Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Voyage Charter:

A contract (C/P) for hire of the use of a vessel to make a specific voyage between two identified terminal ports. The vessel will be carrying cargo or passengers for and on behalf of the Charterer's. The Charterer's pay for the the use of the ship either on the basis of a lump sum or in the case of cargo at a 'Freight Rate'. This freight rate is so much per tonne carried and delivered. This would not be the form of charter normally used in the business of yacht chartering.

Time Charter:

A contract (C/P) for the hire of the use of a vessel for a specified period of time and can take one of two basic forms,

* Basic Time Charter
* Demise or Bareboat Charter

The Basic Time Charter;

An agreement between the owner of a vessel, or if allowed the disponent owner, and a charterer who wishes to use the vessel for his own purposes without being responsible for the operation of neither the vessel or its day-to-day management.
Throughout the period of the charter the owner/operators must maintain the vessel in a thoroughly efficient state ready in all respects to do as the charterer requires provided it is in accordance with the terms of the charter. The charterer must pay the agreed hire and is responsible for any damage or loss directly attributable to his use of the vessel.

Demise or Bareboat Charter;

An agreement between the Owner of the vessel and a Charterer whereby in exchange for the payment of hire the charterer obtains full possession and control over the usage of the 'bare' vessel. It is for an agreed period of time subject only to any restrictions imposed by the owner and written into the agreement (C/P). In this the Master and crew are the employees of the charterer. The charterer must return the ship in the same condition as it was received allowing only for fair wear and tear at the end of the charter period.
The Charter is responsible in Law for the safe operation of the vessel and is liable in Law for any infringement of regulations and,or damage caused by the operation of the vessel.
While under charter both Parties have obligations one to the other and under Law. These are fairly standard and are written in as part of the C/P.
In commercial shipping the vessel will be independently surveyed before the C/P is signed and again after the C/P is completed. This Survey will include the fuel, oil et cetera levels. This is known as the ON HIRE/OFF HIRE survey. In the yachting industry this 'on hire/off hire' survey is not usually conducted. NAUTICAL LOG does not really know why but thinks it a poor practice.

Good Watch.


It is not necessary for charters to be in writing to be enforceable in Law. Given their relatively complex nature it is advisable for such agreements to be in writing. This avoids misunderstandings and provides clear evidence of the terms of the contract (C/P). To assist commercial people negotiate charters, various standard forms of agreement are available which parties can use. These can then be modified as necessary to suit particular arrangements. However it is important to remember that the terms of any such written agreement can subsequently be varied by the conduct of the parties. The Parties or their Authorized Agents may expressly agree to a variation or such a variation may be implied from their behaviour. This is an area which can easily lead to Arbitration or even the Civil Courts so it is best to be very clear about it.
The Master of a vessel has the Owner's authority to vary charters. This is done by agreeing to or acquiescing without protest, to the Charterer's requirements. It occurs when such requirements are not within the written terms of the agreement (C/P).
It should be noted that any failure to perform any part of any promise contained in a C/P gives the injured party claim in Law for compensation. There are some promises in a C/P which are viewed as being so fundamental to the performance of the agreement as a whole that if they are broken the injured party can refute the whole agreement as well as claiming damages. An example would be in yacht chartering the failure to provide the yacht contracted for by the time specified in the contract (C/P).


Good Watch

Monday, March 30, 2009


Here's whats coming up in the Posts ahead on Marine Chartering,

+ Employment of Ship-Chartering Practice, an Overview
+ Voyage Charters
+ Time Charters
+ Demise or Bareboat Charters

Many Charter Parties (C/P's) allow trading with certain express exclusions of countries or places of increased risk. While this can change due to the 'winds of war' or political events there is a pretty standard list. Countries and places often excluded are,

North Korea
Persian/ Arabian Gulf
South Africa
* South China Sea, certain islands due to conflicting sovereignty claims
* Horn of Africa, due highly active

Masters must therefore clarify, prior to the C/P signing, these possible exclusions due ever changing geopolitics. They must be clearly agreed too and stated in the C/P. Remember it is not necessary for charters to be in writing to be enforceable in Law.

There are further prohibitions on entering,

* Antarctic south of latitude 6o degrees South, due to MARPOL
* All offshore safety zones (EEZ) unless under a support vessel C/P.

Yachts are the greatest violators of these prohibitions and so should be particularly careful in their navigational practices.

The word 'charter' is used in maritime enterprises to identify a contract. The objective of which is to let/hire the use of a vessel for a specific purpose, called a Voyage Charter, or for a specified time, called a Time Charter. Disputes associated with such contractual arrangements are usually resolved by arbitration, if the parties agree, or in the civil courts in accordance with contractual law.
Each party to the agreement (C/P) must carry out their promises or be liable to pay compensation for any loss or damage caused by their failure to do so. It is irrelevant that any such failure was due to circumstances beyond the control of the party concerned, unless such circumstances were allowed for in the terms of the contract (C/P).
The country whose law will determine disputes arising out of a charter is a matter for agreement between the parties. It is clearly better to do this at the time the C/P is signed, when it becomes a term of the C/P, but it can be agreed to after a dispute arises. In the event of a failure to agree the matter will be resolved according to the principles of 'Private International Law'.

Good Watch.


It has come to the attention of NAUTICAL LOG that many seafarers and particularly recreational boaters are not knowledgeable about Chartering. For recreational boaters who rent boats or might even be considering a yacht charter vacation either locally or to some exotic locale, this is not good. It is most important to have background knowledge and be able to go through a contract, that is a Charter Party, and have a basic idea what it is about and what to look out for in it. So what to do?

NAUTICAL LOG has decided to write a series of Posts about Marine Chartering which we hope will be helpful. The series is based on personal experience at sea as Master and Chief Officer of chartered cargo ships/freighters, bulk carriers and container ships. In addition at one time we taught International Maritime Law to sea-going officers for a United Kingdom 'Certificate of Equivalency' and the Posts are edited from our lecture notes. We hope you find it useful but please remember it is,


Good Watch

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


On April 28, 1947 the rather tired looking Peruvian Navy tug "Guardian Rios" towed an extraordinary looking object out of Callao Harbour, Peru. A closer inspection showed it was a collection of balsa logs lashed together with ropes made of jungle fibre. On top sat a straw hut and just forward of it was a single pole mast to which was fitted a simple square sail rolled up. A long steering pole aft projected well astern and this whole contraption looked extremely crude and ready to fall apart. Some six Europeans stood on deck checking everything and looking concerned at the tugs progress. Some 50 nautical miles later out in the Humboldt Current after some signalling, only one of the Europeans spoke Spanish, the tug cast off the raft as it turned out the contraption was. So finally the sail was lowered to show a large face and the Kon-tiki Ekspedisjonen was now underway. The voyage so well known needs nothing further from NAUTICAL LOG, and of course a book was written, in Norwegian. In March 1950 an English language translation was published and for my 14th. birthday that year I received a copy from my parents. It was a great story, which is still in my bookcase, and just the adventure to whet the appetite of a boy planning a career at sea. Well so I thought at the time anyway!!

Since that time there have been many voyages around parts of the world and indeed around the world itself. Some well known and successful but far more than are usually discussed end in tragedy. We have the successful passages of Francis Chichester, "Dove", The Volvo Ocean Race and also the losses of Fastnet and Tasman. More recently we have had the "Junkcraft" passage from Los Angeles to Hawai'i, "Mystery" from Cornwall, England to Melbourne, Australia and now the proposed "Plastiki". With this latter name there seems to be an influence of the "Kon-tiki" but at least they left the hyphen out.

Well I did go to sea some two years after reading the "Kon-tiki Expedition" and a whole lot more sea stories. Over a career that lasted some 50 years I learned that there was a lot more than just building a raft and setting sail. The sea is an unforgiving mistress and will bite back hard if not treated with great respect and knowledge. I also learned that many countries have ocean rescue services and Coast Guards which go to sea when things really fall apart for seafarers. We forget all too quickly that these guys and gals also have families and they set out in appalling weather with the very clear understanding that there is quite a high probability they may not return. Here I speak from direct experience having had the honour to serve with such people for part of my career. Also there are agreements to direct ships from their normal course of trade to assist other vessels at sea. This is done most willingly and with pride in this great tradition of the sea. However it is done often at great expense to a shipowner and should not be considered a "right" due ocean passage makers on private expeditions. Shipowners are required to obtain Certificates of Seaworthiness and Marine Insurance Certificates before proceeding to sea.

In reading of the "Plastiki" for example on their website there were several comments, most rather supportive but I suspect not from knowledgeable seafarers. One was downright harsh and described Mr. de Rothschild as a "self-indulgent twit". This was rather rude of the commenter but expresses a viewpoint, it is a somewhat self-indulgent expedition. One might well argue that Mr. de Rothschilds money is his own to do with that which he wishes and this is true up to a point. When the spending of that money affects other people to the degree that this project could then there is surely a duty to assess that impact and provide for it. It is very important that these types of private planned ocean passages are done in coordination with the National Maritime Authority. Safety is Paramount and a Certificate of Seaworthiness should be obtained, also the vessel and the entire expedition must be fully covered by marine insurance. Then should they need assistance or even rescue by a National Rescue Service the costs of such assistance will be fully reimbursed by the expedition's insurance. It is clearly quite unfair to expect the taxpayer to pay for a private expeditions rescue, particularly in the current economic conditions.

Good Watch

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Most of the time spent with the USSCo. was sailing around the coasts of New Zealand, across to Australia, and Tasmania and up to the various Pacific islands.

However I did have an opportunity to take a three month vacation to travel New Zealand. The time was used to tour the length and breadth of both the North Island and the South Island by bus - 1960 NZ buses!! It was a wonderful experience, with outstanding hospitality, in this beautiful country. One of the many places visited was a small church near Tekapo in the McKenzie Basin of the South Island. It had an window which was behind the alter and looked out over the lake. The photos I took at the time are above this Post and remember these are 49 years old.
Today I picked up my local South Florida Sunday paper and saw an article there with a photo of that church. Tekapo, NZ is a small town of 830 people, it has grown since 1960, is in the dark and wants to remain that way. The purpose is to bring out the stars more vividly. The town hopes to become the first UNESCO "starlight reserve" and attract, in addition to stargazers, "astro tourists". A UNESCO working party has agreed to study what Graeme Murray of the McKenzie Tourism and Development Board calls "a heritage park in the sky". Should be interesting to see how things work out.

Good Watch

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Here are some more views of New Zealand. These were taken in 1961, if you look at the fashions and the cars carefully you may see quite a few differences in style. Enjoy and see if you know these places. Send a comment with your answers.
Good Watch.

Monday, March 2, 2009


These are some views of New Zealand. If you know the places send us your answers in a comment. We shall publish the results, - there are no prizes as it is just for fun! Hopefully NAUTICAL LOG will get some answers from Kiwi's because so far we never hear from New Zealand. Do you even have personal computers down there or only in businesses, public libraries and such like? We have very good memories of a couple of years spent working down there (long, long before computers existed). Be nice to hear from you. Also there is an update to the NEW ZEALAND VOYAGES Post, it is worth checking out.
Good Watch