Monday, 15 August 2016

Affreightment in shipping

Affreightment is a legal term used in shipping.

A contract of affreightment is a contract between a ship-owner and another person (called the charterer), in which the ship-owner agrees to carry goods for the charterer in the ship, or to give the charterer the use of the whole or part of the ship's cargo-carrying space for the carriage of goods on a specified voyage or voyages or for a specified time. The charterer agrees to pay a specified price, called freight, for the carriage of the goods or the use of the ship.
This contract addresses issues associated specifically with a vessel, its crew, and the routes on which it will be plied. It is also called contract of freightment.

The obligations on the one side and the other are:
  • The shipper must not ship goods of a nature or in a condition he knows, or ought to know if he used reasonable care, to be dangerous to the ship, or to other goods—unless the shipowner is informed or has sufficient opportunity to observe the dangerous character.
  • The shipper must be prepared, without notice from the ship-owner, to take delivery of his goods with reasonable despatch on arrival of the ship at its destination.
  • The shipper must pay the agreed freight, and is not be entitled to claim delivery until the freight is paid.
The ship-owner is bound by an implied undertaking—in other words, is responsible under the law as if he had entered into an express undertaking: (1) that the ship is seaworthy; (2) that she shall proceed upon the voyage with reasonable despatch, and shall not deviate without necessity from the usual course of the voyage.
In other words, the ship-owner has a lien on the goods carried for the freight payable in respect of the carriage. On the other hand, the ship-owner is obligated to deliver the goods safely, and this obligation is, by common law, subject to this exception only that the ship-owner is not liable for loss or damage caused by An act of God i.e. by fire on board the ship, or by the robbery or embezzlement of—or making away with gold or silver or jewellery of a nature and value not declared in writing at the time of shipment. Further, the ship-owner is not liable for damage to or loss of goods or merchandise beyond an aggregate amount that does not exceeding eight pounds per ton for each ton of the ship's tonnage.

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