p.1 DOMINION BOARD OF TRADE
At the meeting of the Board of Trade on Friday the registration of vessels was taken up for consideration.
Mr. Simpson, on behalf of the Kingston Board of Trade, submitted the following on the subject of the registration of vessels:
That under the existing laws there are no less than three Acts of Registration for vessels in the Province of Ontario and Quebec, namely Act 22 Vic., Cap. 41, for the registration of inland vessels. Act 22, Vic. Cap. 42, for the encouragement of shipbuilding, and the Imperial Act, 17 and 18 Vic., Cap. 101, known as the Merchants' Shipping Act, and as the first two mentioned Acts are very imperfect, and as they all conflict with each other to some extent, it is desirable that a new Act of Registration for vessels navigating the inland waters of the Dominion should be passed by the Legislature, correcting the present mode of registration, and applying more directly to the wants of the sailing community of our inland waters. Among the objections which may be cited against the present registration laws are the following. By the 22 Vict. Chap. 41, no vessels, except those that are British built are entitled to registration. Yet vessels purchased from United States citizens can be registered under the Imperial Shipping Act, and have all the privileges of British vessels if owned by British subjects. Again by 22 Vic., chap. 41, no mortgagee is considered as the owner of a vessel, nor can he take out a certificate of registry as such. Yet by Act 22, Vict. Chap. 42, for the encouragement of ship-building, the mortgagee is entitled to obtain a certificate of registry from a Collector of Customs, and if necessary sell the vessel and grant a clear title therefor. That the fact that all mortgages and hypothecations under the last mentioned Act require to be registered in the Registry Office of the county or place where the vessel is built and not in the Custom House is exceedingly objectionable. As before, the collector (where the vessel is to be registered) can grant a certificate of ownership - the mortgagee or advancer or his duly authorized agent must produce an authentic copy of the contract as registered in the county office before said certificate can be granted to him. Another difficulty caused by this same Act is that when the owner of a new vessel desires to register her at the Custom House, he is obliged to produce a certificate from the County Registry Office, stating that there is nothing standing against her in the books of the said office. In 22 Vic. Chap. 41 several of the clauses are indefinite and ambiguous, as for instance clause 18. A further objection to this Act is that whilst it is necessary before a certificate of ownership is granted that a registry declaration should be made before the Collector of Customs, setting forth that the owner is a British subject, yet the Act does not clearly specify that this declaration is necessary whenever a transfer either in part or in whole of the vessel is made, neither does it point out the form by which mortgages shall be released. But the greatest objection to having these three separate Acts of Registration in force at the same time, is the difference in the tonnage which is made in the same vessel by the system of measurement under the Merchants' Shipping Act, and under that of 22 Vic. chap. 41, which is both unfair to the owners of vessels and the Government of Canada, as canal tolls and dues are frequently evaded by the difference in measurement. For these reasons it is obviously necessary that a change should at once be made in the registration laws for vessels navigating the inland waters of the Dominion. And in urging this change the Kingston Board of Trade would strongly recommend that the registry laws of the United States with certain modifications be adopted as a basis for the registration laws of vessels navigating the inland waters of Canada. He (Mr. Simpson) moved that in the opinion of this Board a change should at once be made in the registration of vessels navigating the inland waters of the Dominion, in the sense of having one Act framed on the basis of the laws of the United States and the Imperial Shipping Act, with such modifications as may be necesary.
The motion was carried.
Mr. Simpson, of Kingston, in bringing up the resolution relating to the improvements of the Kingston harbour, said that in the opinion of the Kingston Board of Trade, all the works necessary to the amelioration and improvement of the navigation, either of the St. Lawrence, or other large navigable rivers of the Dominion, and that are for the general benefit of the commerce and trade of Canada should be undertaken and defrayed by the Dominion Government. That in the opinion of the said Board the harbour of Kingston constitutes part of the general highway from the West by way of the St. Lawrence to the ocean, as is clearly shown by the following facts. That the harbour of Kingston is situated at the foot of the lake navigation, and is the only one at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, where vessels drawing a depth of water corresponding with the Welland Canal can be moored for the purpose of transhipping their cargo - a circumstance rendered necessary by the shallowness of the water in many parts of the river and canals east of Kingston. That during the year 1872, foreign grain to the extent of 9,063,000 bushels, and of Canadian grain about 1,500,000, not to mention other produce, was transhipped at the port of Kingston. That no portion of the said grain and produce was for Kingston or its vicinity but was a supply bought to that port because it is the only eligible place for transhipment at the foot of Lake Navigation. That the harbour of Kingston is perfectly free to all vessels, no harbour dues of any kind being charged. That for these reasons the Board is of opinion that any necessary improvements made to the harbour of Kingston, for the accommodation and safety of vessels engaged in the general trade of the Dominion, and so transhipping should be considered as part of the general plan for improving the highway from the West to the ocean and should be undertaken by the general government. That although the harbour of Kingston is considered to be one of the best on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario, it is nevertheless subject to one or two defects, namely, that it is obstructed by two shoals (as may be seen by the accompanying diagram) which, as they are of rock, can only be removed by blasting, and also that it is open and unprotected on the S.W. side, so that when the wind blows hard from that direction, a heavy sea rolls directly into the harbour, rendering it difficult, and in many instances impossible for vessels to tranship. And in some cases, driving them from their moorings and beaching them upon Point Frederick. It is therefore with a view of inducing the general Government of the Dominion to remove these shoals and otherwise improve the harbour of Kingston, so as to render it safe and commodious for Dominion craft, that the Kingston Board of Trade would urge upon the Dominion Government the necessity of at once undertaking said improvements.
Mr. Simpson then moved the resolution which appeared in our issue of yesterday.