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Chapter 11


A vessel or watercraft is defined under P.D. 474 as

* “any barge, lighter, bulk carrier, passenger ship freighter, tanker, container ship, fishing boats, or
other artificial contrivance
* utilizing any source of motive power, designed used or capable of being used as a means of
transportation operating either as a common contract carrier, including fishing vessels covered under
P.D. 43, except:
*(i) those owned and/or operated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and by foreign governments
for military purposes, and
* bancas, sailboats and other waterborne contrivance of less than three gross tons capacity and not

Kinds of Vessels
SOLAS 1974 provides for the following classifications of ships:
1. A passenger ship is a ship which carries more than twelve passenger ship.
2. A cargo ship is any ship which is not a passenger ship.
3. A tanker is a cargo ship constructed or adapted for the carriage in bulk of liquid cargoes of an
inflammable nature.
4. A fishing vessel is a vessel used for catching fish, whales, seals, walrus or other living resources
of the sea.
5. A nuclear ship is a ship provided with a nuclear power plants.
6. “New Ship” means a ship the keel of which is laid or which is laid or which is at a similar stage
of construction on or after the date of coming into force of the SOLAS 1974.
7. “ Existing Ship” means a ship which is not a new ship.
Builders of vessels may employ the materials and follow, with respect to their construction and rigging,
the systems most suitable to their interests. Ship owners and seamen shall be subject to what the laws
and regulations of the public administration on navigation, customs, health, safety of vessels, and other
similar matters.

For all purposes of law not modified or restricted by the provisions of this Code, vessels shall continue
to be considered as personal property.

Merchant vessels constitute property which may be acquired and transferred by any of the means
recognized by law. The acquisition of a vessel must appear in a written instrument, which shall not
produce any effect with respect to third persons if not inscribed in the registry of vessels.
The ownership of a vessel shall likewise be acquired by possession in good faith, continued for three
years, with a just title duly recorded.
In the absence of any of these requisites, continuous possession for ten years shall be necessary in order
to acquire ownership.

A captain may not acquire by prescription the vessel of which he is in command.

The following requisites must be present for a person to acquire ownership through ordinary
1. The person who claims ownership must be in continuous possession;
2. Possession must be for a period of three years; and
3. Possession must be in good faith.

In the sale of a vessel it shall always be understood as included the rigging, masts, stores and engine of
a streamer appurtenant thereto, which at the time belongs to the vendor.
The arms, munitions of war, provisions and fuel shall not be considered as included in the sale.
The vendor shall be under the obligation to deliver to the purchaser as a certified copy of the record
sheet of the vessel in the registry up to the date of the sale.

Article 575
Co-owners of vessels shall have the right of repurchase and redemption in sales made to strangers, but
they may exercise the same only within the nine days following the inscription o the sale in the registry,
and by depositing the price at the same time.


 Vessels that are duly registered in the Philippines are considered Philippine Flag vessels.

Article 92 of the UNCLOS provides that there must be a genuine link between the State and the ship in
other to confer nationality over the ship.

 The Philippines is not a “ Flag of Connivance” country.


 Vessels are now registered through the Maritime Industry Authority. It is a long standing rule
that the person who is the registered owner of the vessel is presumed to be the owner of the
Some other important terms used:
A. Domestic Ownership
- Refers to the ownership vested in citizens of the Philippines or corporations, cooperatives,
or associations organized under the laws of the Philippines at the 60% of the capital stock
or capital of which is wholly-owned by citizens of the Philippines.
B. Homeport refers to the port where the ship is registered.
C. Port of Registry refers to the port in the Philippines where the ship’s record of registry is being
kept and maintained.
D. Ship Registration refers to documentation and authorization of a ship to sail under the
Philippine Flag.
E. Domestic Trade- The carriage of passengers and/ or cargoes between two or more ports and
places in the Philippines by the use of vessel either as common or contract carrier or for
exclusive company/ own use including operations within bays and rivers and other inland
F. Overseas Trade- The transport of goods and/or passenger and/or vessel operations outside of
Philippine territorial waters, including those calls at the Philippine ports from foreign ports and
vice versa.
The Register of Philippine Ship shall contain the following particulars;
1. Name of Ship;
2. Former Names and Registry(if applicable);
3. Type of Ship;
4. Call Sign;
5. Official Number;
6. IMO Number (If applicable)
7. Material of Hull;
8. Principal Dimensions and Structure (Mast/ Desks/ Stems/Stern);
9. Tonnage( Gross/Net/ Deadweight)
10. Class;
11. Speed;
12. Main Engine;
13. Builders/ Place of Built;
14. Year Built;
15. Name of Owner;
16. Name of former Owner;
17. Mode of Acquisition
Vessels are required to carry manifests in coastwise trade.
Manifest refers to the declaration of the entire cargo. The object of a manifest is to furnish customs
officers with a list to check against, to inform the revenue officers what goods are being brought into
a port of the country on a vessel.
Memorandum Circular No. 180 “ Passenger Manifest”
MARINA Memorandum Circular No. 13, Series of 2009 provides the following rules:
1. The total number of passenger on board shall not exceed the total number of passengers
allowed for each ship.
2. All passengers on board the ship shall be duly manifested and reflected in the Passenger
3. Manifest or passenger list should be prepared and made available before the ship leaves the
4. Children three years and above shall be counted as adult passengers and shall be assigned
5. Children below three years shall be carried by an adult all the times.
A ship’s logbook is the official record of a ship’s voyage which its captain is obligated by law to keep
wherein he records the decisions he has adopted, a summary of the performance of the vessel, and
other daily events. It is a respectable record that can be relied upon when the entries therein are
presented in evidence.
The right of cabotage is the right of foreign vessels to engage in coastwise shipping, that is, to provide
service from one place within the Philippines to another place in the Philippines.


Ship repairers are liable to the ship owner for any damage that was cause the vessel while the same is
undergoing repairs.


Prepared by: