Maritime Ordinances of Trani
In the name of the Omnipotent God, Amen.
In the year one thousand and sixty-three, in the first indiction. These
underwritten ordinances and reasons were made, ordained, and provided,
and further deliberated by the noble and discreet Sir Angelo de Bramo,
Sir Simon de Brado, and Commander Nicolas de Roggiero, of the city of Trani,
Consuls elect of the Guild of Navigators, as the most competent who could
be found in this Adriatic Gulf.
I. They propound, say, determine, and define this
underwritten question of maritime navigation, which is thus laid down,
that if any vessel, large or small, should be cast ashore by mischance,
and should have her poop separated from her prow, the merchandise, which
is in the said ship, is not bound to contribute to repair the said ship.
And if the said ship should not have her poop separated from her prow,
the merchandise, which is in her, is bound to contribute to repair the
said ship. And the mariners of the said ship are bound to attend eight
days to save the ship’s spars, and whatsoever mariner shall depart before
the said term of eight days from the said ship, he is liable to pay three
pennies out of every ten of his wages.
II. The aforesaid consuls propound further, say,
and define, that whatever spars are lost they are not to be brought into
average, unless the said spars have been spoilt or lost to save the lives
or the merchandise or the ship, that in such case the said spars are bound
to be brought into average.
III. The said consuls propound, say, and define,
that if the merchandise of the ship shall be plundered by cruisers the
said merchandise so robbed is bound to be brought into average, and that
should any of this merchandise escape, so that it is not plundered, all
which has escaped is bound to contribute to make good that which has been
plundered, and the wages of the mariners are not liable to make good any
IV. The aforesaid consuls of the sea propound,
say, and define, that if any vessel not decked should go ashore to be wrecked,
should be wrecked, the merchandise is not liable to make good the loss
of the ship, and if an undecked vessel should be on the sea in bad weather,
and the mariners of the said vessel under that bad weather shall cast into
the sea merchandise the better to save her, the merchandise so lost ought
to be brought into average.
V. The aforesaid consuls propound, say, and define
that if a vessel, large or small, should have been freighted and been laden,
and should have gone out of port and have set her sails, and the said vessel
should have returned into port, and if the merchants demand back their
goods and do not wish that the said ship shall carry them any further,
the master of the ship ought to have all the freight agreed upon, just
as if he had carried the goods thither whither the merchants wished them
VI. The aforesaid consuls propound, say, and define,
if any vessel, large or small, shall have been laden in port, and before
the said ship goes out of port the merchants demand of him their merchandise,
the master of the ship ought to give them up their merchandise, and the
said master ought to have and receive from the merchants half the freight
VII. The said consuls further propound, say, and
define, that if the said ship should be in port to load, and the merchants,
who have freighted her and. promised to the master to put merchandise on
board, are not willing to put it on board, the master cannot demand more
than the fourth part of the freight.
VIII. The abovesaid consuls propound, say, and
define, that if a master of a ship goes into prohibited places, and further
goes into a port where he ought not go, excepting it be in case of bad
weather, customs dues and all other losses which may accrue in such a course,
and in other prohibited places, the master is bound to defray, if the mariners
of the said ship have forbidden the said master to do it and the master
will not heed them, and in case that the mariners and also the master did
not know the fact, all the loss which shall accrue shall be brought into
IX. The said counsuls of the sea propound, say,
and define, that no ,aster may dismiss a mariner unless it be for one of
four reasons and defaults of the said mariner, first for blashpheming God,
secondly for being quarrelsome, thirdly for being a thief, fourthly for
excess. And for any of these four things the master may dismiss a mariner
and set him ashore, and take proceedings against him on shore.
X. The aforesaid consuls of the sea propound,
say, and define, that if a mariner shall set out with a ship from his own
country and should fall ill, he ought to have all his share.
XI. The said consuls propound and define, that
if a mariner engages himself or sets out with the ship from his home, he
cannot depart and leave the equipment of the said ship, unless for one
of three causes: and things : the first is, if he has been made master
of a ship, the second is, if he has been appointed mate of a ship ; the
third is, if in the present voyage he should have made a vow to go to St.
James, or to the Holy Sepulchre, or to Rome, and for these three things
he has legitimate reason for departing, and he ought to be allowed to leave
without paying any interest or damage.
XII. The aforesaid consuls of the sea propound,
say, and define, that if any master shall engage a mariner on shares, in
a large or a small vessel, and if the said mariner wishes to depart, he
ought to leave the moiety of that, which he ought to have, that is of his
share in the voyage.
XIII. The said consuls of the sea propound and
declare that if a patron keeps under sail in bad weather and his sails
are damaged, the loss must be all his own. But if he is under sail and
he says to his mariners, "Furl" the sail, I wish to set the storm sail,"
and the merchants and the mariners say to him not to take in sail, but
to carry on, and the said sail is blown away, in such a case the damage
is entitled to be brought into average.
XIV. The said consuls of the sea propound, say,
and define, that if the ship is riding at anchor, the mariners ought not
to raise the anchor without leave of the master or of the mate, And further
if the ground tackle or hempen cable should break, it ought to be brought
into average. Still further if with their quarrelling they use violence
and the anchor is lost, he is not bound to make it good nor to bring it
XV. The said consuls of the sea propound, say,
and define, that, if a ship sets sail from her own country, we forbid any
one to furl the sails or to lower the halyards or to let go the cable or
to move the cable without the leave of the mate. And the ship being in
port, the mate may not take the ship out of port without the leave of the
XVI. We, the above said consuls, propound, say,
and adjudge, that every master ought to take a scribe, who ought to be
sworn in his commune to be honest and loyal. And the said master may not
make him write any thing which he has transacted with any merchant, unless
the said merchant be present or some other witness. And the same case and
terms shall be observed with the other mariners. And if he shall do or
write otherwise or to the contrary, his register or book shall not be of
any value, nor shall any faith be given to it; and if that scribe shall
have received any merchandise from the merchants and it should be missing,
let that scribe be responsible to make it good; and the said register ought
to be covered with parchment.
XVII. The said consuls of the sea propound, and
say, and define, that if a master has in his ship any merchandise and it
is necessary to discharge it in a port or on a beach, as soon as he has
put the said goods into a boat, the said master is immediately ipso facto
released and freed from the said goods, and the goods so discharged
arc liable to make compensation for the said boat, excepting in case it
should be lost from bad weather or from capture by cruizers, and
in these two cases it is not liable.
XVIII. The said consuls of the sea propound, say,
and define, that if any merchant or other person gives merchandise to any
factor of his own or to any other person, he may sell it without any witness
to the assignment, and faith shall be given to the statement of the said
factor. And that, if any one wishes to have recourse to the judgment of
the magistrate, he must have two honest and loyal witnesses, and to them
credit and full faith shall be given.
XIX. These wise consuls of the sea propound and
say and define, that if any person find goods on the sea, which are floating,
it shall be lawful for him to take them and deliver them up to the court
and give a written list of them within three days, after he has found them
and taken them. And of those goods so recovered he shall have the half
if the owner of them is found. And those goods shall remain in the hands
of the court thirty consecutive days. And if at the end of thirty days
the owner shall not appear, nor any lawful person on his behalf the goods
shall belong to him, who has found them.
XX. The aforesaid consuls propound, say, and define,
that if any person finds goods under water, two thirds of them shall belong
to him, who has found them, and one third of those goods shall be given
up to the owner in the case of goods which have a mark upon them.
XXI. They propound further and declare, that if
any person has found goods, which have a mark upon them, that no one ought
to touch them under pain of thrice the value at which the merchandise so
found shall be estimated, and more at the discretion of the magistrate,
who shall be found in the said place.
XXII. The said consuls of the sea propound and
declare, that if a ship is brought into average, they ought to subtract
a third for the spars, because the spars ought not to be brought into average,
and ought not to be made good if they are lost, et so versa vice, the spars
ought not to contribute to make good the other merchandise.
XXIII. The said consuls of the sea propound, say,
and define, that if any person carries gold, silver, or pearls, or other
delicate articles of value, and shall not exhibit them to the master or
to the mate or to the scribe, and it should happen that an average must
be made of these and other articles, either on account of cruisers or of
mischance of the sea, the aforesaid articles shall not be made good, and
if the said articles shall be lost, they ought [not] to partake in the
XXIV. The aforesaid consuls of the sea propound
and say and define, that if a master of a ship carries with him merchandise,
he cannot put it out of his ship without the leave of the owner of the
merchandise. And if he should put it out without his leave, and the merchandise
should be lost, the said master of the ship ought to make it good.
XXV. The wise consuls of the sea propound and
say and define, that if any merchant freights a ship, great or small, and
no contract has been made as to loading the ship or its being dispatched
either on one side or on the other, we, consuls, nevertheless adjudge that
the ship being at her loading stage ought not tc wait more than eight days
of fine weather, and ought to have her freight paid, and if the said merchants
are not willing to dispatch the ship, the ship shall be at the risk of
the said merchants, and the said ship ought to have such payment, as shall
be determined by the consuls who may be at that place.
XXVI. The said consuls of the sea propound, say,
and define, that if a master of a ship has charged his ship with merchandise,
and bad weather comes on, and no merchants should be on board, and the
said master should be in distress, he may cast overboard with his own hand
the said merchandise, And no reason can prevent him, because he does it
for the safety of lives and of the ship and of the other merchandise, and
the said goods and merchandise so cast overboard ought to be brought into
XXVII. The said consuls propound, say, and define,
that, if the ship should be assailed and captured by cruiserqz they adjudge
that the master may agree with the said cruisers either for gold or for
silver, or for other goods, and may enter into a compact, by which he may
procure the escape of the ship and the other merchandise, there being no
merchants on board the ship.
XXVIII. The said consuls of the sea propound and
define, that no master may beat a mariner, but the mariner ought to escape
and pass from the bow to the chain of the rowers, and ought to say, “ In
the name of my Lord do not touch me,” three times. And if the master should
pass the chain in order to beat him, the mariner ought to defend himseu,
and if the mariner kills the master, he is not to be banished on that account.
XXIX. The said consuls of the sea further propound
and define, that if any ship, large or small, has taken merchandise on
board, and the vessel makes wateq it is lawful for the merchants not to
load more merchandise. And the master has the liberty to go, where he pleases
to save life and the ship.
XXX. The said consuls of the sea propound, say,
and adjudge, that no [master of a] ship being on the sea ought to make
any compact l or agreement, and that if he should maxe any such on the
sea with merchants or with mariners, they are of no value or validity whatsoever,
nor can any claim be made on the compacts themselves, except the ship be
in port or in a place moored with four cables, or it shall be acknowledged
by one and the other party, or be verified under the hand of the scribe,
for witnesses cannot go wherever the ship goes.
XXXI. We, consuls of the sea, propound and define,
that every master of a ship shall have full liberty to rescue his ship
from bad weather or from cruisers. And if he is in want of money, he shall
have the liberty to borrow money upon her, and shall be a good guardian
of the ship, ancl do whatever he ought to do.
XXXII. The said consuls of the sea propouncl,
say, and define, that if it shall be ascertainecl that any galley has been
sent out to cruise, ancl the ship has goods on board, either a full cargo
or a part cargo, and the merchants wish to have back their goods and merchandise,
the master is not bouncl to give them up to them, unless the merchants
assure the ship against capture.
Here End the Ordinances of the Sea issued by the
Consuls of Trani.
Source of text: T. Twiss, IV The Black Book
of Admiralty 524-543.