaimed property of deceased seamen

172. Power to make rules

173. Application of Chapter to apprentices

174. Power to make rules with respect to distressed seamen

175. Relief and maintenance of distressed seamen

176. Mode of providing for return of seamen to proper return port

177. Receiving distressed seamen on ships

178. Bangladesh Consular Officer to decide return port to which or route by which seaman is to be sent

179. Provisions as to taking distressed seaman on ships

180. What shall be evidence of distress

181. Ships to have sufficient provisions and water

182. Allowance for short or bad provisions

183. Bangladesh foreign going ships to carry duly certificated cooks

184. Medicines to be provided and kept on board certain ships

185. Certain ships to carry Medical Officers

186. Weights and measures on board

187. Expenses of medical attendance in case of illness

188. Power to make rules with respect to crew accommodation, etc

189. Inspection of crew accommodation when a ship is registered or re registered

190. Bedding, towels, etc. to be provided

191. Inspection of provisions, water, medicines, etc.

192. Inspection by master of provisions, water and accommodation at sea

193. Power to make rules

194. Master in overall command, etc.

195. Misconduct, endangering life or ship

196. Desertion and absence without leave from Bangladesh ships

197. Desertion and absence without leave from foreign ships

197A. Measures to prevent desertion from Bangladesh and foreign ships

198. Conveyance of deserter or imprisoned seaman or apprentice on board ship

199. Power of Court to order offender to be taken on board ship

200. General offences against discipline

201. Report of desertions and absence without leave

202. Entries and certificates of desertion abroad

203. Facilities for proving desertion in proceeding for forfeiture of wages or effects

204. Application of forfeitures

205. Decisions on questions of forfeiture and deduction in suits for wages

206. Payment of fines imposed under agreement to Shipping Master

207. Penalty for enticing to desert

208. Penalty for harbouring deserters

209. Penalty on stowaways and discipline of stowaways and seamen carried under compulsion

210.Procedure where seaman or apprentice not shipped in Bangladesh is imprisoned on complaint of master or owner

211. Power to send on board seaman or apprentice not shipped in Bangladesh who is undergoing imprisonment

212. Deserters from foreign ships

213. Power to make rules

214A. Place of trial of the offender

214. Definitions

215. Particulars to be furnished in plaints, etc.

216. Power of District Magistrate to intervene in case of unrepresented seaman

217. Notice to be given in case of unrepresented seaman

218. Postponement of proceedings

219. Power to set aside decrees and orders passed against serving seaman

220. Modification of law of limitation where seaman is a party

221. Reference in matters of doubt to shipping Masters

222. Provisions of this Chapter to apply to masters and apprentices

223. Power to make rules


224. Uniform to be prescribed

225. Certificated officers may wear uniforms while unemployed

226. Uniforms when not to be worn

227. Persons not to be dressed partly in uniform

228. Penalties

Complaints by seamen and apprentices

229. Facilities for making complaints

Protection of seamen and apprentices from imposition

230. Assignment or sale of salvage invalid

231. Debts not recoverable till the conclusion of agreed service

232. Inspection of seamen’s lodging houses

233. Prohibition against solicitation by lodging house keepers

234. Seaman’s property not to be detained

235. Ship not to be boarded without permission before seaman Leave

Rescission of Contracts

236. Power of Court to rescind contract between master, owner or agent and seaman or apprentice

Maritime Advisory Committee

237. Constitution and functions of Maritime Advisory Committee

238. Power to make rules

239. Application

240. No ship to carry passengers without a Passenger Ship Safety Certificate

241. No port clearance until Passenger Ship Safety Certificate produced

242. Power to detain ship not having Passenger Ship Safety Certificate

243. Owner or agent responsible for survey

244. Powers of Surveyor

245. Fees in respect of surveys

246. Declaration of survey

247. Grant of Passenger Ship Safety Certificate

248. Power of Government to order a second survey

249. Ships with Passenger Ship Safety Certificate or certificates of partial survey granted outside Bangladesh

250. Duration of Passenger Ship Safety Certificate

251. Cancellation or suspension of Passenger Ship Safety Certificate by Government

252. Alterations in ships subsequent to grant of Passenger Ship Safety Certificate, and additional surveys

253. Delivery of expired or cancelled Certificates

254. Passenger Ship Safety Certificate to be affixed in conspicuous part of ship

255. Ship not to carry passengers in contravention of this Ordinance

256. Offences in connection with passenger ships

257. Power to exclude drunken passengers from passenger ship

258. Return to be furnished

259. Power to make rules

260. Ships not to proceed on voyage from any place not designated by Government

261. Notice to be given about day of departure

262. Power to board and inspect ship

263. Certification and survey

264. Special power to make rules

265. Cooking food prohibited

266. Applicability of section 254 to certain certificates

267. List of departing special trade passenger

268. List of arriving special trade passenger

269. Deaths on Board

270. Medical Officers and attendants

271.Penalty for non compliance with requirements as to statements concerning special trade passengers

272. Penalty for failing to supply special trade passengers with prescribed provisions

273. Penalty for ship unlawfully departing or receiving passengers on board

274. Penalty for fraudulent alteration in ship after certificate obtained

275. Penalty for landing special trade passenger at a port or place other than that contracted for

276. Forwarding of passengers by Bangladesh Consular Officers

277. Recovery of expenses incurred in forwarding passengers

278. Information to be sent to ports of embarkation and disembarkation

279. Information sent under section 278, etc. to be admissible in evidence

280. Additional provisions for special trade passenger ships carrying pilgrims

281. Bond where special trade passenger ship is to carry pilgrims on outward voyage

282. Medical inspection and permission required before embarkation of pilgrims

283. Medical inspection after embarkation in certain cases

284. Return passage to be secured

285. Issue or production of tickets

286. Refund of deposits and passage money

287. Unclaimed deposits and passage money to vest in Government

288. Cost of return journey of pilgrims on ships other than those for which return ticket is available

289. Notice of proceeding of special trade passenger ship carrying pilgrims on voyage

290. Compensation for delay in departing or proceeding on voyage

291. Substitution of ships

292. Sanitary taxes payable by the Master

293. Power to make rules

294. Compliance with International Health Regulations

295. Countries to which the Safety and Load Line Convention apply

296. Construction of passenger ships

297. Construction of cargo ships

298. Power to make rules with respect to the construction and survey of cargo ships, etc.

299. Rules as to life saving and fire appliances, etc.

300. Inspection of life saving appliances, etc.

301. Control of water tight openings

302. Stability information and damage control

303. Requirements of radio telegraph and radio telephone apparatus

304. Requirements as to radio direction finding apparatus

305. Radio log

306. Inspection, etc.

307. Application of Chapter to foreign ships

308. Power to make rules

309. Qualified Passenger Ship Safety Certificates

310. Cargo Ship Safety Equipment Certificates and Qualified Cargo Ship Safety Equipment Certificates

311. Cargo Ship Safety Radio telegraphy Certificates, etc.

312. Cargo Ship Safety Construction Certificates

313. Exemption Certificates

314. Duration of Certificates

315. Modification of Passenger Ship Safety Certificates in respect of life- saving appliances

316. Acceptance of Certificates issued outside Bangladesh

317. Issue of Certificates to ships of foreign countries

318. Issue by foreign Governments of Certificates of Bangladesh ships

319. Prohibition on proceeding to sea without certificates

320. Government may authorise persons to perform certain functions

321. Production of certificates by ships other than Bangladesh ships

322. Application of sections 251, 252, 253 and 254 to Certificates

323. Power of Government to make rules

324. Power to exempt ships from provisions of this Chapter

325. Power to make rules as to load lines

326. Marking of deck line and load lines

327. Submersion of load lines

328. Submersion of sub division load lines in case of passenger ships

329. Penalty for submersion of load lines and sub division load lines

330. Offences in relation to marks

331. Inspection of ships with respect to load lines

332. Issue and duration, etc., of Load Line Certificates

333. Issue and duration, etc., of Exemption Certificates

334. Ships not to proceed to sea without Certificate

335. Publication of Load Line Certificate and particulars relating to depth of loading

336. Insertion of particulars as to load lines in agreements with crew

337. Load Line Certificates of ships other than Bangladesh ships

338. Inspection and control of foreign ships belonging to countries to which the Load Line Convention applies

339. Certificate of ship other than Bangladesh ship to be produced to Customs

340. Marking of deck line and load lines of ships other than Bangladesh ships

341. Submersion of load line of ships other than Bangladesh ships

342. Inspection of ships belonging to non Convention countries

343. Provisions relating to Load Line Certificates of ships other than Bangladesh ships

344. Certificates to be produced to Customs by ships belonging to non-Convention countries

345. Power to make rules as to deck cargo

346. Tonnage of spaces occupied by deck cargo to be added to registered tonnage

347. Carriage of dangerous goods

348. Carriage of grain

349. Carriage of bulk cargoes other than grain, etc.

350. Unseaworthy ships

351. Unseaworthy ship not to be sent to sea

352. Obligation of owner to crew with respect to seaworthiness

353. Power to detain unsafe ship and procedure for detention

354. Liability of Government for cost and damages to a ship wrongly detained

355. Liability of ship-owner for costs when ship rightly detained

356. Method of calculating costs of detention and survey

357. Power to require from complainant security for costs, etc.

358. Costs, etc., payable by Government to be recovered from complainant

359. Application to ships other than Bangladesh ships of provisions as in detention

360. Detention, etc., of foreign ships in cases to which section 359 does not apply

361. Method of giving helm orders

362. Duty to report dangers to navigation

363. Speed to be moderate when in vicinity of ice

364. Obligation to render assistance on receiving signal of distress

365. Ships to carry certain navigational instruments, etc.

366. Signalling lamps

367. Meteorological observations to be recorded, etc.

368. Collision Regulations

369. Observance of Collision Regulations

370. Inspection of lights and shapes, etc.

371. Saving for rules of navigation in harbour, etc.

372. Duty of master of ship to assist in case of collision

373. Collision to be entered in official log

374. Report to Government of accidents to ships

375. Notice of loss of Bangladesh ship to be given

376. Division of loss in case of collision

377. Damages for personal injury

378. Right of contribution

379. Official logs to be kept and to be evidence

380. Entries required to be made in official log book

381. Offences in respect of official logs

382. Delivery of official logs

383. Official log to be sent to Shipping Master in the case of transfer or loss of ship

384. Power to call for official logs

385. Power to make rules

386. Application of Chapter

387. Ascertainment of tonnage

388. Registration of fishing vessels

389. Effect of registration of fishing vessels

390. Particulars relating to Fishing Vessels to be painted

391. Change of name

392. Change of ownership

393. Mortgages of fishing vessels

394. Registration of alterations

395. Transfer of registry

396. Entries in Register relating to vessel lost, etc.

397. Certificate of inspection

398. Fraudulent use of Certificate of Registry or Certificate of Inspection, etc.

399. Life saving appliances, etc.

400. Skippers and engine drivers to be duly certificated

401. Statement relating to crew to be maintained

402. Power to exempt

403. Power to make rules

404. Application of Chapter

405. Decision on question whether a vessel is a sailing vessel

406. Certificate of Registry

407. Change of name of sailing vessel

408. Prevention of overloading or overcrowding

409. Certificate of Inspection

410. Inquiry into jettisoning of cargo

411. Foreign sailing vessels not to engage in coasting trade without permission

412. Detention, etc. of overloaded foreign sailing vessels

413. Application to sailing vessels of certain provisions relating to ships and. fishing vessels

414. Power to make rules respecting sailing vessels

415. Shipping casualties and report thereof

416. Preliminary inquiry into shipping casualties

417. Judicial Inquiry by Court

418.Power of Court to inquire into charges against masters, mates and engineers

419. Power of Government to direct inquiry into charges of incompetency or misconduct

420. Person accused to be heard

421. Power of Court as to evidence and regulation of proceedings

422. Assessors

423. Power to arrest witnesses and enter ships, etc.

424. Power to commit for trial and bind over witnesses

425. Report by Court to Government

426. Investigation into causes of explosion or fire on board ship, etc.

427. Provisions of this Chapter to apply to certain other vessels

428. Convening of Marine Boards outside Bangladesh

429. Constitution and procedure of a Marine Board

430. Decision of Marine Board to be by majority

431. Powers of Marine Board

432. Penalty for obstructing proceedings before Marine Board

433. Application of Chapter

434. Power of Government to cancel or suspend certificate of master, mate or engineer

435. Delivery of cancelled or suspended certificates

436. Effect of cancellation or suspension of certificate

437. Suspended certificates not to be endorsed

438. Power of Government to cancel or suspend other certificates

439. Re hearing, etc.

440. Power of Government to revoke cancellation, etc.

441. Power of Government to censure master, mate or engineer

442. Finality of orders

443. Court of Survey

444. Constitution of Court of Survey

445. Powers and procedure of Court of Survey

446. Power of Government to make rules with respect to Court of Survey

447. Reference in difficult cases to scientific persons

448. Receivers of Wreck

449. Duty of Receiver where vessel is in distress

450. Power of Receiver in case of vessel in distress

451. Power to pass over adjoining lands

452. Power of Receiver to suppress, plunder and disorder by force

453. Rules to be observed by persons finding wreck

454. Investigation of certain matters in respect of vessels wrecked, etc.

455. Penalty for taking wreck at time of casualty

456. Taking wreck to foreign port

457. Notice to be given by Receiver

458. Immediate sale of wreck by Receiver in certain cases

459. Removal of wreck by harbour or conservancy authority

460. Claims of owners to wreck

461. Interfering with wrecked vessel or wreck

462. Search warrants where wreck is concealed

463. Right of Government to unclaimed wreck

464. Notice of unclaimed wreck to be given to persons entitled

465. Disposal of unclaimed wreck

466. Disputed title to unclaimed wreck

467. Delivery of unclaimed wreck by Receivers not to prejudice title

468. Salvage payable for saving life, cargo or wreck

469. Savings

470. Power to make rules respecting wreck and salvage

471. Limitation of liability of owner for damage

472. Power of Supreme Court to consolidate claims against owners, etc.

473. Part owner to account in respect of damages

474. Insurance of certain risks not invalid

475. Proof of Passengers on board ship

476. Definition of owner

477. Seaman’s lien for wages, etc.

478. Master’s lien.

479. Priorities

480. Certain persons to be deemed public servants

481. Jurisdiction of Magistrates

482. Place of trial of the offender

483. Enforcement of penalties in certain cases

484. Special provision regarding punishment

485. Offences by companies, etc.

486. Depositions to be received in evidence when witness cannot be produced

487. Procedure in certain allegations in desertion cases

488. Jurisdiction over ships lying off the coasts

489. Jurisdiction in case of offences on board ships

490. Power to detain foreign ship that has occasioned damage

491. Enforcing detention of ship

492. Levy of wages, etc. by distress of movable property

493. Levy of wages, fines, etc. by distress of ship

494. Notice to be given to consular representative of proceedings to be taken in respect of foreign ships

495. Service of documents

496. Proof of attestation not required

497. Application of fines

498. Fee for establishing or aiding training institutions

499. Inquiry into cause of death on board of Bangladesh ship

500. Power to appoint examiners and to make rules as to qualifications of Surveyor of ships

501. No person to practise as Surveyor of ships unless qualified

502. Penalty for practising as Surveyor of ships without certificate

503. Powers of Surveyors

504. Decision of Consular Officer to be final until ship returns to final port of discharge in Bangladesh

505. Penalty for hindering or obstructing execution of duties, etc.

506. General power to make rules

507. Penalty and procedure for breach of rules and regulations

508. Power to appoint officers to try certain offences, etc.

509. Power to appoint Committees on rules and scales

510. Power to exempt ships from the provisions of the Ordinance

511. Indemnity

512. Repeals

513. Savings