Sailing Vessels


8.1. Definition : Section 3(39) of the Merchant Shipping Act 1958 defines the Sailing Vessel as under

"Any description of vessel provided with sufficient sail area for navigation under sails alone, whether or not fitted with mechanical means of propulsion and includes a rowing boat or canoe but does not include a pleasure craft".

8.2. Chapter of M.S. Act applicable to Sailing Vessels.

Part XV of the M.S. Act deals exclusively with Sailing Vessels. This part applies to Sailing Vessels which fulfil the following requirements:

(i) The sailing vessel is "Seagoing" as defined in Section 3(41) of the Act
(ii) It is owned by a citizen of India or a company or a Cooperative Society which satisfies the requirements specified in Section 21. The review Committee has recommended to include Statutory body also.

By various notifications certain Sections of the Act initially framed for vessels other than sailing vessels have been made applicable to sailing vessels. These sections are: -

3(9), 3(10), 3(24), 3(36), 23, 24, 25, 45, 46, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 71, 109, 110, 161, 162, 163, 165, 166, 167, 290, 334, 336, 337, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 357, 358, 359, 360, 361, 362, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 382, 383, 385, 388, 389, 443, 444, 445, 446, 448 & 452


All Sea going sailing vessels owned by a Citizen of India or a Company or a co-operative Society as indicated in Section 21 of the Part V of M.S. Act 1958 shall be registered in accordance with the provisions of the Merchant Shipping (Registration of Sailing vessels) Rules, 1960 as amended from time to time. Part XV of the M.S. Act exclusively deals with the sailing vessels. Formalities regarding registration of such vessels are given below:


(1) Every application for the registry of a sailing vessel under section 417 of the Act shall be made in SVR form I to the registrar of the port of registry nearest to the place where the owner resides or where the vessel is built or may be based.

(2) Every such application shall be accompanied by :

(a)a declaration of ownership by the applicant in SVR Form II or III as the case may be:
(b) the documents of title to the vessel;
(c) the builder's certificate; provided that, in any case in which it is not reasonably practicable to produce the builder's certificate, the registrar may dispense with the same.


(1) When applying for the registry, the owner shall specify the same which he proposes to adopt for the vessel.

(2) If the name proposed by the owner is the same as or similar to the name by which any other sailing vessel has been previously registered at that port of registry, the registrar may require the owner to suggest some other name under which the vessel may registered.

(3) When the name suggested by the owner has been approved by the registrar, the vessel shall be registered under that name. OFFICIAL NUMBER :

(1) If the registrar is satisfied about the nationality of the applicant and his title to the vessel, the registrar shall assign to the vessel an official number from a consecutive series maintained at each port of registry preceded by 3 distinguishing letters indicating the port of registry.

(2) The official number once assigned to a vessel shall not be changed except when the vessel is registered again at another port of registry nor shall the official number, on cancellation of the registry of vessel or otherwise, be reassigned to another vessel.


(1) The registrar shall, after the tonnage of the vessel has been ascertained in accordance with the Merchant Shipping (Tonnage Measurement of sailing vessels) Rules, 1960, enter the particulars of the vessel in the register in SVR Form IV kept by him for the purpose and grant a certificate of registry.

(2) Every certificate of registry granted under sub-rule(l) shall be in SVR Form V.

(3) The certificate of registry shall, on demand by a registrar, any officer of the Customs or of the Mercantile Marine Department or a Regional Officer (sails), be produced by the owner or the tindal.


(1) The code letters indicating the port of registry, the name of the vessel by which it is registered and the official number assigned to it shall be painted in white oil colour against a black background on both quarters of the vessel near the stern.

(2) All letters and figures painted shall be of such size as the registrar may determine in each case but shall not be less than one decimetre in height and two centimetres in width.

(3) The letters and figures referred to above shall also be painted in suitable size on the dinghies attached to the vessel.


(1) The name of a vessel under which it has been registered shall not, after such registry, be altered or changed except with the approval of the registrar

(2) Every application for the change of name of a vessel shall be made to the registrar of the vessel's port of registry and shall specify the reasons for the proposed change. The registrar may if he is satisfied that the change proposed is reasonable and necessary, approve the change.

(3) Where the name of the vessel which is mortgaged is sought to be changed, the consent of the mortgagee shall also be obtained for the proposed change.

(4) The new name which has been approved by the registrar shall be entered in the register and in the certificate of registry of that vessel.


(1) An application for the registry of alterations to a vessel shall be made in SVR Form VI within one month of such altrerations, to the registrar of the port where the vessel is registered.

(2) Where the alternations are not substantial, that is to say, do not materially affect the dimensions or the tonnage of the vessel or its carrying capacity, the registrar shall enter the alternations in the register and also in the certificate of registry of the vessel.

(3) Where the alterations materially affect the dimensions, the tonnage or the carrying capacity of the vessel. The registrar shall proceed to register the vessel anew.


(1) If all the persons having an interest in a vessel, whether as owner or mortgagee desire that the registry of the vessel should be transferred from one port to another, they may apply in SVR Form VII to the registrar of the port of registry for such transfer.

(2) The registrar shall, if he is satisfied that the proposed transfer is unobjectionable, transmit the particulars of the vessel and the encumbrances, if any thereon, to the registrar of the intended port of registry.

(3) The registrar at the intended port of registry, after he is satisfied that the new official number with the code letters of the port are duly marked on the vessel in accordance with the provisions of the rules shall issue a fresh certificate of registry and communicate to the registrar of the original port of registry the official number assigned to the vessel and the date of its registry.


(1) Where the registry of a vessel is transferred under rule 10 of M.S. (Registration of sailing vessels) Rules 1960, the registrar of the original port of registry shall close the registry of the vessel in his register.

(2)Where the registry of a vessel at any port is closed under section 425 of the Act, or under Para (1), the registrar of the port shall forthwith submit to the Director General of Shipping a statement of the particulars of the vessel whose registry is closed and the circumstances in which the registry is closed.


(1) The owner, or in the case of joint ownership all the owners, of a vessel desiring to transfer the vessel or any interest therein shall apply to the registrar of the port of registry for permission to do so.

(2) The registrar shall, after making such enquiry as he thinks necessary, forward the application together with his recommendation thereon to the Director General of Shipping for approval.

(3) If the proposed transfer is approved, and after the sale has been affected, the transferee shall present to the registrar of the port a declaration of ownership, the instrument of transfer and the existing certificate of registry of the vessel; and thereupon, the registrar shall enter the particulars of the transfer in his register and issue a fresh certificate of registry.


(1) Every instrument of mortgage of a vessel or any interest therein shall be in SVR Form VIII or SVR Form IX, as the case may be.

(2) The registrar shall, after satisfying himself that the instrument is properly executed, record the same in his register with the date and hour of acceptance and shall also make an endorsement to that effect on the mortgage instrument.

(3) Where there are two or more mortgages on the same vessel, their respective priorities shall be indicated in the register in the appropriate column by the letters A, B, C, ��� in alphabetical order.

(4) Where a vessel belonging to a company is mortgaged, the register shall not register the mortgage unless it has also been registered with the Registrar of Companies under section 134 of the Companies Act, 1956.

(5) 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 and, where the mortgage is by a company, also that a memorandum of satisfaction has been entered in the register of charges under section 138 of the Companies Act, 1956, make an entry in the register relating to the discharge of the mortgage.

(6) No payment of any installment of a mortgage debt shall be recorded in the register. 8.


(1) Where the title to a vessel devolves on any person by operation of law, such person shall apply to the registrar specifying the circumstances in which he has acquired title to the vessel and also adducing evidence of such acquisition.

(2) If the registrar, after making such enquiry as he thinks fit, is satisfied about the claim of the applicant, he shall register the particulars of the change of ownership in his register and also endorse the particulars in the certificate of registry of the vessel.


(1) Where a vessel is registered in the name of a person as the guardian of a minor, the ownership of the vessel shall remain with the minor, and on attainment of majority, he may apply to the registrar for altering the entries in the register relating to the vessel.

(2) The registrar shall then issue a fresh certificate in the name of the applicant.

(3) No fee shall be charged for issuing a certificate of registry as per Para (2) above.


(1)Where an application for the registry or the registry anew of a vessel is pending before a registrar and the registrar is, having regard to the circumstances of the case, of opinion that the vessel should not be detained at the port till the issue of the certificate of registry, he may issue a provisional certificate of registry in SVR Form X.

(2) Every provisional certificate issued shall specify the particulars of the vessel and of the owner and tindal thereof, or in the case of registry anew, the particulars as entered in the original certificate of registry.

(3) A provisional certificate shall be valid for such period not exceeding three months as may be specified therein. Provided that the Registrar may, if he is satisfied that, in the circumstances of the case it is necessary to do so, extend the period of validity by a further period not exceeding two months.

(4) The provisional certificate shall, on the expiry of the period of its validity or at the time of the issue of a regular certificate of registry, whichever is earlier, be surrendered to the registrar.


(1) The registrar may, on application made by the owner in this behalf, issue a duplicate copy of a certificate of registry clearly marked "DUPLICATE" in red ink if he is satisfied that the original certificate has been destroyed, lost, mislaid, mutilated or defaced.

(2) Every application for a duplicate copy of a certificate of registry shall be accompanied by a declaration regarding the circumstances in which the original certificate was destroyed, lost, mislaid, mutilated or defaced.

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

(4) A duplicate copy of the certificate of registry shall not be granted on the ground that the original has been mutilated or defaced unless the mutilated or defaced certificate is surrendered to the registrar.


(1) The Director-General shall maintain a central register which shall contain all the entries recorded in the registers kept by the registrars.

(2) On completion of the registry of a vessel at a port, the registrar of the port shall immediately transmit to the Director-General a copy of the entries in his register relating to the vessel.

(3) The particulars of every other transaction subsequently recorded in the register shall also be reported forthwith to the Director-General,


(1) The register maintained by a registrar shall, on application made in this behalf and on payment of the prescribed fee, be open to inspection during office hours by any person.


Every declaration of ownership under these rules shall be made before a registrar of sailing vessels, Justice of Peace, a Magistrate of the first class, a Mamlatdar or a Commissioner of Oaths.

8.3.18. FEES

Fees shall be levied under these rules at the rates and for the purpose specified in Schedule III. The fees shall paid to the registrar along with the application recording the transaction.


Whoever commits a breach of any of the provisions of these rules shall be Punishable with fine as prescribed. 8.4. PORT OF REGI


Ports of Registry and Registrar of Sailing Vessels have been notified by Central Govt. in terms of Section 23 and 24 of the Act. (List attached at Annex - 5)


The tonnage measurement of sailing vessels is required to be carried out in terms of the provisions of the Merchant Shipping (Tonnage Measurement of Sailing Vessels) Rules, 1960 which came into force on 1st January 1961. The rules have been framed in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 435 of the Act.

The tonnage of the vessel is shown in the Register of Sailing Vessels, the vessels Registration Certificate and the Inspection Certificate. 8.6.

Assignment of Freeboard to sailing vessels with a view to prevention of overloading or overcrowding - The Assigning authority and the procedure to be followed are prescribed in the Sailing Vessels (Assignment of Freeboard) Rules, 1960 framed under Section 420 of the Act. The Rules came into force on the 1st January 1961. The main features of these rules are

(i) Vessel to be certified - No vessel shall ply or proceed to sea unless it has been assigned the freeboard, and a freeboard certificate issued in respect thereof in accordance with these rules.

(ii) Application for assignment of freeboard � every application for the assignment of free board and the issue of a freeboard Certificate shall be made to the Assigning Authority and be accompanied by the fee specified in the Rules.

(iii) Survey-on receipt of application, the Assigning Authority shall cause the vessel to be surveyed and a report on the result of the survey furnished to the Assigning Authority.

(iv) Computation of freeboard -The freeboard for vessels shall be computed in accordance with the Table appearing in the Rules.

(v) Markings -The owner of the vessel shall cause to be marked on each side of the vessel the particulars of the deck and the freeboard lines and also disc in the manner provided in the Rules.

(vi) Issue of Certificate - When the markings have been cut to the satisfaction of the Surveying Authority, the Assigning Authority shall issue a freeboard certificate in respect of the vessel in the prescribed form valid for one year.

(vii) Renewal of certificate - A free Board Certificate may be renewed for a period not exceeding one year at a time upto a maximum of five years.

(viii) Certificate to be exhibited on vessel � The Freeboard Certificate shall be exhibited in a conspicuous part of the vessel when it is in use.

(ix) No vessel shall be so loaded that the marking of the free board line is submerged.

A Sailing Vessel attempting to ply or proceed to sea without free board marking or any sailing vessel which has been so loaded as to submerge such markings may be detained by a proper officer until free board markings are made in this behalf or the vessel is so loaded that such markings are not submerged (Section 420).

8.7. Carriage of Life Saving Appliances - Every Sailing Vessel is required to be equipped with life saving appliances for classes VII and XII under the Indian Merchant Shipping (Life Saving Appliances) Rules 1956. The relevant provisions are mentioned below in respect of each category.

CLASS VII - Sailing vessels carrying more than 12 passengers.

(i) Vessel shall carry one or more lifeboats or boats of sufficient aggregate capacity to accommodate all persons on board. The boats shall be so stowed that they can readily be placed in the water on either side of the Sailing Vessel.
(ii) Whenever it is reasonable and practicable, the vessel shall be fitted with a set of devits, for each boat so carried.
(iii) Vessel shall carry at least four approved lifebuoys half of which shall be fitted with self igniting lights which cannot be extinguished in water.

CLASS XII - Sailing vessels which proceed to sea and do not carry more than 12 passengers

(i) Every vessel of 60 tons gross tonnage or over shall be provided with life boats or boats of sufficient aggregate capacity to accommodate all persons on board. The boats shall be so stowed that they can be readily placed in the water on either side of the ship.
(ii) Every vessel of less than 60 tons gross tonnage shall be provided with a lifeboat or boat or approved buoyant apparatus which singly or collectively provide sufficient aggregate capacity to accommodate or support all persons on board.
(iii) Every vessel shall carry at least two approved lifebuoys.
(iv) Every vessel shall carry one approved life jacket for each person on board.

It would be clear from the above that sailing vessels which are exclusively engaged in fishing are also required to comply with LSA requirements.

Section 290 of the Act which provides for inspection of these appliances by a surveyor, has been extended to sailing vessels as indicated above and sailing vessels exclusively engaged in fishing which are exempted from the sailing vessel (Inspection) Rules 1962 can be inspected by a Surveyor by virtue of the provisions contained in Section 290.

8.8. Inspection of Sailing Vessels - Section 421of the M.S. Act, 1958 provides that no sailing vessel shall ply or proceed to sea unless there is in force, in respect of that vessel a Certificate of Inspection granted under part XV of the Act, the same being applicable to voyage on which she is about to ply or proceed. It is also provided that no Customs Collector shall grant a Port Clearance to a Sailing Vessel registered under Part XV until after the production by the owner or tindel thereof a Certificate of Inspection in respect of the vessel.

Detailed rules in regard to sailing vessels have been framed in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 435 read with Section 457 of the Act and these Rules are called the Sailing Vessels (Inspection) Rules, 1962. They do not apply to Sailing Vessels exclusively engaged in fishing (Rule 1(3) of the Rules). Such vessels are, however, not exempt from the requirements of IMS (Life Saving Appliances) Rules, 1956 as indicated under item 8.7 above. The Rules specify the form of Application for Inspection and the Certificate of Inspection, the Inspecting Authority, the preparation for Inspection, the equipment to be carried by sailing vessels and other connected procedure. The Rules also provide the procedure for fitting of Auxiliary Engines and their inspection.

8.9 Maintenance of Statement of Crew - Section 429 M. S. Act, 1958 provides that every owner or tindel of a sailing vessel shall maintain or cause to be maintained in the prescribed form a Statement of the crew of the vessel containing with respect to each member thereof (a) his name, (b) the wage payable to him (c) the names and addresses of his next of kin (d) the date of commencement of his employment and (e) such other particulars as may be prescribed.

It also provides that a copy of the statement and of every change entered therein shall be communicated as soon as possible to the Registrar of the Port of Registry of the vessel concerned.

A form has been prescribed for this purpose under the Sailing vessels (Statement of Crew) Rules, 1960.

8.10 The provisions relating to the Employment of young persons, crew of Sai1ing Vessels in distress abroad. Provisions relating to safety of Sailing Vessels and Investigation and Inquiries into casualties to Sailing Vessels are governed as per the provisions given in the M. S. Act for their vessels and the applicability of which has been extended to the sailing vessels. The provisions relating to Penalties for contravention are indicated in Para XVI of the M. S. Act.

8.11. Jettisoning of cargo by Sailing Vessels - In terms of Section 430 of the Act, every owner/tindel of a sailing vessel who has jettisoned or claims to have jettisoned the whole or any part of the cargo of the vessel on account of abnormal weather conditions or for any other reason is required to give notice of such jettisoning to the proper officer after arrival of the vessel at any Port in India who is required to send a Report to the Central Government in the matter and also to make inquiry into the jettisoning.

8.12. Miscellaneous - According to a scheme finalised in1965, the Central Government grants loans to maritime State Governments who in turn apportion the Loans to the owners of Sailing vessels for the mechanisation or for construction of mechanised sailing vessels. The recovery of the loans, which are at concessional rates, is watched by the State government who repay the loans to the Central Government at normal rates and on the terms governing the loans from the Central Government to the State Government.

8.13. Regional Offices (Sails) -As per the recommendation of the Sailing Vessels Committee under the Chairmanship of Shri C.A. Buch, the Regional Officer (Sails) were established in 1954 at the following ports :-

(1) Mumbai
(2) Jamnagar
(3) Calicut
(4) Tuticorin

8.13.1 Functions - The following are the functions of Regional Offices (Sails): -

(i) To assess and divert more cargo through sailing vessels which is one of the cheapest mode of transport and to arrange suitable sailing vessels to the shippers for the shipment/transhipment of their cargo.

(ii) To ensure the smooth transhipment of cargo at the destinations.

(iii) To arrange experienced crewmembers in the newly constructed sailing vessels as per the owner's request.

(iv) To encourage construction of new mechanised sailing vessels and also mechanisation of existing sailing vessels.

(v) To assist the sailing vessel interests to get necessary financial assistance from the Nationalised Banks/Central Government through respective Maritime State Governments for the construction of mechanised sailing vessels and mechanisation of existing sailing vessels.

(vi) To settle all kinds of disputes between the owners/shippers / crew members and also to settle disputes with regard to the Insurance claims.

(vii) To make arrangements for adequate training to the crew members, such as Seaman / Tindals, etc. The training enables the crew to control the vessel in the high seas and also to protect the cargo and their lives during the adverse weather, etc.

(viii) Engagement and discharge of crew members in sailing vessels and to issue identity cards of seamen (sails) to the crew members and also renew the Identity Cards at the appropriate time.

(ix) To look after the welfare of the seaman under sails.

(x) To advice the sailing vessel owners to have Janata Accidental Policy for crew members before taking them into the sea.

(xi) To make arrangements to search and locate the missing sailing vessels and crew members and arrange them the medical assistance, food and shelter and also repatriate them to the home town, if so required.

(xii) To render all assistance to the crew to get legitimate compensation from his employer due to his disablement or to the dependants of the crews for the loss of life of the seaman, while in his employment, under the Workmen's Compensation Act.

(xiii) To prevent collision in the mid-sea.

(xiv) To watch the sea worthiness of the vessel & maintenance of all kinds of specified equipment and life saving appliances in the vessel.

(xv) To collect and compile various types of statistical data for the development of the sailing vessels.

The whole responsibility with regard to the sailing vessels in the respective region rests with the Regional Officer (Sails) on behalf of the Director General of Shipping, Mumbai under the Ministry of Surface Transport.

8.13.2. Jurisdiction of various offices.

Regional Office (Sails), JamnagarFrom Pakistan India border to Gulf of Cambay (excluding)

Regional Office (Sails), MumbaiGulf of Cambay including to Majali port Karnataka (excluding)

Regional Office (Sails),CalicutMajali port Karnataka including to Kollachal (excluding) Tamil Nadu and Union Territory of LakshaDeep.

Regional Office (Sails), TuticorinKollachal including to the rest of Bay of Bengal and including Andaman Nicobar Island.

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