Obligations of registered agents
Registered agents have an important role in maintaining the registration of a ship, and have specific powers and obligations.
It is a requirement under the Shipping Registration Act 1981 (the Act) that a registered agent be appointed for each registered ship. The registered agent must be an individual or company who will be managing the day to day running of the ship.
Powers of a registered agent
- The registered agent may apply for a new registration certificate (Regulation 14(1)).
- The registered agent may apply for a change of a ships name (Regulation 21(1)). The owner also has this power.
- The registered agent may apply for a change of a ships home port (Regulation 35(3)). No other person may do this.
Obligations of a registered agent
- The registered agent must give notice of an alteration to a ship (Section 65 of the Act and Regulation 31(1)).
- The registered agent must surrender a replaced Registration Certificate or Provisional Registration Certificate (Regulation 14(4)). Owners also have this obligation.
- The Registered agent must notify changes of name, address and nationality of the owner, charterer, and registered agent (Regulation 19(1)).
- In relation to a change of home port, the registered agent must send the signed Marking Note back within 30 days of receiving it (Regulation 35(4A)). The registered agent can be fined $500 for not doing so (Refer to Regulation 35(4B)).
Communication with the registered agent
- The Registrar must send the Registration Certificate to the registered agent or to his/her nominee after the registration of a transfer or transmission of ownership (Section 37A(3)(a) of the Act).
- The Registrar must send the Registration Certificate to the registered agent after a change of home port. (Refer to Regulation 35(5)).
- The Registrar may ask the registered agent for information or documents to determine whether the Register is up to date (Section 58(1) of the Act). The Registrar may also ask the owner.
- The Australian Maritime Safety Authority may ask the registered agent for evidence of ownership (Refer to Section 67 of the Act). The Authority may ask no other person.
- The Registrar must give the registered agent notice of any authorisation to vary requirements for the flying of the flag at the ships stern.
- The Registrar must give notice to the registered agent that a change of home port can proceed (Regulation (35(4)).
Registered agents can be penalised for non-compliance with the Shipping Registration Act 1981 and its associated Regulations.
Under Section 74 of the Act, the registered agent is guilty of some offences, where the owner is guilty of the same offence.
The offences are:
- Failure to maintain registration markings on the ship (Section 26(2) of the Act).
- Failure to observe the flag flying requirements (Refer to Section 30(9) of the Act).
- Concealing a ship’s Australian nationality (Refer to Section 33 of the Act).
- Failure to lodge transfer documents within 14 days of the execution of a bill of sale (Section 36(2) of the Act).
- Failure to lodge transmission documents within 14 days of the transmission. (Section 37(1) of the Act).
- Failure to deliver the registration certificate to a transferee after a transfer of ownership (Section 37A(1) of the Act).
- Failure to lodge a notice of alteration of a ship (Section 65(8) of the Act).
- Failure to lodge notice of the loss of ship, or an event that causes the ship to cease to be entitled to be registered such as the sale to a non-Australian (Section 66(1) of the Act).
- Taking an “officer” to sea without his/her consent (Section 72 of the Act). An officer is generally an officer or employee of the Commonwealth, a police officer or a Defence Force member.