Volume V
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Arrangement of Sections


1. Short title.

2. Minister to declare ports to be brought under the Ordinance and to define and vary their limits.

3. Port rules.


4. Master Attendant may give directions for certain specific purposes.

5. Penalties for disobedience to Master Attendant.

6. Master Attendant to appoint place for anchorage.

7. Master Attendant may go on board any vessel in discharge of his duty.

8. Master Attendant to give assistance to ships in distress.

9. Flag to be hoisted when passage to or from ships dangerous.

10. Any floating timber or obstruction on shore, to be removed at expense of owner.

11. Penalties for causing obstruction or public nuisance.

12. Master Attendant may raise any wreck impeding navigation.

13. Expenses of removal.


14. Passenger and cargo boats to be licensed.

15. Penalty on tindals and boatmen of licensed boats for misconduct.

16. Penalty on employment of unlicensed boats.

17. Where specification of description of packages necessary.

18. Number of boat to be painted thereon.

19. Licensed boat to be always seaworthy.

20. Owners of licensed boats to keep two boats always ready for service in the night time.


21. Penalty on throwing ballast overboard.

22. Ship losing anchor to give notice to Master Attendant.

23. When share of value of lost anchor to be paid to Master Attendant or other person recovering it.

24. Anchor not claimed within twelve months to become the property of the State.

25. Penalty on master, person in charge of a vessel or other person offending against this Ordinance.

26. Vessels not to obtain clearance until all charges are paid.

27. Ordinance not to extend to vessels in the service of the Republic and to vessels of war belonging to any foreign state.


28. Removing stones or injuring shores prohibited.

29. Damage to harbor.

30. Offences against this Ordinance and debts due thereunder to be respectively punishable and recoverable in Magistrates' Courts and Primary Courts.

31. Prohibition of diving for money.

32. Interpretation.

6 of 1865,

3 of 1883,

6 of 1896,

4 of 1899,

10 of 1904,

20 of 1905,

14 of 1907,

30 of 1908,

19 of 1924,

27 of 1955.

AN ORDINANCE to declare the duties of Masters Attendant, and to provide for the better preservation of the ports of Sri Lanka and for the better regulation of the shipping therein.

[Date of Commencement: 20th October, 1865]


1. Short title.

This Ordinance may be cited as the Masters Attendant Ordinance.1

2. Minister to declare ports to be brought under the Ordinance and to define and vary their limits.

The Minister may, from time to time, declare by Order the ports which are to be brought within the operation of this Ordinance, and may define the limits of such ports respectively; and it shall be lawful for the Minister, in like manner, to alter and amend such limits.

3. Port rules.

The Minister may, from time to time, frame and establish such port rules, not inconsistent with this Ordinance, as he may think necessary for any of the following purposes, namely—

(a) for regulating the time at which, and the manner in which, vessels shall enter into or go out of any port subject to this Ordinance;

(b) for regulating the berths and stations to be occupied by vessels in any such port;

(c) for striking the yards and topmasts, and for rigging in the jib and driver booms, of vessels in any such port, whenever it may be proper so to do;

(d) for the removal or proper hanging or placing of anchors, spars, and other things in or attached to vessels in any such port;

(e) for regulating vessels whilst taking in or discharging ballast or cargo, or any particular kind of cargo, in any such port, and the stations to be occupied by vessels whilst so engaged;

(f) for keeping free passages of such width as may be deemed necessary within any such port, and along or near to the piers, jetties, landing-places, wharfs, quays, docks, moorings, and other works in or adjoining to the same, and for marking out the spaces so to be kept free;

(g) for regulating the anchoring, fastening, mooring, and unmooring of vessels in any such port;

(h) for regulating the mooring and warping of all vessels within any such port, and the use of warps therein;

(i) for regulating the use of the mooring buoys, chains, and other moorings in any such port;

(j) for fixing from time to time the charges to be made for boat hire which may be demanded by boats licensed to convey goods and passengers in the said ports; the rates and charges of pilot age on vessels into and out of any of the said ports, from or to a distance of one league out at sea; or for removing or re-mooring any vessel; and the rates to be paid for the use of Government moorings, whenever the same shall be available, and the charges for work connected with mooring of the said vessels;

(k) for regulating boats plying for the conveyance of passengers or goods within such port, whether for hire or otherwise;

(l) for regulating bumboats, and all boats used by traders, hawkers, and others for the conveyance of goods for sale in any such port;

(m) for maintaining good order on jetties and landing-places, for prohibiting the same from being frequented by loiterers or undesirable persons, and for preventing the commission of nuisances thereon;

(n) for providing for the periodical inspection of steam boilers on water boats, barges, lighters, and similar vessels, and on launches as defined by the Launches Ordinance, and for prohibiting the use of such steam boilers, unless the same have been duly inspected and certified to be in good order. Such rules may prescribe a fee for the inspection of such steam boilers not exceeding twenty-one rupees for each inspection in the case of launches, and ten rupees and fifty cents in the case of other vessels;

(o) for the issue of certificates of competency to the drivers and persons in charge of steam boilers on water boats, barges, lighters, and similar vessels (not being launches as defined by the Launches Ordinance), and for prohibiting steam boilers on such vessels to be worked by or to be in charge of persons who do not hold certificates;

(p) for regulating the use of fires and lights within any such port;

(q) for regulating and enforcing the use of signals by vessels at night in any such port;

(r) for prohibiting the collection or removal of any coal which may be washed ashore or found within the limits of any such port except by duly licensed persons, and for granting licences for the collection and removal of such coal;

(s) for regulating all other matters necessary to provide in every respect for the preservation of the ports and the better regulation of the shipping therein, and not specially provided for by this Ordinance:

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