Ship Classification

Classification was once viewed as a measure of the vessel’s suitability for the carriage of cargoes and particularly of seaworthiness. Whilst charterparties now contain a warranty that the owners will, in general, exercise due diligence to maintain a vessel’s class throughout the charter, in practice, where the withdrawal of a vessel’s class is justified due to the condition of the vessel, then in general the vessel may be deemed unseaworthy and the charterers will, usually, have a right to claim damages for breach of charterparty. Generally, provisions relating to the vessel’s class, flag and/or nationality all apply from the date of the charterparty. However, generally there is no continuing obligation in relation to class whereas in relation to flag and nationality there is generally  an implied  term  that  the vessel’s  flag  and  nationality  will  not change throughout  the duration  of the charterparty. Flag and nationality  can be important  in relation to the carriage  of cargo between certain  ports.