How to hire a Ship?

The word ‘hire’ is used in two distinct contexts in time charterparties, namely: (a) To describe the period during which the charterers are entitled to use the owners’ vessel (‘the time period’) (b) The money payable by the charterers to the owners for the time the vessel is used by the charterers (‘the money due’). TIME CHARTER PERIOD. The standard time charters provide as follows:

(1) The New York Produce Exchange (‘NYPE’) form 1946 provides: ‘ … the said Owners agree to let, and the said Charterers agree to hire the said vessel, from the time of delivery, for about … ‘

(2) NYPE 1993 form provides: ‘1. Duration. The Owners agree to let and the Charterers agree to hire the Vessel from the time of delivery for a period of … .’

(3) Baltime 1939 provides: ‘1…. The Owners let, and the Charterers hire the Vessel for a period of the number of calendar months indicated in Box 14 … ‘

The use of the term ‘hire’ in the New York Produce Exchange (‘NYPE’) form (and in other similar forms of time charter as set out above) is misleading as the owners do not hire the vessel or part possession with it. In fact time and voyage charters (as distinct from demise or bareboat charters) are akin to getting into a taxi and directing the driver where to go as opposed to hiring a car and driving it yourself.  However, the expression ‘hire’ is conventionally used to describe the time when the period of the charter begins and ends:The owners’ obligation under this type of charter is to render to the charterers the agreed services with the vessel, Master and crew.