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The Bangladesh Merchant Shipping Ordinance, 1983

( Ordinance NO. XXVI Of 1983 )

Chapter 34

SHIPPING CASUALTIES, EXPLOSIONS AND FIRES

Shipping casualties and report thereof
415. (1) For the purpose of inquiries and investigations under this Part, a shipping casualty shall be deemed to occur when-
 
 
 
 
(a) on or near the coasts of Bangladesh, including the territorial waters thereof, any ship is lost, abandoned, stranded or materially damaged;
 
 
 
 
(b) any ship causes loss or material damage to any other ship on or near such coasts, or within such waters;
 
 
 
 
(c) any loss of life ensues by reason of any casualty happening to or on board any ship on or near those coasts, or within such waters;
 
 
 
 
(d) in any place, any such loss, abandonment, stranding, material damage or casualty as above mentioned occurs to or on board any Bangladesh ship, and any competent witness thereof is found in Bangladesh;
 
 
 
 
(e) any Bangladesh ship is lost or is supposed to have been lost, and any evidence is obtainable in Bangladesh as to the circumstances under which she proceeded to sea or was last heard of.
 
 
 
 
(2) In the cases mentioned in clause (a), (b) and (c) of sub-section (1), the master or other person in charge of the ship, or where two or more ships are concerned, in charge of each ship at the time of shipping casualty, shall give immediate notice of the shipping casualty to the officer appointed in this behalf by the Government; and if such officer is not the Principal Officer himself, he shall inform the nearest Principal Officer of the shipping casualty.
 
 
(3) In the case mentioned in clause (d) of sub section (1), where the master of the ship concerned, or, except in the case of a loss, where the ship concerned proceeds to any place in Bangladesh from the place where the shipping casualty has occurred, the master of the ship shall, on arriving in Bangladesh, give immediate notice of the shipping casualty to the nearest Principal Officer. (4) Any person bound to give notice under this section and wilfully failing to give the same shall be punishable with fine which may extend to twenty thousand Taka.
 
 
 
 
(5) Whenever any Principal Officer receives, by notice as aforesaid or otherwise, credible information that a shipping casualty has occurred, he shall forthwith communicate in writing the information to the Government.
Preliminary inquiry into shipping casualties
416. (1) On receipt of information that a shipping casualty has occurred, a preliminary inquiry may be held respecting the casualty, and if the Government so directs, by general or special order, such inquiry shall be held-
 
 
 
 
(a) where the shipping casualty occurs on or near the coast of Bangladesh, including the territorial waters thereof, by the Principal Officer at or near the place where the casualty occurs, or a Surveyor authorised by him; or
 
 
 
 
(b) where the shipping casualty occurs elsewhere, by the Principal Officer to whom the casualty has been reported or a Surveyor authorised by him;
 
 
 
 
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of sub section (1), the Government may appoint any person to hold a preliminary inquiry respecting any shipping casualty.
 
 
 
 
(3) Any person holding an inquiry under this section-
 
 
 
 
(a) 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 Ordinance apply, not unnecessarily detaining or delaying her from proceeding on any voyage;
 
 
 
 
(b) may enter and inspect any premises the entry or inspection of which appears to him to be necessary for the purpose of the inquiry;
 
 
 
 
(c) 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;
 
 
 
 
(d) may require and enforce the production of all books, papers or documents which he considers important for such purpose; and
 
 
 
 
(e) may administer oaths, or may, in lieu of requiring or administering an oath, require any person examined by him to make and subscribe a declaration of the truth of the statements made by him in his examination.
 
 
 
 
(4) An officer making a preliminary inquiry under this section shall send report thereof to the Government.
Judicial Inquiry by Court
417. (1) Where in any case it appears to the Government that a judicial inquiry should be held respecting a shipping casualty, whether a preliminary inquiry under section 416 respecting it has been held or not, it may direct an officer to make an application to a Court empowered under sub section (2) to make a judicial inquiry into such casualty and upon the making of such application, the Court shall make such inquiry.
 
 
 
 
(2) Magistrates of the first class specially empowered by the Government shall have jurisdiction to make judicial inquiries into shipping casualties under this Chapter.
Power of Court to inquire into charges against masters, mates and engineers
418. (1) A Court making an inquiry under section 417 may inquire into any charge of incompetency or misconduct arising, in the Courts of the inquiry, against any master, mate or engineer, as also into any charge of a wrongful act or default on his part causing the shipping casualty.
 
 
 
 
(2) In every case in which any such charge, whether of incompetency or misconduct, or of a wrongful act or default, as aforesaid, arise against any master, mate or engineer, in the course of an inquiry, the Court shall, before the commencement of the inquiry, cause to be furnished to him a statement of the case upon which the inquiry has been directed.
Power of Government to direct inquiry into charges of incompetency or misconduct
419. (1) The Government, if it has reason to believe that there are grounds for charging any master, mate or engineer with incompetency or misconduct, including drunkenness or tyranny, otherwise than in the course of an inquiry under section 417, may-
 
 
 
 
(a) if the master, mate or engineer holds a certificate under this Ordinance, in any case; and
 
 
 
 
(b) if the master, mate or engineer holds a certificate under the law of a country other than Bangladesh, in a case where the incompetence or misconduct has occurred on board a Bangladesh ship,
 
 
 
 
transmit statement of the case to any Court having jurisdiction under section 417 which is at or nearest to the place where it may be convenient for the parties and witnesses to attend, and may direct that Court to make an inquiry into that charge.
 
 
 
 
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of sub section (1), the Government may, where it considers expedient so to do, appoint a person to hold the inquiry if it has reason to believe that any master, mate or engineer is due to incompetency or misconduct unfit to discharge his duties, or that, in the case of a collision, he has failed to render such assistance or give such information as is required by section 372; and transmit a statement of the case to such person.
 
 
 
 
(3) Before commencing an inquiry under this section, the Court or the person appointed under sub section (2), shall cause the master, mate or engineer so charged to be furnished with a copy of the statement transmitted by the Government.
 
 
 
 
(4) Where the inquiry is held by a person appointed under sub section (2), that person, for the purpose of the inquiry, shall have all such powers as are specified in sub section (3) of section 416, and shall give a report of the case to the Government:
 
 
 
 
Provided that no such inquiry shall be held without giving the master, mate or engineer concerned an opportunity of making a representation.
Person accused to be heard
420. For the purpose of an inquiry by a Court under this Chapter into any charge against a master, mate or engineer, the Court may summon him to appear, and shall give him full opportunity of making a defence either in person or otherwise.
Power of Court as to evidence and regulation of proceedings
421. For the purpose of any inquiry under this Chapter, the Court making the inquiry, so far as relates to compelling the attendance and examination of witnesses and the production of documents and the regulation of the proceedings, shall have the same powers as are exercisable by that Court in the exercise of its criminal jurisdiction.
Assessors
422. (1) A Court making any such inquiry shall constitute as its assessors not less than two and not more than four persons, of whom one shall be a person conversant with maritime affairs and the other or others shall be conversant with either maritime or mercantile affairs:
 
 
 
 
Provided that, where the inquiry involves, or appears likely to involve, any question as to the cancellation or suspension of the certificate of a master, mate or engineer, two of the assessors shall be persons having also experience in the merchant service.
 
 
 
 
(2) The assessors shall attend during the inquiry and deliver their opinions in writing, to be recorded on the proceedings, but the exercise of all powers conferred on the Court by this Chapter or any other law for the time being in force shall rest with the Court.
 
 
 
 
(3) The assessors shall be chosen from a list to be prepared from time to time by the Government.
Power to arrest witnesses and enter ships, etc.
423. (1) If any Court making an inquiry under this Chapter thinks it necessary for obtaining evidence that any person should be arrested, it may issue a warrant for his arrest, and may, for the purpose of effecting the arrest, authorise any officer, subject, nevertheless, to any general or special instructions from the Government, to enter any vessel, and any officer so authorised may, for the purpose of enforcing the entry, call to his aid any officer of police or Customs or any other person.
 
 
 
 
(2) Where any officer of police or Customs or any person is called under sub section (1), it shall be the duty of such officer or person to render all such assistance as may be required by the Court.
Power to commit for trial and bind over witnesses
424. Whenever, in the course of any such inquiry it appears that any person has committed within the jurisdiction of any Court in Bangladesh an offence punishable under any law in force in Bangladesh, the Court making the inquiry may, subject to such rules consistent with this Ordinance as the Supreme Court may from time to time make, cause him to be arrested, or commit him or hold him to bail to take his trial before the proper Court, and may bind over any person to give evidence at the trial, and may for the purposes of this section, exercise all its powers as a Criminal Court.
Report by Court to Government
425. (1) The Court shall, in the case of all inquiries under this Chapter, transmit to the Government a full report of the conclusions at which it has arrived together with the evidence; and may make such recommendations as it may deem fit in regard to the various matters inquired into including a recommendation for the cancellation or suspension of any Certificate of Competency.
 
 
 
 
(2) Where the inquiry affects a master, mate or engineer of a ship other than a Bangladesh ship who holds a certificate under the law of a country other than Bangladesh, the Government may transmit a copy of the report together with the evidence to the proper authority in that country.
Investigation into causes of explosion or fire on board ship, etc.
426. (1) Whenever any explosion or fire occurs on board any ship on or near the coasts of Bangladesh, including the territorial waters thereof, or anywhere else on board any Bangladesh ship, an investigation into the causes of explosion or fire shall be made by such person or persons as the Government thinks fit.
 
 
 
 
(2) The person or persons referred to in sub section (1) may go on board the ship on which the explosion or fire has occurred with all necessary workmen and labourers, and remove any portion of the ship, of the machinery thereof, for the purpose of the investigation, and shall report to the Government or the person duly appointed by it, as the case may be, what in his or their opinion was the cause of the explosion or fires.
Provisions of this Chapter to apply to certain other vessels
427. The provisions of this Chapter relating to inquiries shall, mutatis mutandis, apply to fishing vessels as they apply to any other ship.
 
 
 
 

Chapter 35

MARINE BOARDS

Convening of Marine Boards outside Bangladesh
428. Wherever, outside Bangladesh-
 
 
 
 
(a) a complaint is made to a Bangladesh Consular Officer or a senior officer of any ship of the Bangladesh Navy in the vicinity, hereinafter referred to as “Naval Officer”, by the master or any member of the crew of a Bangladesh ship, and such complaint appears to the Bangladesh Consular Officer or Naval Officer, as the case may be, to require immediate inquiry, or
 
 
 
 
(b) the interest of the owner of a Bangladesh ship or of the cargo thereof appears to a Bangladesh Consular Officer or Naval Officer, as the case may be, to require such inquiry, or
 
 
 
 
(c) an allegation of incompetency or misconduct is made to a Bangladesh Consular Officer or Naval Officer against the master, mate or engineer of a Bangladesh ship, or
 
 
 
 
(d) any Bangladesh ship is lost, abandoned or stranded at or near the place where a Bangladesh Consular Officer or a Naval Officer may be, or whenever the crew or part of the crew of any Bangladesh ship which has been lost, abandoned or stranded arrives at that place, or
 
 
 
 
(e) any loss of life or any serious injury to any person has occurred on board a Bangladesh ship at or near that place,
 
 
 
 
the Bangladesh Consular Officer or Naval Officer, as the case may be, may, in his discretion, convene a Marine Board to inquire into the said complaint or allegation or the matter affecting the said interests or the cause of the loss, abandonment or the stranding of the ship, or of the loss of life or of the injury to the person.
Constitution and procedure of a Marine Board
429. (1) A Marine Board shall consist of the officer convening the Board and two other members.
 
 
 
 
(2) The two other members of the Marine Board shall be appointed by the officer convening the Marine Board from among persons conversant with maritime or mercantile affairs.
 
 
 
 
(3) The officer convening the Marine Board shall be the presiding officer thereof.
 
 
 
 
(4) A Marine Board shall, subject to the provisions of this Ordinance, have power to regulate its own procedure.
Decision of Marine Board to be by majority
430. Where there is a difference of opinion among members of the Marine Board, the decision of the majority of the members shall be the decision of the Board.
Powers of Marine Board
431. (1) While holding an inquiry under this Chapter, a Marine Board may exercise all or any of the powers specified in sub section (3) of section 416, as may be necessary in the circumstances of the case.
 
 
 
 
(2) A Marine Board may, after inquiring into and hearing the case,-
 
 
 
 
(a) if it is of opinion that the safety of a Bangladesh ship or her cargo or crew, or the interest of the owner of a Bangladesh ship or the owner of the cargo thereof, requires it, remove the master and appoint another qualified person to act in his stead;
 
 
 
 
(b) if it is of opinion that any master, mate or engineer of a Bangladesh ship is incompetent or has been guilty of any act of misconduct, or in a case of collision has failed to render such assistance or give such information as is required by section 372, or that loss, abandonment or stranding of or serious damage to any ship, or loss of life or serious injury to any person, has been caused by the wrongful act or default of any master, mate or engineer of a Bangladesh ship, suspend the certificate of that master, mate or engineer for a specified period;
 
 
 
 
(c) discharge a seaman from a Bangladesh ship and order the wages of any seaman so discharged or any part of those wages to be forfeited;
 
 
 
 
(d) decide any questions as to wages, fines or forfeitures arising between any of the parties to the proceedings;
 
 
 
 
(e) direct that any or all of the costs incurred by the master or owner of a Bangladesh ship, or on the maintenance of a seaman or apprentice while in prison outside Bangladesh, shall be paid out of, and deducted from, the wages of that seaman or apprentice, whether then or subsequently;
 
 
 
 
(f) if it considers such a step expedient, order a survey to be made of any Bangladesh ship which is the subject of inquiry;
 
 
 
 
(g) order the costs of proceedings before it, or any part of those costs, to be paid by any of the parties thereto, and may order any person making a frivolous or unjustified complaint to pay compensation for any loss or delay
 
 
caused thereby; and any costs or compensation so ordered to be paid by any person shall be paid by that person accordingly, and may be recovered in the same manner in which wages of seaman are recoverable, or may be deducted from the wages due to that person:
 
 
 
 
Provided that no such certificate shall be suspended unless the master, mate or engineer concerned has been furnished with a statement of the case in respect of which an inquiry has been ordered, and he has also been given an opportunity of making a defence either in person or otherwise.
 
 
 
 
(3) All orders made by a Marine Board shall, whenever practicable, be entered in the official log book of the ship which is the subject of inquiry, or of the ship on board whereof the casualty or occurrence of conduct inquired into took place, and be signed by the Presiding Officer of the Board.
 
 
 
 
(4) A Marine Board, shall, in the case of every inquiry under this Chapter, transmit to the Government a full report of the conclusions at which it has arrived, together with the evidence and any orders passed under this section.
Penalty for obstructing proceedings before Marine Board
432. If any person wilfully and without due cause obstructs the conduct of any hearing or enquiry by any Marine Board, he shall, for each offence, be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to ten thousand Taka, or with both.
Application of Chapter
433. The provisions of this Chapter shall apply to all Bangladesh ships whether registered or deemed to have been registered under this Ordinance or not so registered; and where they apply to such ships they shall apply to the owners, masters and crew of those ships.

Chapter 36

CANCELLATION AND SUSPENSION OF CERTIFICATES

Power of Government to cancel or suspend certificate of master, mate or engineer
434. Any certificate which has been granted by the Government under this Ordinance to any master, mate or engineer may be cancelled, or for a specified period suspended, by the Government in the following cases, that is to say,-
 
 
 
 
(a) if, on receipt of a report under sub section (4) of section 419, or under section 425, or under sub section (4) of section 431, the Government considers cancellation or suspension necessary;
 
 
(b) if the master, mate or engineer is proved to have been convicted-
 
 
 
 
(i) of any offence under this Ordinance or of any non bailable offence committed under any other law for the time being in force in Bangladesh or an offence involving moral turpitude and so committed; or
 
 
 
 
(ii) of an offence committed outside Bangladesh which, if committed in Bangladesh, would be a non bailable offence or an offence involving moral turpitude;
 
 
 
 
(c) if it has reason to believe that any master, mate or engineer is, or has become, unfit to discharge his duties.
Delivery of cancelled or suspended certificates
435. (1) A master, mate or engineer whose certificate has been cancelled or suspended by the Government, or has been suspended by a Marine Board, shall deliver his certificate-
 
 
 
 
(a) if suspended by a Marine Board, to that Board on demand;
 
 
 
 
(b) if not so demanded or if it is cancelled or suspended by the Government, to the Government or to such officer as the Government may direct.
 
 
 
 
(2) if a master, mate or engineer fails to comply with this section, he shall, for each offence, be punishable with fine which may extend to two thousand Taka.
Effect of cancellation or suspension of certificate
436. The cancellation or suspension of a certificate by the Government, or the suspension of a certificate by a Marine Board shall-
 
 
 
 
(a) if the certificate was issued under this Ordinance, be effective everywhere and in respect of all ships; and
 
 
 
 
(b) if the certificate was issued outside Bangladesh, be effective-
 
 
 
 
(i) within Bangladesh and the territorial waters of Bangladesh, in respect of all ships; and
 
 
 
 
(ii) outside Bangladesh, in respect of Bangladesh ship only.
Suspended certificates not to be endorsed
437. If the certificate of a master, mate or engineer is suspended under this part by the Government or by a Marine Board, no endorsement shall be made to that effect on the said certificate.
Power of Government to cancel or suspend other certificates
438. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Ordinance, the Government may, at any time, without any enquiry, cancel or suspend any certificate granted by it under this Ordinance other than a certificate granted to a master, mate or engineer, if, in its opinion, the holder is, or has become, unfit to act in the grade for which the certificate was granted to him:
 
 
 
 
Provided that no order under this section shall be passed by the Government unless the person concerned has been given an opportunity of making a representation against the order proposed.
 
 
 
 
(2) The provisions of clause (b) of sub section (1) of section 435, and sub section (2) of that section shall apply to certificates cancelled or suspended under this section as they apply to the delivery of cancelled and suspended certificates under that section.
Re hearing, etc.
439. (1) The Government may, either of its own motion or on receipt of an application from any person affected by an order under section 431, or section 434, or section 438, in respect of any case in which an inquiry has been held under this Part, order the case to be re heard, either generally or as to any part thereof, by any person or persons or by any Court, specially appointed or empowered for the purpose and shall, in respect of every case, so order-
 
 
 
 
(a) if new and important evidence which could not be produced at the inquiry has been discovered; or
 
 
 
 
(b) if, for any other reason, there has, in its opinion, been a miscarriage of justice.
 
 
 
 
(2) An application under sub section (1) shall be made in such form, within such time and on payment of such fees and a case shall be re heard in such manner, as may be prescribed.
 
 
(3) The provisions of sub section (3) of section 416, section 420, section 421 and section 425, shall, so far as may be, apply to every case re heard under this section as if the re hearing were in inquiry referred to therein.
Power of Government to revoke cancellation, etc.
440. (1) The Government may, in any case ordered to be re heard under section 439, on receipt of the report of re hearing, and in any case not so ordered, at any time, if it thinks that the justice of the case so requires,-
 
 
 
 
(a) revoke any order of cancellation or suspension made by it under section 434, or set aside any order of suspension made by a Marine Board under clause (b) of sub section (2) of section 431; or
 
 
 
 
(b) shorten or lengthen the period of suspension ordered by it under section 434, or by a Marine Board under the aforesaid clause; or
 
 
 
 
(c) re issue the certificate or grant in lieu thereof a certificate of a lower grade, in the ease of any certificate cancelled or suspended by it under section 434, or suspended by a Marine Board under the aforesaid clause:
 
 
 
 
Provided that no order under clause (b) lengthening the period of suspension of a certificate shall be passed unless the person concerned has been given an opportunity of making a representation against the order proposed.
 
 
 
 
(2) A Certificate granted under clause (c) of sub section (1) shall have the same effect as if it had been granted after examination.
Power of Government to censure master, mate or engineer
441. Where it appears to the Government that, having regard to the circumstances of the case, an order of cancellation or suspension under section 434 is not justified or where it revokes or sets aside an order of cancellation or suspension under clause (a) of sub section (1) of section 440, it may pass an order censuring the master, mate or engineer in respect of his conduct.
Finality of orders
442. Subject to the foregoing provisions of this Chapter, all orders of a Marine Board under clause (b) of sub section (2) of section 431, and all orders of the Government under this Chapter shall be final, and shall not be called in question in any Court.
 
 
 
 

Chapter 37

COURTS OF SURVEY AND SCIENTIFIC REFEREES

Court of Survey
443. (1) if a Surveyor authorised to inspect a ship-
 
 
 
 
(a) makes a statement in his report of inspection with which the owner or his agent or the master of the ship is dissatisfied, or
 
 
 
 
(b) gives notice under this Ordinance of any defect in any ship, or
 
 
 
 
(c) declines to give any certificate under this Ordinance,
 
 
 
 
the owner, master or agent, as the case may be, may, subject to the provisions of sub section (2) of section 447, appeal to a Court of Survey.
 
 
 
 
(2) Whenever a Surveyor inspects any ship, he shall, if the owner, master or agent of the ship so requires, be accompanied on the inspection by some person nominated by the owner, master or agent, as the case may be, and if the person so nominated agrees with the Surveyor as to the statement made or the notice given by the Surveyor or the refusal by the Surveyor to give a certificate, there shall be no appeal to a Court of Survey from that statement, notice or refusal.
Constitution of Court of Survey
 
 
444. (1) A Court of Survey for a port shall consist of a Judge, sitting with two assessors.
 
 
 
 
Explanation.- “Judge” means a District Judge, a Judge of Court of Small Causes, a Magistrate of the first class or other fit person appointed in this behalf by the Government, either generally or for any specified case.
 
 
 
 
(2) The assessors shall be persons of nautical, engineering or other special skill or experience.
 
 
 
 
(3) Subject to the provisions of Part VI as regards ships other than Bangladesh ships, one of the assessors shall be appointed by the Government either generally or for any specified case and the other shall be summoned by the Judge in the manner prescribed out of a list of persons prepared by the Government for the purpose from time to time, or, if there is no such list or if it is impracticable to procure the attendance of any person named in such list, shall be appointed by the Judge.
Powers and procedure of Court of Survey
445. (1) The Judge shall, on receiving notice of an appeal or a reference from the Government, immediately summon the assessors to meet forthwith in the prescribed manner.
 
 
 
 
(2) The Court of Survey shall hear every case in open Court.
 
 
 
 
(3) The Judge and each assessor shall, for the purposes of this Ordinance have the same powers of inspection, and of enforcing the attendance of witness and the production of evidence, as are by this Ordinance conferred on a Detaining Officer.
 
 
 
 
(4) The Judge may appoint any competent person to survey the ship and report thereon to the Court.
 
 
 
 
(5) The Judge shall have the same power as the Government has to order the ship to be released or finally detained; but, unless one of the assessors concurs in an order for the detention of the ship, the ship shall be released.
 
 
 
 
(6) The owner and master of the ship and any person appointed by the owner or master and also any person appointed by the Government may attend at any inspection or survey made in pursuance of this section.
 
 
 
 
(7) The Judge shall report the proceedings of the Court in each case to the Government in the manner prescribed, and each assessor shall either sign such report or report to the Government the reasons for his dissent.
Power of Government to make rules with respect to Court of Survey
446. (1) The Government may make rules to carry out the purposes of this Chapter.
 
 
 
 
(2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may provide for all or any of the following matters, namely:-
 
 
 
 
(a) the procedure before a Court of Survey;
 
 
 
 
(b) the requiring, on an appeal, of security for costs and damages;
 
 
 
 
(c) the amount and application of fees; and
 
 
 
 
(d) the ascertainment, in case of dispute, of the proper amount of costs.
Reference in difficult cases to scientific persons
447. (1) If the Government is of opinion that an appeal to a Court of Survey involves a question of construction or design or of scientific difficulty or important principle, it may refer the matter to such one or more out of a list of scientific referees to be, from time to time, prepared by the Government as may appear to possess the special qualifications necessary for the particular case and may be selected by agreement between a person duly appointed by the Government in this behalf and the appellant, or in default of any such agreement by the Government; and thereupon the appeal shall be determined by the referee or referees instead of by the Court of Survey.
 
 
 
 
(2) The Government, if the appellant in any such appeal so requires and gives security to its satisfaction to pay the costs of and incidental to the reference, shall refer such appeal to a referee or referees selected as aforesaid.
 
 
 
 
(3) The referee or referees shall have the same powers as a Judge of the Court of Survey.
 
 

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Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs