marine engineering

Home page||Ship employment ||

Seaworthiness of cargo ship - time charter party clause

Contract between shipowner and cargo owner

The obligation to provide a seaworthy vessel is absolute, i.e. there are no exceptions from the rule. At the time the contract is made the vessel must be fit to encounter the “ordinary perils of the sea” (e.g. bad weather) and other incidental risks to which she will be exposed on the voyage. However, the common law recognises that owners cannot guarantee their vessels’ seaworthiness once they have left port, so the obligation is only imposed at the start of the voyage, i.e. when the vessel leaves the berth either under her own power or under tow.

Seaworthiness has three aspects:

1. technical seaworthiness, relating to the vessel’s design, condition of her hull and machinery, and her stability, etc.;

2. “cargoworthiness”, relating to her suitability for the intended cargo and the condition of her cargo spaces; and

3. fittedness for the intended voyage, relating to her equipment (including charts), manning, bunkering and stores for the voyage.

The ship may be held to be unseaworthy, therefore, if she sails without:

• statutory certificates in force;

• certificate (or interim certificate) of class in force;

• holds properly fitted for the cargo (e.g. ventilation system working, dunnage, fire-fighting agent);

• cargo properly stowed or secured;

• a properly qualified master or officers;

• appropriate (and corrected) charts for the voyage; or

• sufficient bunkers for the voyage.

Under the doctrine of stages, seaworthiness at each stage of the voyage, e.g. in dock, in a river, in an estuary, must be considered separately.

Warranty of seaworthiness

A general purpose dry cargo voyage charter party will usually incorporate clauses covering warranty of seaworthiness . The provisions may be expressed in different charter parties by clauses bearing different names, or by numbered clauses with no names.

Unless a contract of carriage by sea has an express provision concerning seaworthiness, the absolute (common law) obligation, known as the warranty of seaworthiness, is implied in the contract.

In a charter party the absolute warranty of seaworthiness is usually moderated, however, to an undertaking that the shipowner or carrier will only exercise due diligence to make the vessel seaworthy before sailing.

For a shipowner or carrier to exercise due diligence he must:

1. make a reasonable and careful inspection and perform maintenance of the vessel in accordance with the custom of the trade; and
2. do this before the commencement of the voyage.

Exercising due diligence to ensure that a vessel is seaworthy would therefore mean, for example, ensuring that:

• class surveys and statutory safety construction, equipment and loadline surveys are carried out and passed in accordance with current requirements (i.e. the vessel is technically seaworthy);

• the cargo spaces are fit for the reception and carriage of the cargo and that the cargo is properly loaded and stowed taking into account the expected perils of the voyage (the vessel is “cargoworthy”);

• the vessel is properly equipped and supplied for the expected duration of the voyage in terms of sufficient competent crew, navigational equipment and supplies, stores, provisions and spares, bunker fuel, fresh water, etc. (“fittedness for the voyage”).

“In all respects ready to load”

Means the vessel is seaworthy and in every way fit to carry the particular cargo on the voyage contemplated by the charterer. The vessel must be fully at the charterer’s disposal, i.e. with derricks or cranes ready for operation, holds or tanks cleaned, prepared and surveyed, free pratique and customs clearance granted, etc. - unless the charter party allows otherwise, which it may do by the inclusion of a protecting phrase as outlined above.

At common law the duty to provide a seaworthy ship on presentation was absolute, i.e. no exceptions were allowed. However, most modern charter party forms have reduced the absolute obligation to a duty of “exercising due diligence”, i.e. doing everything which a prudent shipowner can reasonably do to make the vessel seaworthy without actually guaranteeing her seaworthiness.

Related articles
Summarized below seagoing cargo ship various employment guide:
  1. Charty party forms

  2. defines the obligations, rights and liabilities of the shipowner and charterer. Recognised standard form (e.g. GENCON, BALTIME, NYPE)
    More .....

    Nature of a time charter
    The charterers agree to hire from the shipowner a named vessel, of specified technical characteristics, for an agreed period of time, for the charterer’s purposes subject to agreed restrictions.
    More .....

  3. Voyage charter advantages

  4. contract for the carriage by a named vessel of a specified quantity of cargo between named ports or places.
    More .....

  5. Terms of Bareboat charter and lease arrangement

  6. The vessel owners put the vessel (without any crew) at the complete disposal of the charterers and pay the capital costs, but (usually) no other costs.
    More .....

  7. Seaworthiness of vessel

  8. A vessel must be fit to encounter the “ordinary perils of the sea” (e.g. bad weather) and other incidental risks to which she will be exposed on the voyage..
    More .....

  9. International trade terms (INCOTERMS) in sea transportation

  10. INCOTERMS is a set of rules, published by the International Chamber of Commerce, for the uniform interpretation of the most commonly used trade terms used in international trade contracts.
    More .....

  11. Money transfer procedure in sea transport

  12. Money transfer system commonly used in overseas trade to enable sellers to obtain early payment, i.e. soon after shipment of the goods.
    More .....

  13. Contract between cargo seller and buyer

  14. The contract of sale between the seller and the buyer of the goods is separate from the contract of carriage which one party or the other, or a third party (such as a freight forwarder), will make with the carrier .
    More .....

  15. Parties involved in sea transportation of goods

  16. Forming links in the transport chain- Sea carrier, Freight forwarder, shipper, consignee,agent & banks
    More .....

  17. Carriage of goods by sea act 1992 (COGSA 92)

  18. Section 3 of COGSA 92 lays down guidelines establishing when liabilities under a bill of lading, sea waybill or ship’s delivery order will be transferred to a party who is not an original party to the contract of carriage (i.e. an endorsee or transferee). The party who takes or demands delivery of the goods to which a bill of lading, sea waybill or ship’s delivery order relate becomes subject to the same liabilities as the original shipper..
    More .....

  19. Laytime interpretation rules

  20. Rules, which were issued jointly by BIMCO, CMI, FONASBA and INTERCARGO, replace the Charter party Laytime Definitions 1980.
    More .....

  21. CIF ( Cost, Insurance and Freight ) used in international trade terms (INCOTERMS)

  22. “CIF” means Cost, Insurance and Freight (paid to a named place), e.g. CIF London.- is a contract based on the discharge port
    More .....

  23. FOB ( free on board ) used in international trade terms (INCOTERMS)

  24. “FOB” means Free On Board (named port of shipment), e.g. “FOB Newcastle NSW”. It is one of the most commonly used term (INCOTERMS) in sales contracts involving sea transportation of goods.
    More .....

  25. Ships employment baltic exchange

  26. Baltic Exchange members undertake to abide by a strict code of business practice, enshrined in the famous Baltic motto “Our Word Our Bond”.
    More .....

  27. Ships charter market place

  28. Most ships employed in the charter markets are dry bulk carriers, tankers, combination carriers (e.g. OBOs), or reefer vessels, although there is also a charter market for container ships and for vessels of various special purpose types
    More .....

  29. Common Chartering abbreviations

  30. Many terms commonly used by shipbrokers and others involved in ship chartering, mainly to save time and effort in communications. Shipmasters may come across many of the acronyms and abbreviations in documents relating to charters, e.g. in telexed voyage orders and market reports..
    More .....

  31. Tanker freight worldscale

  32. "Worldscale" is the code name for the “New Worldwide Tanker Nominal Freight Scale”, published by the Worldscale Association (London) Limited and the Worldscale Association (NYC) Inc
    More .....

Machinery system main info pages

Home page||Cooling ||Machinery||Services ||Valves ||Pumps ||Auxiliary Power ||Propeller shaft ||Steering gears ||Ship stabilizers||Refrigeration||Air conditioning ||Deck machinery||Fire protection||Ship employment ||

Home ||

General Cargo provide information on cargo ships various machinery systems -handling procedures, on board safety measures and some basic knowledge of cargo ships that might be useful for people working on board and those who working in the terminal. For any remarks please Contact us

Copyright © 2010-2016 General Cargo All rights reserved.
Terms and conditions of use
Read our privacy policy|| Home page||