Marine Glossary

AMIDSHIPS The middle portion of a vessel.
ASTERN A backward direction in the line of a vessel's fore and aft line; behind. If a vessel moves backwards it is said to move astern; opposite to ahead.
BACKHAUL A deviation to move cargo on the return leg of a voyage for the purpose of minimising ballast mileage and thereby reducing transportation costs.
BALLAST Heavy substances loaded by a vessel to improve stability, trimming, sea-keeping and to increase the immersion at the propeller. Sea water ballast is commonly' loaded in most vessels in ballast tanks, positioned in compartments right at the bottom and in some cases on the sides, called wing tanks. On a tanker, ballast is seawater that is taken into the cargo tanks to submerge the vessel to a proper trim.
BALLAST TANK Compartments at the bottom of a ship or on the sides which are filled with liquids for stability and to make the ship seaworthy. Any shipboard tank or compartment on a tanker normally used for carrying salt water ballast. When these compartments or tanks are not connected with the cargo system they are called segregated ballast tanks or systems.
BARGE Flat-bottomed boat designed to carry cargo on inland waterways, usually without engines or crew accommodations. Barges can be lashed together and either pushed or pulled by tugs, carrying cargo of 60,000 tons or more. Small barges for carrying cargo between ship and shore are known as lighters. BEAM -The width of a ship. Also called breadth
BILL OF LADING A document by which the Master of a ship acknowledges having received in good order and condition (or the reverse) certain specified goods consigned to him by some particular shipper, and binds himself to deliver them in similar condition, unless the perils of the sea, fire or enemies prevent him, to the consignees of the shippers at the point of destination on their paying him the stipulated freight. A bill of lading specifies the name of the master, the port and destination of the ship, the goods, the consignee, and the rate of freight.
BOATSWAIN (BOSUN) The highest unlicensed rating in the deck department who has immediate charge of all deck hands and who in turn comes under the direct orders of the master or chief mate or mate.
BREADTH The breadth of a ship is its width at the widest point as measured at the ship's nominal waterline. Breadth may also be used to define the maximum width of a ship's hull, or maximum width plus superstructure overhangs.
BROKERAGE Percentage of freight or hire payable to broker (by owners in c/p's) or applicable to sale or purchase.
BULK Cargo shipped in loose condition and of a homogeneous nature. Cargoes that are shipped unpackaged either dry, such as grain and ore, or liquid, such as petroleum products. Bulk service generally is not provided on a regularly scheduled basis, but rather as needed, on specialized ships, transporting a specific commodity.
BULKHEAD A name given to any vertical partition which separates different compartments or spaces from one another.
BUNKERS Fuel consumed by the engines of a ship; compartments or tanks in a ship for fuel storage.
CAPESIZE A parameter used to determine popular bulk carrier sizes and that governs the design of very large ships built to serve deep water terminals handling raw materials, such as iron ore, particularly from Brazil. These vessels are too big for the Panama or Suez canals and, as an alternative, voyage via Cape Horn or the Cape of Good Hope.
CARGO HANDLING The act of loading and discharging a cargo ship.
CARGO PLAN A plan giving the quantities and description of the various grades carried in the ship's cargo tanks, after the loading is completed.
CARRIAGE OF GOODS BY SEA ACT A law enacted in 1936 covering the transportation of merchandise by sea to or from ports of the United States and in foreign trades.
CARRIERS Owners or operators of vessels providing transportation to shippers. The term is also used to refer to the vessels.
CHANDLER A person who deals in the selling of provisions, dried stores, etc. .
CHARTER RATES The tariff applied for chartering tonnage in a particular trade. CHARTER PARTY - A contractual agreement between a ship owner and a cargo owner, usually arranged by a broker, whereby a ship is chartered (hired) either for one voyage or a period of time.
CHARTERER The person to whom is given the use of the whole of the carrying capacity of a ship for the transportation of cargo or passengers to a stated port for a specified time.
CLASSIFICATION SOCIETY A company which arranges inspections and advises on the hull and machinery of a ship. Classification societies supervise vessels during their construction and afterward, in respect to their seaworthiness.
CO-MINGLING The combining of two parcels of the SAME substance into the tank (naptha with naptha) BLENDING is when two different products are combined to produce something different (i.e. to change/increase the quality of the cargo)
COFFERDAM Double Bulkhead separating tanks from accommodation, safety measure.
COILS In tanks for heating oil to prevent it from solidifying.
COLREGConvention on International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.
COMPLEMENT The number of officers and crew employed upon a vessel for its safe navigation and operation.
CONSIGNEE The person to whom cargo is consigned as stated on the bills of lading.
CONSIGNOR The person named in the bill of lading as the one from whom the goods have been received for shipment.
CONTRACT OF AFFREIGHTMENT (COA) This form of contract is an agreement by an owner or operator to lift an agreed number of cargoes over a period of time. C/P - Charter Party
CRUDE OIL WASHING A technique of cleaning tanks in oil tankers using crude oil.
CUBIC CAPACITY The most important commercial measurement when the intrinsic weight of the cargo is so low that the ship becomes full without being loaded to the cargo line. Is expressed in cubic metres or cubic feet.
DANGEROUS CARGO All substances of an inflammable nature which are liable to spontaneous combustion either in themselves or when stowed adjacent to other substances and, when mixed with air, are liable to generate explosive gases or produce suffocation or poisoning or tainting of foodstuffs.
DANGEROUS LIQUIDS Liquids giving off inflammable vapours.
DEADFREIGHT Space booked by shipper or charterer on a vessel but not used.
DEADWEIGHT/DWAT/DWCC A common measure of ship carrying capacity. The number of tons (2240 lbs.) of cargo, stores and bunkers that a vessel can transport. It is the difference between the number of tons of water a vessel displaces "light" and the number of tons it displaces "when submerged to the 'deep load line'." A vessel's cargo capacity is less than its total deadweight tonnage. The difference in weight between a vessel when it is fully loaded and when it is empty (in general transportation terms, the net) measured by the water it displaces. This is the most common, and useful, measurement for shipping as it measures cargo capacity.
DEMURRAGE An agreed amount payable to the owner in respect of delay to the vessel beyond laytime for which the owner is not responsible. Rate stated in the fix and stated at a rate per day, i.e. $24 000/day.
DESPATCH Time saved, reward for quick turnaround - in dry cargo only .
DEVIATION Vessel departure from specified voyage course.
DRAFT The depth of a ship in the water. The vertical distance between the waterline and the keel, in the U.S. expressed in feet, elsewhere in meters.
DRY DOCK An enclosed basin into which a ship is taken for underwater cleaning and repairing. It is fitted with water tight entrance gates which when closed permit the dock to be pumped dry.
EVEN KEEL/ E/K When the draft of a ship fore and aft are the same.
FLAG STATE The common legal understanding of ‘flag state’ is the administration or the government of the State whose flag a ship is entitled to fly.
FLOATING OIL STORAGE Oil stored on floating vessels. It has been the practice for oil to be stored in large laid-up oil tankers in order to offset the loss involved while the tankers are inactive.
FORCE MAJEURE Clause limiting responsibilities of charterers, shippers and receiver of cargo. Clause in the Charter Party To allow for 'Acts of God' (i.e. factors affecting the voyage that are beyond the control of the owners/charterers, i.e. natural disaster etc.)
FREE PRATIQUE Clearance by the Health Authorities: official permission from the port health authorities that the ship is without infectious disease or plague and the crew is allowed to make physical contact with shore; otherwise the ship may be required to wait at quarantine anchorage for clearance
FREIGHT Money payable on delivery of cargo in a mercantile condition.
GAS TANKER Specially designed for the transport of condensed (liquefied) gases. The most important gases are: ammonia, ethylene, LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas), which consists mainly of methane, and is cooled to a temperature of minus 163 degrees Celsius, and LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) such as butane and propane.
GENERAL CARGO A non-bulk oil cargo composed of miscellaneous goods.
GRADES How many grades of cargo the vessel can separate (i.e. keep apart with no co-mingling)
GROSS AND NET TONNAGE (GT and NT) Gross tonnage is the basis on which manning rules and safety regulations are applied, and registration fees are reckoned. Port fees are also often reckoned on the basis of GT and NT. GT and NT are defined according to formulas which take account, among other things, of the volume of the vessel's enclosed spaces (GT) and the volume of its holds (NT).
GROSS REGISTERED TONS A common measurement of the internal volume of a ship with certain spaces excluded. One ton equals 100 cubic feet; the total of all the enclosed spaces within a ship expressed in tons each of which is equivalent to 100 cubic feet.
GROUNDING Code of minimum conditions for the carriage of cargo under a bill of lading.
HATCH An opening, generally rectangular, in a ship's deck affording access into the compartment below.
HIRE Time charter remuneration.
HULL Shell or body of a ship.
IACS International Association of Classification Societies is an association of 11 classification societies. These Societies establish and apply technical requirements for the design, construction and survey of marine-related facilities, principally ships and offshore structures. These requirements are published as classification rules. Classification rules are developed to contribute to the structural strength and integrity of essential parts of the ship’s hull, and its appendages, and the reliability and the function of the propulsion and steering systems, power generation and those other features and auxiliary systems which have been built into the ship in order to maintain essential services on board for the purpose of safe operation of the ship. Classification surveys are carried out by qualified surveyors using mainly visual inspection and sampling techniques. Classification societies may also act as Recognised Organisations for Flag States, verifying the same vessel’s compliance with international and/or national statutory regulations.
ICS The International Chamber of Shipping is the international trade association for merchant ship operators and represents the collective views of the industry from different nations, sectors and trades.
ILO The International Labour Organisation is the United Nation’s specialised agency which formulates international labour standards in the form of Conventions and Recommendations setting minimum standards of basic labour rights.
IMO The International Maritime Organization is the United Nation’s specialised agency that is responsible for prescribing international standards for safety of life at sea, marine security and protection of the marine environment.
INERT GAS SYSTEM A system of preventing any explosion in the cargo tanks of a tanker by replacing the cargo, as it is pumped out, by an inert gas, often the exhaust of the ship's engine. Gas-freeing must be carried out subsequently if worker have to enter the empty tanks.
INMARSAT International Maritime Satellite System. .
INTERTANKO The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners is a forum where the industry meets, policies are discussed and statements are created to represent the interests of independent tanker owners and operators of oil and chemical tankers.
INTERNATIONAL LOAD LINE CERTIFICATE A certificate which gives details of a ship's freeboards and states that the ship has been surveyed and the appropriate load lines marked on her sides. This certificate is issued by a classification society or the Coast Guard.
INTERNATIONAL TONNAGE CERTIFICATE A certificate issued to a ship owner by a government department in the case of a ship who’s gross and net tonnages have been determined in accordance with the International Convention of Tonnage Measurement of Ships. The certificate states the gross and net tonnages together with details of the spaces attributed to each.
ISM CODE The International Safety Management Code requires development and implementation of a safety management system which addresses all of a company’s activities onshore and on board its ships. The Code places the responsibility for the safety of ships and the prevention of pollution where it truly lies, within the company management structure. This means that the whole organisation is responsible for safety, not just the ship’s master or shore-based manager. This code is mandatory and falls under SOLAS Chapter IX.
ISPS CODE The International Ship and Port Facility Security Code is a comprehensive set of measures designed to enhance the security of ships and port facilities, developed in response to the perceived threats to ships and port facilities in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The ISPS Code is given force through Chapter XI-2 of SOLAS. The Code has two parts, one mandatory and one recommended. In essence, the Code takes the approach that ensuring the security of ships and port facilities is a risk management activity and that, to determine what security measures are appropriate, an assessment of the risks must be made in each particular case. The purpose of the Code is to provide a standardised, consistent framework for evaluating risk, enabling governments to offset changes in threat with changes in vulnerability for ships and port facilities through determination and implementation of appropriate security levels and corresponding security measures.
KNOT Unit of speed in navigation which is the rate of nautical mile (6,080 feet or 1,852 meters) per hour.
LAY-UPTemporary cessation of trading of a ship by a ship owner during a period when there is a surplus of ships in relation to the level of available cargoes. This surplus, known as overtonnaging, has the effect of depressing freight rates to the extent that some ship owners no long find it economical to trade their ship, preferring to lay them up until there is a reversal in the trend.
LAYTIME Time allowed by the ship owner to the voyage charterer or bill of lading holder in which to load and/or discharge the cargo. It is expressed as a number of days or hours or as a number of tons per day.
LIGHT DISPLACEMENT TONNAGE The weight of a ship's hull, machinery, equipment and spares. This is often the basis on which ships are paid for when purchased for scrapping. The difference between the loaded displacement and light displacement is the ship's deadweight.
LIGHTER General name for a broad, flat-bottomed boat used in transporting cargo between a vessel and the shore.
LIGHTERING Conveying cargo with another vessel known as a lighter from ship to shore, or vice versa.
LNG CARRIER Liquefied natural gas carrier. The cargo tanks are made of a special aluminium alloy and are heavily insulated to carry natural gas in its liquid state at a temperature of -2850F.
LOAD LINEThe line on a vessel indicating the maximum depth to which that vessel can sink when loaded with cargo. Also known as marks. The international standard for determining load lines is set by the Load Line Convention 1966, as amended. This ensures a minimum of buoyancy above the water line.
MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEET (MSDS) The document given to the Master of the ship for every cargo that comes on board. It details the safety elements of the cargo and lists the harm it could do to humans/aquatic organisms/environment.
MARPOL The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of Ships, 1973 as modified by the 1978 Protocol is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes and governs the design and equipment of ships; establishes system of certificates and inspections; requires states to provide reception facilities for the disposal of oily waste and chemicals. It combines two treaties adopted in 1973 and 1978 respectively and updated by amendments through the years. MARPOL currently includes 6 technical Annexes dealing with oil, noxious liquid substances, harmful substances, sewage, garbage, and air pollution, respectively.
NET TONNAGE Equals gross tonnage minus deductions for space occupied by crew accommodations, machinery, navigation equipment and bunkers. It represents space available for cargo (and passengers). Canal tolls are based on net (registered) tonnage.
OFF-LOADDischarge of cargo from a ship.
OIL RECORD BOOKA book or log kept by the master of an oil tanker wherein every discharge or escape of oil is recorded.
OIL TANKERA ship designed for the carriage of oil in bulk, her cargo space consisting of several or many tanks.
PANAMAXThe largest ship size that is allowed to transit the Panama Canal. Ships' lengths are restricted to 275 metres, maximum permitted width is slightly more than 32 metres, and maximum permitted fresh water draught is 12 metres. This ship size is about 60,000-80,000 DWT.
PILOT A person who is qualified to assist the master of a ship to navigate when entering or leaving a port.
PILOTAGE The act carried out by a pilot of assisting the master of a ship in navigation when entering or leaving a port. Sometimes used to define the fee payable for the services of a pilot.
PRODUCT CARRIER A tanker which is generally below 70,000 deadweight tons and used to carry refined oil products from the refinery to the consumer. In many cases, four different grades of oil can be handled simultaneously.
PROPANE CARRIER A ship designed to carry propane in liquid form. The propane is carried in tanks within the holds; it remains in liquid form by means of pressure and refrigeration. Such ships are also suitable for the carriage of butane.
REMAINING ON BOARD - ROB Once the vessel has discharged the ROB confirms that the tanks are empty and the Charterer has not lost out on any ullage that has stuck to the sides of the tanks/stuck in the pipes/pumps, also referred to as a DRY TANK REPORT.
RO/RO SHIP Freight ship or ferry with facilities for vehicles to drive on and off (roll-on roll-off); a system of loading and discharging a ship whereby the cargo is driven on and off on ramps. Equipped with large openings at bow and stern and sometimes also in the side, the ship permits rapid loading and discharge with hydraulically operated ramps providing easy access. Fully loaded trucks or trailers carrying containers are accommodated on the deck.
SALVAGE The property which has been recovered from a wrecked vessel, or the recovery of the vessel herself.
SEAWORTHINESSStatement on the condition of the vessel. It has valid certificates, is fully equipped and manned.
SHIP'S AGENT A person or firm who transacts all business in a port on behalf of ship owners or charterers. Also called shipping agent; agent.
SHIP'S ARTICLES A written agreement between the master of a ship and the crew concerning their employment. It includes rates of pay and capacity of each crewman, the date of commencement of the voyage and its duration.
SLOP/SLOP TANKS The discharge having cleaned the tanks, sometimes ports don't have slop removal facilities and illegal to dump in the sea (pollution) so SLOP TANKS are on board the vessel to store the slops until they can be safely discharged.
SOLAS The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 as amended specifies minimum standards for the design, construction, equipping and operation of ships, in respect of their safety.
SPECIFIC GRAVITY Different products vary in density; this is measure by their specific gravity, so the same weight of two different cargos may well take up very different volumes, e.g. Naptha vs. crude. Does vary a little between sweet and sour crudes but not nearly as much as between the products.
STCW International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978 as amended.
STEM Cargo for the vessel.
STORE A general term for provisions, materials and supplies used aboard ship for the maintenance of the crew, and for the navigation, propulsion and upkeep of the vessel and its equipment.
STOWAGE The placing of goods in a ship in such a way as to ensure the safety and stability of the ship not only on a sea or ocean passage but also in between ports when parts of the cargo have been loaded or discharged.
STRANDING The running of a ship on shore on a beach.
SUEZMAX Vessels of about 120,000-150,000 DWT. Typically includes vessels with load capacities of 1 million barrels of crude oil. Also the maximum ship size that is allowed to transit the Suez Canal fully loaded.
TANKER A tanker is a bulk carrier designed to transport liquid cargo, most often petroleum products. Oil tankers vary in size from small coastal vessels of 1,500 tons deadweight, through medium-sized ship of 60,000 tons, to the giant VLCCs (very large crude carriers).
TIME CHARTER The charterer has the use of the ship for a specific trip or period of time. Charterers may direct the vessel within the trading limits agreed, and, in normal circumstances, the Master must obey these orders.
TONNAGE A quantity of cargo normally expressed as a number of tons.
TOW When one or more vessels are being towed; when a tug is towing one or more floating objects; to pull an object in the water by means of a rope.
TOWAGE Charges for the services of tugs assisting a ship or other vessels in ports or other locations; the act of towing a ship or other objects from one place to another.
TRIM The relationship between a ship's draughts forward and aft.
ULLAGE Space left above the tank/barrel/drum provided to allow expansion of the liquid.
ULLAGING The calculating of the ULLAGE once loading is complete.
VOYAGE CHARTER A contract whereby the ship owner places the vessel at the disposal of the charterer for one or more voyages, the ship owner being responsible for the operation of the vessel.
WEATHER In terms of the branding of world Climates, different counties are branded SUMMER, WINTER so that the masters know how much ballast, anticipated speed etc. is need to navigate the various trade routes.
WORLDSCALE An index representing the cost of time chartering a tanker for a specific voyage at a given time. The index is given at Worldscale 100, which represents the price in dollars per ton for carrying the oil at that rate. The negotiated rate will be some percentage of the index value.