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Master’s Duty to Obey Orders


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Master of a Ship Authority
Last updated: 06-Oct-2014

In Grant v Norway (1851) 10 CB 665 the Court, in delivering judgment, says, at p. 687:

The authority of the master of a ship is yery large, and extends to all acts that are usual and necessary for the use and enjoyment of the ship; but is subject to several well known limitations. He may make contracts for the hire of the ship, but cannot vary that which the owner has made. He may make contracts to carry goods on freight, but cannot bind his owners to carry freight free.

Leeds Shipping Co Ltd v Societe Francaise Bunge [1958] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 127 per Sellers LJ at p.138:

The master is responsible for the safety of the ship, and has to form his own opinion and exercise his own judgment as to what he should do; and, although it is right for him to obtain shore information as to the weather, he should not rely on it; and equally he should not rely on the absence of warning from the shore.


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