Section 1 in The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Act 2017

Title: Short title and commencement

Description: (1) This Act may be called the Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Act, 2017. (2) It shall apply to every vessel, irrespective of the place of residence or domicile of the owner: Provided that this Act shall not apply to an inland vessel defined in clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Inland Vessels Act, 1917 (1 of 1917), or a vessel under construction that has not been launched unless it is notified by the Central Government to be a vessel for the purposes of this Act: Provided further that this Act shall not apply to a warship, naval auxiliary or other vessel owned or operated by the Central or a State Government and used for any non-commercial purpose, and, shall also not apply to a foreign vessel which is used for any non-commercial purpose as may be notified by the Central Government. (3) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.

Title: Definitions

Description: (1) In this Act,— (a) “admiralty jurisdiction” means the jurisdiction exercisable by a High Court under section 3, in respect of maritime claims specified under this Act; (b) “admiralty proceeding” means any proceeding before a High Court, exercising admiralty jurisdiction; (c) “arrest” means detention or restriction for removal of a vessel by order of a High Court to secure a maritime claim including seizure of a vessel in execution or satisfaction of a judgment or order; (d) “goods” means any property including live animals, containers, pallets or such other articles of transport or packaging or luggage irrespective of the fact whether such property is carried, on or under the deck of a vessel; (e) “High Court”, in relation to an admiralty proceeding, means any of the High Court of Calcutta, High Court of Bombay, High Court of Madras, High Court of Karnataka, High Court of Gujarat, High Court of Orissa, High Court of Kerala, High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad for the State of Telangana and the State of Andhra Pradesh or any other High Court, as may be notified by the Central Government for the purposes of this Act; (f) “maritime claim” means a claim referred to in section 4; (g) “maritime lien” means a maritime claim against the owner, demise charterer, manager or operator of the vessel referred to in clauses (a) to (e) of sub-section (1) of section 9, which shall continue to exist under sub-section (2) of that section; (h) “notification” means a notification published in the Official Gazette; (i) “port” shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in the Indian Ports Act, 1908 (15 of 1908); (j) “prescribed” means prescribed by rules made by the Central Government under this Act; (k) “territorial waters” shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in the Territorial Waters, Continental Shelf, Exclusive Economic Zone and Other Maritime Zones Act, 1976 (80 of 1976); and (l) “vessel” includes any ship, boat, sailing vessel or other description of vessel used or constructed for use in navigation by water, whether it is propelled or not, and includes a barge, lighter or other floating vessel, a hovercraft, an off-shore industry mobile unit, a vessel that has sunk or is stranded or abandoned and the remains of such a vessel. Explanation.—A vessel shall not be deemed to be a vessel for the purposes of this clause, when it is broken up to such an extent that it cannot be put into use for navigation, as certified by a surveyor. (2) The words and expressions used herein but not defined and defined in the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 (44 of 1958) shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in that Act.

Title:  Admiralty jurisdiction

Description: Subject to the provisions of sections 4 and 5, the jurisdiction in respect of all maritime claims under this Act shall vest in the respective High Courts and be exercisable over the waters up to and including the territorial waters of their respective jurisdictions in accordance with the provisions contained in this Act: Provided that the Central Government may, by notification, extend the jurisdiction of the High Court up to the limit as defined in section 2 of the Territorial Waters, Continental Shelf, Exclusive Economic Zone and Other Maritime Zones Act, 1976 (80 of 1976).

Title: Maritime claim

Description: (1) The High Court may exercise jurisdiction to hear and determine any question on a maritime claim, against any vessel, arising out of any— (a) dispute regarding the possession or ownership of a vessel or the ownership of any share therein; (b) dispute between the co-owners of a vessel as to the employment or earnings of the vessel; (c) mortgage or a charge of the same nature on a vessel; (d) loss or damage caused by the operation of a vessel; (e) loss of life or personal injury occurring whether on land or on water, in direct connection with the operation of a vessel; (f) loss or damage to or in connection with any goods; (g) agreement relating to the carriage of goods or passengers on board a vessel, whether contained in a charter party or otherwise; (h) agreement relating to the use or hire of the vessel, whether contained in a charter party or otherwise; (i) salvage services, including, if applicable, special compensation relating to salvage services in respect of a vessel which by itself or its cargo threatens damage to the environment; (j) towage; (k) pilotage; (l) goods, materials, perishable or non-perishable provisions, bunker fuel, equipment (including containers), supplied or services rendered to the vessel for its operation, management, preservation or maintenance including any fee payable or leviable; (m) construction, reconstruction, repair, converting or equipping of the vessel; (n) dues in connection with any port, harbour, canal, dock or light tolls, other tolls, waterway or any charges of similar kind chargeable under any law for the time being in force; (o) claim by a master or member of the crew of a vessel or their heirs and dependents for wages or any sum due out of wages or adjudged to be due which may be recoverable as wages or cost of repatriation or social insurance contribution payable on their behalf or any amount an employer is under an obligation to pay to a person as an employee, whether the obligation arose out of a contract of employment or by operation of a law (including operation of a law of any country) for the time being in force, and includes any claim arising under a manning and crew agreement relating to a vessel, notwithstanding anything contained in the provisions of sections 150 and 151 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 (44 of 1958); (p) disbursements incurred on behalf of the vessel or its owners; (q) particular average or general average; (r) dispute arising out of a contract for the sale of the vessel; (s) insurance premium (including mutual insurance calls) in respect of the vessel, payable by or on behalf of the vessel owners or demise charterers; (t) commission, brokerage or agency fees payable in respect of the vessel by or on behalf of the vessel owner or demise charterer; (u) damage or threat of damage caused by the vessel to the environment, coastline or related interests; measures taken to prevent, minimise, or remove such damage; compensation for such damage; costs of reasonable measures for the restoration of the environment actually undertaken or to be undertaken; loss incurred or likely to be incurred by third parties in connection with such damage; or any other damage, costs, or loss of a similar nature to those identified in this clause; (v) costs or expenses relating to raising, removal, recovery, destruction or the rendering harmless of a vessel which is sunk, wrecked, stranded or abandoned, including anything that is or has been on board such vessel, and costs or expenses relating to the preservation of an abandoned vessel and maintenance of its crew; and (w) maritime lien. Explanation.— For the purposes of clause (q), the expressions “particular average” and “general average” shall have the same meanings as assigned to them in sub-section (1) of section 64 and sub-section (2) of section 66 respectively of the Marine Insurance Act, 1963 (11 of 1963). (2) While exercising jurisdiction under sub-section (1), the High Court may settle any account outstanding and unsettled between the parties in relation to a vessel, and direct that the vessel, or any share thereof, shall be sold, or make such other order as it may think fit. (3) Where the High Court orders any vessel to be sold, it may hear and determine any question arising as to the title to the proceeds of the sale. (4) Any vessel ordered to be arrested or any proceeds of a vessel on sale under this Act shall be held as security against any claim pending final outcome of the admiralty proceeding.

Title:  Arrest of vessel in rem

Description: (1) The High Court may order arrest of any vessel which is within its jurisdiction for the purpose of providing security against a maritime claim which is the subject of an admiralty proceeding, where the court has reason to believe that— (a) the person who owned the vessel at the time when the maritime claim arose is liable for the claim and is the owner of the vessel when the arrest is effected; or (b) the demise charterer of the vessel at the time when the maritime claim arose is liable for the claim and is the demise charterer or the owner of the vessel when the arrest is effected; or (c) the claim is based on a mortgage or a charge of the similar nature on the vessel; or (d) the claim relates to the ownership or possession of the vessel; or (e) the claim is against the owner, demise charterer, manager or operator of the vessel and is secured by a maritime lien as provided in section 9. (2) The High Court may also order arrest of any other vessel for the purpose of providing security against a maritime claim, in lieu of the vessel against which a maritime claim has been made under this Act, subject to the provisions of sub-section (1): Provided that no vessel shall be arrested under this sub-section in respect of a maritime claim under clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 4.

The Admiralty Act Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims 2017