A vessel is unseaworthy if the vessel, or any of its parts or equipment, is not reasonably fit for its intended purpose [or if its crew is not reasonably adequate or competent to perform the work assigned].
In the M.S. Act 1958 of India as amended the meaning of unseaworthy ship is as follows:-
Under section 334 a ship is said to be unseaworthy
“when the materials of which she is made, her construction, the qualification of master, the number, description and qualification of the crew including officers, the weight, description and stowage of the cargo and ballast, the condition of her hull and equipment, boilers and machinery are not such as to render her in every respect fit for the proposed voyage or service.”
- A ship is unseaworthy, when the material which she is made and her construction and design is faulty and not as per laid down regulation.
- A ship is unseaworthy when its master, officers and crew are not qualified and are not as per safe manning of the ship.
- Not having enough certificates according to law make the ship unseaworthy.
- A ship is said to be unseaworthy when the machinery or equipment is missing which should have been installed as per any regulation.
- An unseaworthy ship poses serious threat to human life.
- A ship is said to be unseaworthy when its machinery or equipment is not able to perform its duties for the intended voyage.
- Wrong weight, description and stowage of cargo and ballast make the ship unseaworthy for the voyage.
In broad perspective or loosely we can say that unseaworthiness depends on design factors and physical factors.