FIOST – Free In and Out Stowage

Under certain FIOST, clauses the right to nominate and the duty to pay stevedores to load stow and discharge the cargo is transferred to the charterer but do not transfer the responsibility for the proper performance of those operations from the shipowner. Under Clause 5 of Gencon FIOST alternative imposes these on the charterer and states: “The cargo shall be brought into the holds, loaded, stowed and/or trimmed and taken from the holds by the Charterers or their Agents free of any risk, liability and expense whatsoever to the Owners.” Some clauses are written to the effect that the loading, stowing and discharging operations will be under the ‘supervision‘ or alternatively the ‘responsibility‘ of the captain. In Court Line v Canadian Transport [1940] it was held that ‘supervision’ did not impose a duty upon the captain or owners to supervise except possibly where the seaworthiness of the vessel is concerned. Where it is provided that the operations will be carried out under the ‘responsibility’ of the captain the liability for the proper performance  of the operations will be effectively transferred to the owners. Under common law the ordinary rule is that shipowner is bound to provide a ship with her cargo gear maintained in proper working order and to give the charterer the use of ship’s gear, even though the loading or discharging operation is to be carried out by the charterer. Opening and closing hatches is the owners responsibility when first accessing a hold at each port and finally closing the hatch at each port but the opening closing at the end of working periods or for bad weather will fall upon the party responsible for the loading and discharging operations.