Charterparty Ship Name
Unless the charterparty provides that the vessel is To Be Nominated (TBN) or allows the Shipowner of the vessel a right of substitution for one of his other vessels then the charterparty is for the specific ship named in the charter and no other.
To this extent the performance of the charterparty by the specific ship is of the essence. However to the extent that the ship’s name is solely for the identification of the vessel it is arguable that the Shipowner may change the vessel’s name prior to delivery of the vessel to the charterer provided that it is one and the same vessel that performs the charterparty service.
This was broadly the approach taken by the House of Lords in Reardon Smith Line Limited v Hansen-Tangen (the ‘Diana Prosperity’)  2 Lloyd’s Rep.
In the above case the time charter for a newbuilding provided that the ship was to be built by Osaka Shipping Co Limited and known as Hull number 354 until named. The Osaka yard had sub-contracted the construction to another yard, where the vessel was being built to the Osaka yard’s design and under their supervision, and the vessel remained on the Osaka Yard’s books, bearing the yard number stated.
The charterers refused to accept delivery on the grounds that the vessel was not built by the Osaka yard. The House of Lords held that the words quoted above were words of identification rather than of contractual description. The question was thus whether the vessel tendered could be clearly identified as the specific vessel to which the charterer referred.
Clearly it could and the claim to reject therefore failed. Lord Wilberforce described the references to the shipyard and yard number as fulfilling the same purpose as a reference to the name of a ship already in service. Even if the words were words of description in the true sense, they were an intermediate term rather than a condition.
Charterparty Ship Name is a Condition
However, where the Charterparty Ship Name is important then it may be treated as a condition of the charterparty.
For instance, if a charterer were to enter into a contract for a named ship such as the MV HANDYBULK YAGMUR where the name of the vessel would be important to his business requirements, then the Shipowners would not be entitled to provide a ship of identical characteristics but a different name.
In these circumstances the Ship Name would be important for marketing purposes and would probably be treated as a condition of the Charterparty.
Ship Name is a Condition in Charterparty
The term “ship name” in the context of a charter party refers to the specific naming of the vessel that is being chartered. A charter party is a legal agreement between the shipowner and the charterer, outlining the terms and conditions under which a vessel is chartered, or rented out. The inclusion of the ship name in the charter party is crucial as it:
- Identifies the Specific Vessel: It ensures that both parties are clear about which specific ship is being chartered. This is important as the condition, size, and capabilities of the ship can significantly affect the agreement.
- Legal Clarity: It provides legal clarity and specificity to the agreement. In case of any disputes or issues, the identification of the vessel by name helps in resolving matters pertaining to the specific charter party.
- Operational Coordination: For logistical and operational purposes, knowing the exact ship allows for better coordination and planning, especially in terms of loading, unloading, and scheduling.
- Insurance and Liability: In matters of insurance and liability, the identification of the ship by name is crucial. Insurance policies and liability clauses often require specific identification of the vessel involved.
- Compliance with Regulations: The ship name helps in ensuring compliance with maritime laws and regulations, which may vary depending on the type of vessel and its specific characteristics.