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Merchant Shipping (Safety and Load Line Conventions) Act 1932

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

26Obligation to render assistance on receiving wireless distress call

(1)The master of a British ship registered in the United Kingdom, on receiving on his ship a signal of distress by wireless telegraphy from any other ship, shall proceed with all speed to the assistance of the persons in distress, unless he is unable, or in the special circumstances of the case considers it unreasonable or unnecessary, to do so, or unless he is released under the provisions of subsection (3) or subsection (4) of this section.

(2)The master of any ship in distress may, after consultation so far as possible with the masters of the ships which answer his signal of distress, requisition such one or more of those ships as he considers best able to render assistance, and it shall be the duty of the master of any British ship registered in the United Kingdom, which is so requisitioned, to comply with the requisition by continuing to proceed with all speed to the assistance of the persons in distress.

(3)A master shall be released from the obligation imposed by subsection (1) of this section as soon as he is informed by the master of the ship requisitioned, or where more ships than one are requisitioned, all the masters of the ships requisitioned, that he or they are complying with the requisition.

(4)A master shall be released from the obligation imposed by subsection (1) of this section and, if his ship has been requisitioned, from the obligation imposed by subsection (2) of this section, if he receives information that assistance is no longer required.

(5)If the master of a British ship registered in the United Kingdom fails to comply with the foregoing provisions of this section, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanour.

(6)If the master of a British ship registered in the United Kingdom, on receiving on his ship a signal of distress by wireless telegraphy from another ship, is unable or, in the special circumstances of the case, considers it unreasonable or unnecessary, to go to the assistance of the persons in distress, he shall forthwith send a message by wireless telegraphy informing the master of that other ship accordingly, and enter in the official log-book his reasons for not going to the assistance of those persons, and if he fails to do so he shall be liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds.

(7)Nothing in this section shall affect the provisions of section six of the Maritime Conventions Act, 1911, and compliance by the master of a ship with the provisions of this section shall not affect his right, or the right of any other person, to salvage.

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