The following is an abstract of the Act of the last session of Parliament, entitled " An Act to amend the laws in force for the Encouragement of British Shipping and Navigation." The provisions are so important, that they must enlist the attention of all connected with the commercial and maritime interests.
Clause 1 repeals the Act 8 and 9 Vic., c. 88. " An Act for the Encouragement of British Shipping and Navigation;" so much of the Act 8 and 9 Vic., c. 89, " An Act for the Registering of British Vessels," as limits the privileges of vessels registered at Malta, Gibraltar, and Heligoland, as provides,
first, that no ship or vessel shall be registered except such as are wholly of the build of some part of the British dominions ;
second, so much as relates to the disqualification of ships repaired in a foreign country ;
third, so much as prevents British ships which have been captured by or sold to foreigners, from being entitled to be registered as British ships, if becoming again the property of British subjects ;
also so much of the Act 8 and 9 Vic., c. 93, as provides that no goods shall be imported into or exported from, any of the British possessions in America, by sea, from, or to, any place other than the United Kingdom, or some other of such possessions, except into, or from the several ports, denominated free ports ; also so much as provides for the limitation of the privileges allowed to foreign ships by the law of navigation in respect of importations into the British possessions in Asia, Africa, and America ; and so much as provides that no vessel shall be admitted to be a British vessel on any of the inland waters or lakes of America, except such as shall have been built at some place within the British dominions, and shall not have been repaired beyond a certain extent in any foreign place ; also so much of 8 and 9 Vic., c. 86, as prohibits the importation of produce from the whale-fisheries, which shall have been cleared out regularly at some foreign port, or also prohibits the importation of tea, unless from the Cape of Good Hops or from places eastward of the same, to the Straits of Magellan; also so much of 7 and 8 Vic., c. 112, as provides that the master and owner of every ship belonging to any subject of Her Majesty, of the burden of 80 tons and upwards, (excepting pleasure yachts,) shall have on board one apprentice, or more, in proportion to the admeasurement of the vessel ; also an Act, (37 Geo. III., c. 117,) intituled " An Act for regulating the trade to be carried on with the British possessions in India by the ships of nations in amity with His Majesty ; also so much of the Act 4 Geo. IV., c. 80, as enacts that no Asiatic sailors, Lascars, or natives of any of the territories, countries, islands, or places within the charter of the East India Company, shall at any time be deemed or taken to be British seamen, within the meaning of any Act of Parliament relating to the navigation of British ships by subjects of Her Majesty ; also so much of the Act 4 Geo. IV., c. 77, as relates to the regulation of duties and drawbacks ; also the Act 5 George IV. c. 1, entitled "An Act to indemnify all persons concerned in advising, issuing, or acting under a certain Order in Council, for regulating the tonnage duties on certain foreign vessels," &c., &c. ; also so much of the Act 8 and 9 Vict., c. 90, as empowers Her Majesty in Council in certain cases, to direct that additional duties shall be levied on articles the growth, produce, or manufacture of foreign countries, or upon goods imported in the ships of foreign countries, or to prohibit the importation of manufactured articles the produce of foreign countries; also so much of the Act 5 and 6 Vic., c. 14, as enables Her Majesty, under certain circumstances, to prohibit the importation of corn, grain, meal, or flour, from the dominions of certain foreign powers.
Clauses 2, 3, and 4, provide that coasting vessels of the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man - coasters trading with the Channel Islands, or coasters trading in any of the British Possessions shall be British ships, and that no other vessels in such trade shall carry British goods or passengers.
Clause 5 enacts, That on petition from the Legislative authority in any British colony, or on the joint petition of any two Legislatures of British Possessions. Her Majesty in Council, may regulate the coasting trade of such colonies as to Her may seem meet.
Clause 6. That it shall be lawful for the Governor-General of India, in Council, to make any regulations authorizing or permitting the conveyance of goods or passengers from any part of the Possessions of the East India Company to another, other than in British ships, subject to such restrictions as he may deem necessary - such regulations to be submitted to the ordinary supervisions of parliament, &c., &c.
Clause 7. That no ship shall be admitted to be a British ship unless she be registered as such, and navigated to every part of the world by a British master and a crew composed at least of three-fourths of British seamen, or of trading with or between the Channel Islands, the whole of the crew to be British seamen, provided that if the due complement of British seamen be not procurable, or that any portion of them be destroyed in any vessel, reducing the proportions below three-fourths, on proof to the Collector or Comptroller of Customs of any port, such ship shall be taken to be duly navigated, and also, that in all ships not required to be wholly navigated by British seamen - one British seaman to every twenty tons, shall be deemed sufficient.
Clause 8. That no persons shall be considered British seamen, or qualified to act as masters of British vessels, save " natural born subjects of Her Majesty, persons legally naturalized, Asiatic sailors or Lascars, being natives of the possessions of the East India Company, and under the government of Her Majesty or the said Company, and persons who have served on board of any of Her Majesty's ships for the space of three years.
Clause 9. That Her Majesty may by proclamation alter the proportion of British seamen required by the Act for navigating British vessels.
Clause 10. That in case of certain prohibitions and restrictions on British ships at foreign ports, Her Majesty may impose such prohibitions and restrictions on the ships of such foreign countries, as she shall deem fit, and which shall place such ships on the same footing in British ports as that on which British ships are placed in the ports of such countries.
Clause 11. That Her Majesty, in Council, may impose additional duties of tonnage in case that British ships are either directly or indirectly subjected in any foreign country to any duties or charges of any sort from which the natural vessels of such country are exempt, or that duties are imposed on any articles imported or exported in British vessels, which are not imposed on similar commodities imported or exported in national vessels, or in all cases of undue preference either to national or other foreign vessels over British vessels.
Clause 12. That such order in Council (implied in the last clause) may specify what ships are to be considered as ships of the country or countries to which such order applies ; and all ships answering the descriptions shall be considered to be the ships of such countries for the purposes of the order.
Clause 13. That Her Majesty may revoke any order.
Clause 14. That all orders be published in the London Gazette and laid before Parliament.
Clause 15. That if any goods be imported, exported, or carried coastwise contrary to the provisions of this Act, all such goods shall be forfeited, and the master of such ship forfeit and pay the sum of £100.
Clause 16. That all penalties under the Act to be sued for, prosecuted, and recovered in like manner, as under the Act 8 and 9 Vic., c. 87, "An Act for the Prevention of Smuggling."
Clause 17. That all persons, natural born subjects of Her Majesty, as duly naturalized in Great Britain or any of the British Possessions are duly qualified owners or part owners of British registered vessels.
Clause 18. Merely enacts the form of the Certificate of Registry.
Clause 19. Provides the form of declaration by the owner or owners of any vessel previous to registry.
Clause 20. Enacts, That all vessels under 15 tons burthen, wholly owned and navigated by British subjects, although not registered as British ships, shall be admitted to be British vessels in the rivers and upon the coasts of the United Kingdom or of the British Possessions abroad, and not proceeding over sea, except within the limits of the respective Colonial Governments within which the managing owners of such vessels respectively reside, and that all vessels not exceeding 30 tons, employed in the Newfoundland fishery, shall be equally exempt.
Clause 21. The act to come into operation on the 1st January, 1850.
Clause 22. That the Act may be amended or repealed during the present Session of Parliament.
SG & SGTL ; Vol 7 ; Pages 4 - 5 ; 5 Jan 1850.