b. After the first three original copies have been taken on board the ship, two original copies are kept by the employer/employer representative. The 4th and 5th original copies would not be signed by the master or by sailors on board the ship. The 4th original is kept by the employer/employer representative. The last one, i.e. the 5th original copy, is transmitted by the employer/employer`s representative at the earliest and, in any case, no later than 48 hours after the signing of the contract, ashore in India, in the office of the employer/employer`s representative, to the relevant Shipping Master for registration. Ship items are considered part of a “maritime document” that constitutes the legal environment on board the ship.  They are necessary to settle disputes between seafarers and their masters, as well as between seafarers and owners of ships and cargoes.   They are submitted to port authorities and foreign consular agents to establish the Bona Fides of a ship.  The first articles of the ship were not written, because few were literate.  But in the eighteenth century, most seafarers expected articles to be written, even if they could not read themselves. Finally, in the 1800s, in many countries, legislation required that ships` articles be written and made freely available to all seafarers.   Ship articles developed under the Law Merchant (Lex mercatoria).
Early merchant ships were often cooperative efforts to have the crew or certain members contribute to the initial cost of the ship, cargo and operation; and payment was made at the end of the trip in shares. Thus, all members of a crew were considered participants in the company, even if they only contributed to the work.  This has been widely recognized under the legal concept of a “community of common hands” (comunidad in mano in Spanish) in German. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the ship articles of liberals and pirates became an authority independent of the laws of each nation. . . .