Charterers

It is customary that with the first hire payment the Charterers add the value of the bunkers remaining on board at the time of delivery of the vessel. From the last hire payment the Charterers deduct the value of the bunkers that will probably remain on board the vessel on redelivery. Unless it is a duty taken on by the technical department, it is for the Operations Department to ensure that the agents at port of delivery arrange for a qualified person to make a precise check on the quantities of bunkers on board at that time. This is not the equivalent of a quick glance at a fuel gauge but a careful ‘sounding’ of all the compartments in which oil bunkers (both IFO and MDO) may be stored; this will establish the volume. The type of oil and the temperature at the time will then supply enough data to enable the weight to be calculated.  The surveyor employed to do this must be approved by both parties otherwise there would have to be two surveyors, one representing each party, instructed to reach agreement on quantities.  Exactly the same procedure has to be undertaken at the time of redelivery. This is not the only duty to be undertaken by the appointed surveyor(s) because all time charters, quite understandably, stipulate that the ship has to be redelivered in the same good order and condition (fair wear and tear excepted) as she was at the time of delivery.  At delivery, and more importantly, at redelivery the condition of those parts of their ship over which the time charterers have had control needs to be recorded; such things as damage done by grabs are of particular importance. After redelivery final accounts will be drawn up and settlement made.  The ship manager will want to ensure that any balance in owner’s favour (and there usually is one) is settled by Charterers without too much delay. When drawing up a management contract, in the case of an external ship management agreement, or at a meeting of the board of directors, when ship management is ‘in house’, a clear understanding has to be reached as to whose job it is to ‘vet’ time charterers.