Ship Delivery and Deviation

The time charter clock starts to tick upon a vessel’s delivery, which also sets in motion the payment of the first hire and any additional sums, such as for bunkers remaining on board at the time and ballast bonus. The latter is a positioning bonus that may be paid by the charterer to the shipowner to cover the shipowner’s costs incurred for delivering the ship to the geographical position required by the charterer. A delivery ballast bonus is usually payable in full together with the first hire due under a new time charter. When a vessel is delivered, the charterers will normally take over the bunkers remaining on board the vessel at that time and reimburse the shipowner accordingly. On redelivery, the reverse process takes place, with charterers estimating the quantity of bunkers remaining on board on redelivery and deducting the equivalent monetary value from the final hire payment. Deviation: The shipowner is obliged to proceed on a given agreed route without unjustifiable departure or unreasonable delay from that route. This is what both a charterer and a bill of lading holder is entitled to expect. Although deviation (the diversion from a vessel’s planned course) is not allowed unless for the purpose of saving life at sea (under common law) and/or for saving property (under the Hague Visby Rules that may govern the contract of carriage), it is necessary to make deviation calculations so as to assess the cost of off-hire incidents. A number of reasons may necessitate that the vessel diverts from a contracted voyage carrying cargo. A deviation may, however, have serious consequences both under the applicable contract (both the C/P and bill of lading) and for the P&I cover.
The contract may allow deviation, but only when an appropriate deviation/liberty clause is included in the charter party (and in the bill of lading). The deviation is normally calculated by the master and sent directly to both the owners and charterers and will cover extra time and bunkers used.