Merchant Shipping (Registration of Indian Ships) Rules, 1960

(Department of Transport)


New Delhi, the 17th December , 1960

        G.S.R. 1549 – In exercise of the powers conferred by clauses (c ) , (d), (e), (f), (g), (h), (i), (j), (k), (l ) and (m) of sub-section (2) of section 74 read with section 458 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 (44 of 1958) , the Central Government hereby makes the following rules namely :- 

1.     Short title, Commencement and application – (1) These rules may be called the Merchant Shipping (Registration of Indian Ships) Rules, 1960, as amended in 1966 and 1970. 

        (2) They shall come into force on the 1st January, 1961. 

        (3) They shall apply to every sea-going Indian ship which is fitted with mechanical means of propulsion, but do not apply to a ship not exceeding 15 tons net and employed solely in navigation on the coasts of India. 

2.     Definitions – In these rules, unless the context otherwise requires -

(a) “Act” means the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958.

(b) “central register” means the register book maintained by the Director General.

(c) “first registry” means the registry of a ship coming on the register book for the first time.

(d )“Government ship” means a ship belonging to the Central Government of a State Government other than a ship of the Indian Navy.

(e) “port of discharge” means the first port in India at which a ship discharges any part of her cargo;

(f)   “register book” means the register book kept under section 25 of the Act; 

(g) “registrar” means in relation to the port of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras, the Principal Officer of the Mercantile Marine Department of Bombay , Calcutta or Madras, as the case may be, and in relation to any other port, the authority appointed by the Central Government under section 24 of the Act; 

(h) “Re-registry” means the registry of a ship which has previously been on the Indian Register, but the registry of which was closed by reason of  wreck, abandonment constructive loss, sale to foreigners or for any other  reason. 

3.       Documents to accompany application for Registry – Every application for the registry of a ship under section 26 of the Act shall be accompanied by the following documents, namely : -  

(a)  the declaration of ownership;

(b)  the builder’s certificate, that is to say, a certificate signed by the builder of the ship and containing a true account of the proper denomination and of the tonnage of the ship as estimated by him and of the time when and the place  where she was built; and

(c)  if the ship has been purchased, the instrument of sale under which the property in the ship was transferred to the applicant. 

4.     Declaration of Ownership – Every declaration of ownership shall be made before a registrar, a Justice of the Peace, a Commissioner of Oaths, or an Indian Consular Officer and where a declaration of ownership is made at a place other than the port of registry, the place of attestation shall be stated in the declaration. 

5.     Survey and Measurement – After the registrar has satisfied himself as to the evidence of ownership he shall cause the ship to be surveyed by a surveyor and her tonnage ascertained in accordance with the Merchant Shipping (Tonnage Measurement of Ships) Rules, 1960 .  Thereafter, the surveyor shall grant a certificate of survey in respect of the ship. 

6.     Survey of ships at ports outside India – Where it becomes necessary for a ship to be surveyed for purposes of registration at a port outside India, the Director General may depute a surveyor or request the government of the country where the ship is lying to appoint a qualified surveyor to survey the ship for the issue of a certificate of survey.  

7.     Name of the ship – The owner or his agent shall give to the registrar at the intended port of registry notice of the name proposed for the ship at least fourteen days before the date on which he desires to effect the registry.  On receipt of the notice, the registrar shall send it forthwith to the Director General and shall not register the ship under that name unless it is approved by the Director – General.  

8.     Official Number – The registrar, on receipt of an application for registry shall apply to the Director-General for allotment of an official number. 

9.     Carving and Marking Note – Where in respect of a ship an official number has been allotted and the name approved by the Director General and the certificate of survey granted by the surveyor, the registrar shall issue to the owners a Carving  and Marking Note which shall be returned to the registrar after the carving and marking have been duly carried out and certified by a surveyor. 

10.Marking of ships – Every ship shall , before registry, be marked permanently and conspicuously to the satisfaction of the registrar as follows – 

(a)   her name shall be marked on each of her bows, and her name and the  name of her intended port of registry shall be marked on her stern , on a  dark background in white or yellow letters or on a light background in black letter which shall be not less than one decimeter or four inches in height and 1.3 centimeters or half an inch in breadth. 

(b)  her official number and the number denoting her registered tonnage shall be cut in on her main beam. 

(c)   Her scale of draught marks shall be cut or welded in feet and inches and in metres and decimeters in two columns side by side both forward and aft on the port and star board side respectively.  The relative position of the two rows of markings should be separated by a reasonable distance in order to avoid errors in reading them. 

        In the case of modern type of ships having a raked soft stem and cruiser stern, the marks shall be cut in or welded as close and aft of the stem as possible following the contour of the stem.  The marks aft or at the stern shall be cut a few feet forward of the after perpendicular in two columns parallel to each other.   

11.   Issue of Certificate of Registry – On completion of the preliminaries to registry, the registrar shall enter the particulars of the ship in the register book and issue to the owners a certificate of registry. 

12.         Acquisition of ships abroad – (1) If any ship is built or acquired out of India and becomes the property of persons qualified to own an Indian ship, the owner or master of the ship shall apply to the Indian Consular Officer at the nearest port for the issue of a provisional certificate of Indian registry and such officer may, on production of satisfactory proof of ownership, grant the same to the owner or master. 

13.   Temporary Pass for unregistered ships – (1) Where the owner of a ship has applied to the registrar of a port for her registration but there is delay in the issue of the certificate of registry or where the owner of a ship wants to proceed from a port in India where the ship has been built to the intended port of registry the owner may apply to the registrar of the port for the grant of temporary pass for plying the ship between the ports in India. 

(2)    The registrar to whom an application is made under sub rule (1) shall report the particulars of the case to the Director General for authorizing him to issue such a pass. 

(3)    The pass shall be granted on Registry Form No. 17 and bear the following endorsement at the back, namely :  

“ This is to certify that the Director General has, in pursuane of section 41 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 (44 of 1958), granted permission for the ship within described to pass as an Indian ship from _____________ to ___________ “___________, whose Certificate of Competency / Service is No.  _____________ is the master of the said ship”. 

14. Change of name of ship – (1) A change in the name of a ship already on the Indian register shall not be recorded in the register book unless the proposed change has been advertised in two principal newspapers circulating in the locality where the ship’s port of registry is situated and no objection has been lodged with the registrar. 

(2)    Copies of newspapers in which the advertisement has been published shall be sent to the registrar concerned to whom the Certificate of registry together with the prescribed fee shall be presented for recording the change of name.  

5.     Registry of alterations – (1) Every application for registry of alterations to a ship shall be made to the registrar within one month of the alterations. 

(2)    If the alterations consist of a change in the dimensions of the engine room or other closed-in spaces, 01 an addition to or removal of a poop or deck house, an increase or decrease in the crew space or an alteration from motor screw to steam screw or vice-versa, the registrar shall record the alterations in the register book and also in the certificate of registry of the ship. 

(3)    Where the alterations are material, that it to say, alterations in the hull affecting the principal dimensions of a ship or alterations in the means of propulsion, the registrar shall proceed to register the ship anew and thereupon the rules applicable for the first registry shall apply. 

16.   Registry anew at ship’s port – (1) Where an application is made to the registrar of a ship’s port of registry for registry of alterations and the alterations are such that the ship should be registered anew, the registrar shall call for the certificate of registry and also the declaration of ownership from the owner. 

(2)    Where a ship is registered anew, the original certificate of registry shall be cancelled, the existing entries in the register in respect of the ship shall be closed and new entries made bringing forward the outstanding encumbrances on the ship.

(3)     The original official number allotted to the ship shall be retained.

17.   Registry anew at other port – (1) Where any such application as is referred to in sub rule 16 is made to the registrar at a port other than the ship’s port of registry, the registrar shall issue a provisional certificate of registry and advise the registrar at the ship’s port of registry accordingly. 

(2)    The registrar shall also forward the certificate of survey, carving and marking note duly certified and the ship’s certificate of registry to the registrar at the ship’s port of registry. 

(3)    On receipt of the documents referred to in sub rule (2) and the declaration of ownership from the owner, the registrar of the ship’s port of registry shall, issue a new certificate of registry in respect of the ship. 

(4)    Before the issue of the new certificate , the owner shall surrender the provisional certificate of registry or the temporary pass as the case may be. 

18.   Transfer of Port of Registry – (1) If all persons interested in a ship as owners or mortgages desire that the registry of a ship shall be transferred from one port another port, they shall apply to the registrar of her port of registry who shall refer the application to the Director General for approval. 

(2)    One receipt of the Director General’s approval the registrar concerned, shall forward to the registrar of the intended port of registry an accurate transcript of the particulars of the ship and also the names of the parties appearing in the register book to be interested as owners or mortgages. 

(3)    The registrar of the intended  port of registry shall enter the particulars furnished to him in his register book. 

(4)    A new certificate of registry shall not be issued until the carving and marking note showing the new port of registry is returned to the registrar of the intended port of registry duly certified by a surveyor and the old certificate of registry has been surrendered.  

(5)    The fee for the transfer may be paid either at the old or the new port of registry. 

19.   Closing of Registry – (1) Where the registry of a ship is transferred under rule 18, the registrar of the original port of registry shall close the registry.  

(2)    When a notice under section 39 of the Act is received by a registrar of the ship’s port of registry, he shall close the relevant entry in the register book and cancel the certificate of registry, if the certificate has been received by him.  In all such cases, the reasons for closing the entry shall be recorded.  Provided that the registry shall not be closed so long as there are undischarged mortgages on the register.  

(3)    The cancelled certificate of registry, if any shall be forwarded to the Director General together with a report. 

(4) When the mortgage referred to in the proviso to sub-rule (2) is discharged, the Registrar shall record the discharge in the usual manner and thereafter finally close the registry and report the fact of closure to the Director General.

20.   Transfer of ships, shares, etc. – (1) When the owner of a ship desires to transfer the ship or a share therein, he shall apply to the Registrar of the ship’s port of registry for permission to do so with full particulars of the intended transferee.  

(2)    The Registrar shall, after making such inquiry as he may consider necessary, forward the application, with his recommendation, to the Director General for approval. 

21.   Instrument of sale – (1) A transfer of a registered ship or any share therein shall be effected by an instrument of sale in the appropriation form specified in Schedule I.  Where a consideration other than a money consideration is stated in the instrument of sale and the registrar is in doubt whether it constitutes good consideration or not, he shall refer the matter to the Director General for orders.  

(2)    In the case of joint ownership, all the joint owners shall join in the execution of the instrument of sale. 

22.   Recording of sale transaction – (1) On production of the instrument of sale accompanied by a declaration of ownership by the transferee together with the prescribed fee, the registrar of the ship’s port of registry shall make the necessary entries in the register book and endorse on the instrument the date and hour of the entry.  An endorsement regarding the change of ownership shall also be made as soon as possible on the ship’s certificate of registry. 

(2)    Every such transaction shall be reported to the Director General. 

23.   Transmission of property or interest in an Indian ship – The fee for recording a transmission of property in an Indian ship under section 44 of the Act, or of the interest of a mortgagee in a ship or share under section 54 of the Act shall be as specified in Schedule – II. 

24.   Sale of ship by order of Court -  An application for the sale of a ship under sub-section(2) of section 45, of the Act shall be made to the High Court within 60 days from the date of receipt of the report referred to in that sub-section. 

25.   Mortgage of ship or share therein – (1) Every instrument of mortgage of a registered ship shall be in one of the appropriate forms specified in Schedule – I.

(2)    On presentation of the mortgage instrument to the registrar of the ship’s port of registry, together with the prescribed fee, the registrar shall, if he is satisfied that the instrument is properly executed and that it does not contain notice of any trust, express, implied or constructive, proceed to record the transaction in the register book with the date and hour of acceptance, he shall also endorse on the mortgage instrument the fact of recording and the date and hour of acceptance.  

26.   Priority of Mortgage – When several mortgages on the same ship are recorded in the register book, their respective priorities shall be indicated in the appropriate column by capital letters A, B, C __________ in alphabetical order. 

27.   Discharge of Mortgage – (1) When the mortgage debt is fully discharged, the registrar shall, after satisfying himself that the receipt endorsed on the mortgage instrument is in order and that it is properly witnessed, make the entry relating to the discharge in the register book. 

(2)    No payment of an installment  of a mortgage debt shall be recorded by the registrar in the register book. 

28.   Registration of Mortgages executed and Discharged by companies – Where a mortgage of a ship is executed or discharged by a company, the registrar shall not register the mortgage or enter the discharge unless it has also been registered with the Registrar of Companies under section 134 of the Companies Act, 1956 or, as the case may be, a memorandum of satisfaction has been entered in the register of charges under section 138 of that Act. 

29.   Registration of Government ships : A Government ship may be registered in the same manner as other ships subject to the following modifications, namely :-  

(a) The application for registry shall be made by the Secretary of the Ministry or the Head of the Department to whom the management of the ship is entrusted or by any other officer nominated in this behalf by the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be, and shall contain the following particulars:- 

(i) the name and description of the ship;

(ii) a statement of the time when and the place where the ship was built, or  if the time and the place are not known a statement to that effect and of her foreign name if any;

(iii) a statement; of the nature of the title to the said ship; and

(iv) the name of the master
no declaration of ownership shall be necessary

      (c)  the registrar, on receiving such application and on compliance with the 
necessary formalities, shall enter the ship in the register book as belonging to the Government of India or the State Government, as the case may be;

(d)  the transfer of a registered government ship shall be made by an instrument of sale in the appropriate registry form omitting the covenant contained therein and shall be signed on behalf of the transfer or by a   person duly authorized by the Central Government or the State Government. 

30.         Registry of abandoned ships – (1) An application for the re-registration of an abandoned or wrecked ship under section 62 of the Act shall specify whether the owner desires to retain the ship’s previous name or to have a change. 

(2)      On completion of the preliminaries as for first registry the registrar shall re-register the ship and make the following entry in the register book in the space allotted for “number, date and port of previous registry (if any)” :- 

“Certificate of seaworthiness, dated at _____________, _______________ day of _________19_______ has been given as required under section 62 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958”. 

(3)      If the previous registry is at a different port, the registrar shall call for the particulars of the ship from the registrar of that port.  All outstanding mortgages or other encumbrances in the previous registry shall be brought forward in the new registry and shall be reported by the registrar at the previous port of registry. 

(4)      The particulars of the new registry shall be forwarded to the Director – General by the registrar of the port. 

31.    Signal Letters – (1) If the owner of any ship registered in India wishes to obtain signal letters to enable her to be known at sea, he shall make an application to the registrar of the ship’s port of registry. 

(2)      The registrar shall apply for an allotment of signal letters to the Director General who shall control the series.

(3) The signal letters shall  be noted in the register book and endorsed on the certificate  of registry by the registrar or buy any  other officer authorized to do so. 

(4)      As soon as an allotment of signal letters is made, the Director-General shall send a report to the Adviser, Wireless Planning and Co-ordination, Ministry of Transport and Communications, New Delhi. 

          32. Change of name of a Company -  Where a company in whose name a ship has been registered under these rules has changed its name subsequent to registration, the registrar shall, on production  of the certificate  of incorporation relating to the new name make a note of the change  of name in the register book in respect of each ship owned  by the company; every such change of name shall be reported to the Directorate General by the registrar.  

          33. Change of Master – When the master  having  command of registered ship is changed, the  owner shall give notice of the, change to the registrar at the port of registry or any other  officer  authorized by the Central  Government in this behalf and produce  to him  the certificate of registry for  endorsing  the change. The  endorsement shall  specify the name of the new  master, the date when the change was made and the number of the certificate of  competency or service of new master.  

          34. Grant  of new certificate of registry – (1)  An application for a new certificate of registry  under sub-section (1) or (2) of section 36 of the Act shall be made to the registrar at the ship’s port of registry.

          (2) Every duplicate certificate  granted under section 36 shall be clearly marked  “Duplicate” in red ink.

(3)  Where a duplicate certificate has  been granted on the ground  that the  original has been mislaid or lost and such original is subsequently found  or received by the owner, he shall  forthwith surrender the original certificate  to the registrar who shall cancel the same.

35.    Granting of certified copies of extracts from register book :-

(1)A certified copy of an entry appearing in the register book may be granted on application. 

(2) The fees for inspecting the register book and for obtaining certified copies of entries therein or other documents relating to the registry of ships shall be as specified in Schedule II to these rules.

 36.   Central Register – (1) The Director General shall maintain a central register which shall contain all the entries recorded in the register books kept by the registrars at the ports of registry in India.

(2)    On completion of the registry of a ship, the registrar shall immediately transmit to the Director-General a copy of the entry in the register book. 

(3) The particulars of every other transaction subsequently recorded in the register book shall also be reported forth with on the appropriate form to the Director General. 

37.   Returns and Reports – On or before the 15th of January each year, every registrar shall submit to the Director-General a return showing the number of ships with their tonnages registered in the register book during the previous year. 

38.   Forms – Every application, certificate, advertisement, declaration, return report or any other documents referred to in these rules shall, if a form therefore has been prescribed in Schedule I to these rules, be in the appropriate form. 

39. Fees – Fees shall be levied under these rules at the rates and for the purposes specified in Schedule II to these rules. 

40. Penalties – Whoever commits a breach of any of the provisions  of these rules, shall be punishable with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees and if the breach is a continuing one, with further fine which may extend to fifty rupees for every day after the first during which the breach continues.

(See rule 38)
Description of Forms                                                                Registry
                                                                                                  Form No.


Certificate of Indian Registry


Provisional Certificate of Registry granted by Indian Consular Officers


Declaration of Ownership by Individuals


Declaration of Ownership by Joint Owners


Declaration of Ownership on behalf of a company


Declaration of Ownership or interest on transmission by death of registered owner or mortgagee


Declaration of Ownership or interest on transmission by insolvency of registered owner or mortgagee


Instrument of Sale (Individuals or Joint Owners)


Instrument of Sale (Company)


Mortgage to secure Principal Sum and interest (Individuals or Joint Owners)


Mortgage to secure Principal Sum and Interest (Company)


Mortgage to secure Account Current, etc. (Individuals or Joint Owners)


Mortgage to secure Account Current, etc. (Company)


Provisional Certificate of Indian Registry


Notice of Name Proposed for an Indian ship


Notice of Change of Name


Certificate of Survey


Certificate of Survey of a Tug


Transcript of Register


Transaction subsequent to Registry


Application for Single Letters


Application for an Official Number


Report of allotment of Single Letters to the Ministry of Communication, Government of India


Carving and Marking Note


Annual Return of Ships


Register Book Form

26(a) & (b)



(See rule 39)   

On Initial Registry                                                                          Rs.

Ships not exceeding 50 tons gross                                                   15.00

Ships exceeding  50 tens gross but not exceeding 100 tons gross      20. 00

Ship exceeding 100 tons gross but not exceed 200 tons gross           30.00

For every 100 toNS gross or part c gross tons in excess of :

200 tons gross .                                                                              07.00

For supply of Duplicate copy of :   

Certificate of Registry                                                                       15 00

Provisional Certificate or Registry

For registry of transfer of ship/share or mortgage,   ,

transmission, registry anew, transfer of registry, re-registry     .

registry of alterations :—

According to the gross tonnage represented by the ship or share    

of ships transferred, etc. ,(e.g. transfer of 1/10 share in a ship

of 1000 tons gross is reckoned as the transfer of l0O tons gross)

Not exceeding 10 tons gross    .  .       .       . .     .                                 2.00

Exceeding 10 tons gross but not exceeding 20 tons gross       .       .       4.00

Exceeding 20 tons gross but not exceeding 30 tons gross       .               5.00

Exceeding 30 tons gross but not exceeding 40 tons gross . ‘                     7.00

Exceeding 40 tons gross but not exceeding50 tons gross .       .            10.00

Exceeding 50 tons gross but not exceeding 75 tons gross       .             12.00

Exceeding 75 tons gross but not exceeding 100 tons gross                   14.00

Exceeding 100 tons gross but not exceeding 125tons gross                  16.00 .

Forever or part of 50 tons gross in excess of

125 tons gross but noting excess of500 tons gross                                2.00

For every l0O tons gross or part of100 tons gross

500 ‘tons gross .                                                                                2.00


For Change of Name of a Ship

For a ship :     

Not exceeding 600 tons gross                                                          80.00.

Exceeding 600 tons gross but not exceeding 1,600 tons gross .       120.00

Exceeding 1,600 tons gross but not exceeding 3,000 tons gross.      170.00

Exceeding 3,000 ton5 gross but not exceeding 5,000 tons gross      210.00

Exceeding 5,000 tons gross but not exceeding 8,000 tons gross      250.00

Exceeding 8,000tons gross but not exceeding 10,000 tons gross     290.00

Exceeding 10,000 t(fl5 gross but exceeding I 5,000 tons gross .       330.00

Exceeding 15,000 tons gross b not exceeding-20,000 tons gross      370.OO

Exceeding 20,000 tons gross                                                         400.00

(‘The above fee covers the inspection of markings, the change of of name on the load line certificate, and on the Suez and Panama Canal certificates, and in the case of ships holding passenger certificates the issue of fresh declarations and passenger certificate showing the new name and any alterations in the ownership and port of registry The fee also covers the replacement of safety certificates, Safety Equipment Certificates, safety radio telegraphy certificates or safety radio telephony c or exemption certificates by certificates in the. new name.)

For the survey and certificate of seaworthiness before re-registry            Rs :

Of a ship whose registry has been closed on account of wreck, .


Under500tonsgross                                                                         100. 00

500 tons gross and under 750 tons gross                                          140. 00

750 tons gross and under 1000 tons gross                                        170 .00

For every additional 500 tons gross                                                    35 .00

(This fee covers the inspection of the crew accommodation and‘ the inspection of the lights and sound signal apparatus, but not the measurement of a ship’s tonnage. The fee also covers the survey for load line if the load line survey is held at the 6same time as the survey for seaworthiness and if the fee for survey for load line is not more, if it is more an extra fee to the feel laid down  above shall be paid to bring bring the total fee .paid up to the amount of the fee for the appropriate load line survey )       -

For Inspection of Register Book :

For each inspection .                                                                         2. 00

For inspecting Ship’s markings irrespective of the number of
visits required by the surveyor for inspection                                        40. 00

For Copies of or extracts from or searches, for, documents

For a certified copy of the particulars entered by the Registrar
in the Register Book on the registry of a ship, together with a

certified statement showing the ownership of the ship at that
time                                                                                                  5.00

For a certified copy of any declaration or document, a copy of •

Which is made evidence by the Merchant Shipping Act, 1953              5.00

For a certified copy of, or extracts from a document declared by
the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958,to be admissible in evidence,
each folio of 9O words or a p thereof                                                  2.00

Declaration of Ownership
Instrument of Sale                                                                           2.00
Instrument of Mortgage                                                                    per copy
Certificate of Registry (Initial issue)
Provision Certificate of Registry      

Change of Master                                                                             7.00

Extension of the period of Temporary Pass or Provisional Cer-
tificate f Indian Registry                                                                   15.00

For allotment of Signal Letters                                                         15.00 




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