Defining a mate's receipt for cargo ships employment in time charter agreement

Outline of a mate's receipt

A mate’s receipt is a receipt, issued and signed by the carrying ship’s chief mate (or the ship’s agent on his behalf), for goods received on board.

It may be encountered in virtually any conventional trade (general cargo, dry bulk or tanker), but has been replaced in the liner trades (i.e. container and ro-ro shipping) by a more modern document, the Standard Shipping Note.

It is the document on which the details entered on the bill of lading are based; the information on both mate’s receipt and bill of lading should therefore be identical. The mate’s receipt should not be copied directly from the shipping note presented when the goods are brought alongside, but should be compiled from a ship’s tally or measurement and show the actual quantity and condition of the goods as received. should, when the condition or quantity of the cargo justifies it, be endorsed with remarks such as “torn bags”, “stained bales”, “rusty drums”, etc. and should, where the ship’s and shipper’s tallies disagree, be made out for the smaller figure, with the clause “X more (drums) in dispute; if onboard to be delivered”, “X” being the difference between the tallies.

It will normally be on the shipowner’s form, in a triplicate pad or book kept on board. The original should be given to the person delivering the goods to the ship, a copy should go to the agent, and a second copy should be retained in the pad on the ship for comparing with bills of lading before signature, and for use in compiling the cargo plan.

It is not a document of title to the goods shipped and does not pass any title by its endorsement or transfer.

In ports and trades where mate’s receipts are used, the shipper must usually present the signed mate’s receipt to the agent in order to be issue with the signed set of original bills of lading before the vessel sails.

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