The establishment of an Association of Master Mariners of Sri Lanka has been a long felt need. However as the majority of Master Mariners were engaged in seafaring, it had been difficult to devote time and attention to the organization of such a body.
The Merchant Shipping Act forms a part of the Legislative Enactments of Sri Lanka. In 1971, the Merchant Shipping Act No.52 was enacted to amend and consolidate the law relating to Merchant Shipping. This resulted in the establishment of a Merchant Shipping Division under the Ministry of Shipping. Previously this function was under the purview of the Department of Customs. In retrospect, however, it can be seen that the first appointment of a Sri Lankan Master Mariner to the Pilot Service in the Port of Colombo had been in 1948, and the first local appointment to the prestigious post of Master Attendant had been in 1954.