444. Effect of mate's receipt.

Possession of the mate's receipt prima facie entitles the holder to receive a bill of lading1. Therefore, on its production, in the absence of notice that the holder is not the owner, the master or other agent of the shipowner is justified in signing a bill of lading and delivering it to the holder in exchange for the mate's receipt2. He is not, however, bound to insist on its production3, and may sign the bill of lading without requiring the mate's receipt to be returned or accounted for