Disbursement Account

All ship managers should be conscious of cash flow and interest so that there is a strong temptation to delay sending funds to agents until the last possible moment; but time must be allowed for the money’s to pass through the banking systems.  In many countries the exchange control regulations are tough or there are simply laws to protect port authorities from bad debts which can mean that if your funds have not reached the agent, the ship is held by the port authority until they do.  They do not have to obtain a writ or effect an arrest, to have the power to immobilise the ship until the money is paid. When the ship has sailed, the agent’s duty is to assemble all the accounts which he has paid on behalf of the ship and present them with a Disbursement Account.  This may take some weeks because some suppliers of goods or services can be surprisingly slow to submit their bills.  The agent’s disbursement account should clearly relate all the individual suppliers’ invoices to the heading of the different activities in the account itself. The owner should expect that every item is explained, this especially applies to those amounts expended by the agent on sundries such as car mileage, telephone charges, crew mail etc.  Equally, any credit balance should be repaid promptly as indeed the agent will expect the owner to settle any debit balance.  Managers who hold up several thousands due to an agent while they query some very minor item may consider it fair sport but they will find themselves welcome only in the offices of the worst agents in the port. The managers contact with those responsible for negotiating employment for the ships will depend entirely upon the extent of the management contract.  If the agreement covers everything including arranging employment then it is possible that this will take place within the same office; either be the brokers themselves or those who grant authority to remote brokers to give and receive firm offers from the charterers.