Voyage Charters

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Chapter 29

Description and Position of Vessel

Part I
A. Description and Position of Vessel:
Deadweight:   tons (2,240 lbs.) Classed:
Loaded draft of Vessel on assigned summer freeboard ft. in. in salt water.
Capacity for cargo:   tons (of 2,240 lbs. each) % more or less, Vessel’s option.
Coated: □ Yes □ No  
Coiled: □ Yes □ No Last two cargoes:
Now:     Expected Ready:

Items of description generally

29.1 The effect of statements in the charter describing the ship, and the remedies of the charterer in the event that the statements are untrue, are discussed in .


29.2 See paragraphs 3.19 et seq.


29.3 Part II, clause 1, imposes a continuing obligation on the owner to maintain the ship’s class as described in Part I. As mentioned in , it is probably a condition of the charter that the class is correctly stated as at the date of the charter, but it is submitted that the maintenance of class thereafter is an intermediate term. Tanker charters frequently also provide that the vessel shall be approved by one or more of the major oil companies. In The Seaflower,1 it was held that a provision of this nature was a condition, although that conclusion turned upon the wording of the particular term in question and it is thought likely not to be extended since the Court of Appeal has more recently held that an express obligation to maintain class in a bareboat charter is to be regarded as an innominate term such that a failure does not, without

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serious consequences, give the charterer a right to terminate the charter.2 For a consideration of such provisions more generally, see paragraphs 3.28 et seq.

Loaded draft

29.4 The specific reference to seawater leaves no room for the argument which succeeded in Grant v. Norway,3 namely, that where the charter contemplates loading or discharging in fresh water, a statement of the vessel’s cargo capacity on a specified draft relates to her draft in fresh water.

Capacity for cargo

29.5 It is uncertain whether the statement of the vessel’s capacity for cargo indicates merely her abstract lifting capacity, less a reasonable provision for bunkers, water and stores, or whether it is an indication of her actual ability to load and carry the cargo (see paragraphs 3.19–3.22). In view of the fact that deadweight is separately provided for, and that the quantity is in the owner’s option, it is probable that the latter is the case and the figure inserted here should therefore make due allowance for any volumetric limit on the ship’s capacity to receive and carry the cargoes described in the contract. If the vessel is incapable of loading and carrying the amount of cargo determined under this clause, the shipowner is in breach of the charter. Subject to any special provisions, the capacity stated in this clause probably imposes a limit upon the amount which the charterer is entitled to load, or bound to load, and will override his right and obligation under clause 1 of Part II to load a “full and complete cargo”. For U.S. law see paragraphs 3A.8 et seq.


29.6 Whether a vessel whose coating has broken down to some extent complies with her description as “coated” is a question of fact and degree; there will be a breach if the coating failure is of such a magnitude that it undermines the contract for coated tanks or affects the vessel’s cargoworthiness.4

Heating coils

29.7 See paragraphs 33.22 et seq. for a discussion of the effect of a statement that the ship is coiled.

Present position and expected ready

29.8 See .