Ship Total Management

At the other end of the scale from simply offering one aspect is the task of providing a complete service. As was mentioned earlier, this activity is substantially the same whether it is for the company’s own ships or for outside clients. Apart from crewing one can roughly divide ship management into a further three parts. Ship Management Technical Department: In this department will be found senior shore-based Masters and Chief Engineers often referred to as Marine and Engineer Superintendents. Their jobs include ensuring that stores and spares are properly purchased and directed to the ships. They have to react quickly to any sort of casualty, often flying out to the scene of a problem in order to oversee repairs. Their most important routine task is to do all that is necessary to ensure their ships are maintained to the standards set by the classification society including monitoring the ships through their special surveys. Ship Management Operations Department: Once a decision has been made as to the ship’s employment, it is this department which has to make it happen. They will of course have to be involved before the decisions are made because it is in the operations department that the ship’s capabilities are known. Operations departments in shipowners’ offices may often include the decision-makers. Those who determine what business will be negotiated and what rate of freight or hire will be accepted; it will be they who ‘authorize’ the brokers to make firm offers. To do this effectively they will have to be highly skilled in the art of voyage estimating, the specialised form of budgeting which enables the value of different pieces of business on offer to be compared one with another and each with the running costs of the ship concerned. They and the technical department must always liaise closely, for example it could be ruinous if a dry-docking were to be due and the operations people committed the ship to the other side of the world from where the dry-dock was stemmed. Ship Management Administration Department: This third section deals with all the essential administration such as Insurance and Cargo Claims and the all-important task of accounting. In the same way as the technical people and operations have to liase closely so too do the accounts personnel have to have a close co-operation with both the others. Not the least of this will be the comparison of the actual outcome of a particular voyage with the estimate which was made at the time it was taken on; wide differences will need investigating and adjustment of date if necessary. Ship Management Contracts: Owners and managers are, of course, free to draw up a contract between them in any way they wish but BIMCO (The Baltic and International Maritime Council) have produced a Standard Ship Management Agreement “SHIPMAN 1998”. Whilst it may be rare for such a form to be used without some amendment or addition it serves as an excellent check list to ensure that both parties cover all the necessary points. In ship management there are some areas where the managers could well be contractors (i.e. principals themselves) whilst they are agents in others, all in the same contract.