An agent appointed by the owner of a ship, and invested with authority to make the requisite repairs, and attend to the management, equipment, and other concerns of the ship he is usually authorized to act as the general agent of the owners, in relation to the ship in her home port.
By virtue of his agency, he is authorized to direct all proper repairs, equipments and outfits of the ship; to hire the officers and crew; to enter into contraets for the freight or charter of the ship, if that is her usual employment; and to do all other acts necessary and proper to prepare and despatch her for and on ber intended voyage.By some authors, it is said the ship's hushand must be a part owner. Hall points out the duties of the ship's hushand, as follows, namely: 1. To see to the proper outfit of the vessel, in the repairs adequate to the voyage, and in the tackle and furniture necessary for a sea-worthy ship.
To have a proper master, mate, and crew, for the ship, so that, in this respect, it shall be sea-worthy.To see the due furnishing of provisions and stores, according to the necessities of the voyage.
To see to the regularity of the clearance's from the custom-house, and the regularity of the registry.
To settle the contracts, and provide for the payment of the furnishings which are requisite to the performance of those duties.
To enter into proper charter parties, or engage the vessel for general freight, under the usual conditions; and to settle for freight, and adjust averages with the merchant; and,
To preserve the proper certificates, surveys and documents, in case of future disputes with insurers and freighters and to keep regular books of the ship.
These are his general powers, but of course, they may be limited or enlarged by the owners; and it may be observed, that without special authority, he cannot, in general, exercise the following enumerated acts: 1. He cannot borrow money generally for the use of the ship; though, as above observed, he may settle the accounts for furnishings, or grant bills for them, which form debts against the concern, whether or not he has funds in his hands with which he might have paid them. Although he may in general, levy the freight which is, by the bill of lading, payable on the delivery of the goods, it would seem that he would not have power to take bills for the freight, and give up the possession of the lien over the cargo, unless it has been so settled by the charter party.
He cannot insure, or bind the owners for premiums.
As the power of the master to enter into contracts of affreightments, is superseded in the port of the owners, so it is by the presence of the ship's hushand, or the knowledge of the contracting parties that a ship's hushand has been appointed.