I am looking for the origin of the nautical term- 'shipping water' as it applies to a ship in distress, or taking on water.

Is it a British term? Origin, etc.?

Many thanks!
I don't find a discrete definition of the expression, but in general, "to ship X" is to take X on board.

I agree that "to ship water" is understood to be an undesirable state of affairs.
It's not used for intentional things like "taking on ballast," or for putting in a supply of drinking water.

There are many examples of your usage on the net, but I can't seem to find a "definition," or statement of origin.