Opinion Number. 1069

Subject

NAVIGATION AND SHIPPING CERTIFICATES OF COMPETENCY: WHETHER CERTIFICATES CAN BE LIMITED TO SOME LIMITED COAST-TRADE SHIPS AND NOT OTHERS

Key Legislation

NAVIGATION ACT 1912, s. 15

Date
Client
The Comptroller-General of Customs

The Comptroller-General of Customs has forwarded me the following memorandum for advice:

Section 15 of the Navigation Act 1912-1920 provides, inter alia, as follows:

(1) Certificates of competency (in this Division referred to as certificates) shall be granted in accordance with this Act for each of the following grades of officers (that is to say):-

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Limited coast-trade ship (steam sail or other motive power)-
Master, First Mate Second Mate

It is considered desirable to subdivide each of these grades into three classes or sub-grades, in order that examinations of differing degrees of difficulty might be held for masters of, say, small ketches making short runs along the coast and the masters of, say, the vessels engaged in the passenger trade between Sydney and Newcastle or Sydney and northern river ports.

As there is some doubt if, under the Act as it stands at present, this can be done, advice is desired as to whether there is power, under section 15 of the Navigation Act, or under Regulations that may be made under the Act, to provide for three classes or sub-grades of each of the grades of certificates of competency prescribed for limited coast-trade ships. Taking the grade of master for example, would it be competent for the Department to issue three distinct classes of certificate, viz:

Master limited coast-trade ship, First Grade; Master limited coast-trade ship, Second Grade; Master limited coast-trade ship, Third Grade. The favour of an early reply is requested.

I think the requirement of section 15 is that a certificate granted thereunder to, say, a master of a limited coast-trade ship shall be effective as entitling the holder to fill the position of master on any ship covered by the definition of limited coast-trade ship.

The proposal is, I understand, to issue certificates which will be effective as regards some limited coast-trade ships but not as regards others.

The Act contemplates one standard of efficiency for a particular class of ship and does not authorise the subdivision of the class or variations in the standard of efficiency.

I do not think the effect of section 15 can be varied by regulation.

[Vol.17,p.313]