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CHAPTER 13

PERSONS WHO TAKE PART IN MARITIME COMMERCE

SHIPOWNER- is the person who is primarily liable for damages sustained in the operation of
vessel.
NAVIERO- has been construed to indicate the person liable including the shipowner, ship agent
and even the charterer who is considered as owner pro hac vice.
SHIP AGENT- is the person entrusted with provisioning of the vessel, or who represents her in
the port in which she happens to be.
 Extent of liability:
 The ship agent, even though he is not the owner, is jointly and severally liable with
the owner, without prejudice to his right against the owner, the vessel and its
equipment and freight.
 The shipowner and the ship agent are liable even if the captain has exceeded his
authority if the proceeds of an obligation redounded to the benefit of the vessel.
 The shipowner-employer can escape liability if he can prove that he exercised due
diligence in the selection and supervision of the employee.
RIGHTS OF CO-OWNERS OF VESSELS:
 If two or more persons should be part owners of a merchant vessel, a partnership shall
be presumed as established by the co-owners.
 The co-owners of a vessel shall be civilly liable in the proportion of their interests in the
common fund, for the results of the acts of the captain.
 All the part owners shall be liable in proportion to their respective ownership, for the
expenses for repairing the vessel, and for other expenses which are incurred by virtue of
a resolution of the majority.
 The owners of a vessel shall have preference in her charter over the persons, under the
same conditions and price.
 The co-owners shall elect the manager who is to represent them in the capacity of ship
agent.
POWERS OF SHIP AGENT:
 The ship agent can enter into contracts to provision the ship.
 The ship agent may discharge the duties of captain of the vessel.
 The ship agent shall designate and come to terms with the captain, and shall contract in
the name of the owners, who shall be bound in all that refer to repairs and all that relate
to the requirements of navigation.
LIMITATION ON POWER
 The ship agent may not order a new voyage, or make contracts for a new charter, or insure
the vessel, without the authorization of its owner or of the co-owners, unless these powers
were granted him in the certificate of his appointment.
CAPTAINS AND MASTERS OF VESSELS
Captains- are those who govern vessels that navigate the high seas or ships of large dimensions
and importance.
Masters- are those who command smaller ships engaged exclusively in the coastwise trade.
POWERS AND FUNCTIONS
 The captain of a vessel is a confidential and managerial employee. A captain commonly
performs three distinct roles:
1) He is a general agent of the shipowner;
 In his role as general agent of the shipowner, the captain has authority to sign bills of
lading, carry goods abroad and deal with the freight earned, agree upon rates and decide
whether to take cargo.
2) He is also commander and technical director of the vessel; and
3) He is a representative of the country under whose flag he navigates.
 Of these roles, the most important is the role performed by the captain as commander of
the vessel.
 A master is one who has command of a vessel.
LIABILITY OF CAPTAINS AND MASTERS
The captain shall be civilly liable to the ship agent:
 For all the damages suffered by the vessel and its cargo by reason of negligence.
 For all the thefts committed by the crew.
 For the losses and damages committed by the crew.
 For those caused by misuse of the powers or non-fulfillment of the obligations.
 For those arising by reason of taking a course which he should not have taken without
sufficient cause.
 For those arising by reason of his involuntarily entering a port other than that of his
destination.
 For those arising by reason of non-observance in regulations on situations of lights and
maneuvers for the purpose of preventing collisions.
 The captain shall be liable for the cargo from the time it is delivered to him at the port of
loading, until he delivers it on the port of unloading.
 The captain shall not be liable for the damages caused to the vessel or to the cargo by
force majeure.
PILOT- is a person duly qualified, and licensed, to conduct a vessel into or out of ports, or in
certain waters.
LIABILITY
 A pilot is personally liable for damages caused by his own negligence or default to the
owners of the vessel, and to third parties for damages sustained in a collision.