Opinion Number. 1410


SHIPPING whether hoisting of Japanese flag by British vessel is offence under Merchant Shipping Act

Key Legislation

MERCHANT SHIPPING ACT 1894 (U.K.) (57 & 58 Vict. c. 60) s 73

The Comptroller-General of Trade and Customs

The Comptroller-General of Customs has submitted for advice the question whether the hoisting of a Japanese flag by a British vessel under the circumstances indicated in the file is an offence under the Merchant Shipping Act.

In this case a pearling lugger in the pearling grounds at Broome was flying a Japanese flag on the after mast. I assume that the lugger was a British ship and that the pearling grounds are within His Majesty’s dominions or a place where His Majesty has jurisdiction.

The hoisting on board a British ship of any distinctive national colours other then the red ensign or any other national colours flown in pursuance of a warrant from Her Majesty is an offence against section 73 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894 and that section applies to the whole of His Majesty’s dominions and to all places where His Majesty has jurisdiction.

In my opinion the hoisting of the flag on the after mast upon which it is stated to have been flying is an offence against section 73.

[Vol. 23, p. 16]