A-Z Of Maritime Terms

This glossary of maritime terms is offered as an aid to better understanding what is meant by those who make their living from ports and ships.

BONDED WAREHOUSE – An area of security approved by custom authorities for the safekeeping or deposit of goods liable for excise duty but not yet subject to that duty.

BOW THRUSTERS – A propeller at the lower sea-covered part of the bow of the ship, which turns at right angles to the fore-and-aft line and thus provides transverse thrust as a manoeuvring aid.

B/p or BOP – Balance of payments.

BOX – a term used for a container.

BOXTIME – Standard BIMVO time charter for container ships.

BREADTH – See Beam

BREAKBULK VESSEL – A general, multipurpose, cargo ship that carriers cargoes of non-uniform sizes, often on pallets, resulting in labour-intensive loading and unloading.

BREAK BULK CARGO – Goods carried in the hold of ships and not in containers.

BULK – Cargo shipped in loose condition and of a homogeneous nature. Cargoes that are shipped unpackaged either dry, such as grain and ore, or liquid, such as petroleum products. Bulk service generally is not provided on a regularly scheduled basis, but rather as needed, on specialized ships, transporting a specific commodity.

BULK CARRIER – Ship specifically designed to transport large amounts of cargoes such as sugar, grain, wine, ore, chemicals, liquefied natural gas; coal, ore etc. See also LNG Carrier, Tanker, OBO Ship.

BULKHEAD – A name given to any vertical partition which separates different compartments or spaces from one another.

BUNKERS – Fuel consumed by the engines of a ship; compartments or tanks in a ship for fuel storage.

BUOY – A floating object marking the navigable limits of channels, sunken dangers, isolated rocks, telegraph cables etc.

CABLE SHIP – a specially constructed ship for the laying and repairing of telegraph and telephone cables across channels, seas, lakes, and oceans.

CABOTAGE – The carriage of goods or passengers for remuneration taken on at one point and discharged at another point within the territory of the same country.

CABOTAGE POLICIES – Reservation of a country's coastal (domestic) shipping for its own flag vessels.

CAPESIZE – a term used to describe a ship, usually a dry or wet bulker, that is too large to transit the canals and as a consequence must travel via the 'capes', ie Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn.

CARGO HANDLING – The act of loading and discharging a cargo ship.

CARGO PLAN – A plan giving the quantities and description of the various grades carried in the ship's cargo tanks, after the loading is completed.

CARGO PREFERENCE – Reserving a portion of a nation's imports and exports to national-flag vessels.

CARRIERS – Owners or operators of vessels providing transportation to shippers. The term is also sometimes used to refer to the vessels, i.e. ore carriers.

CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRY – A document specifying the nation registry of the vessel.

CHANDLER – a person who deals in the selling of provisions, dried stores, etc.

CHARTER – Hiring out of a ship by a shipowner.

CHARTERER – The person who has chartered the ship for a specified period of time.

CHARTER RATES – The tariff applied for chartering tonnage in a particular trade.

CHARTER PARTY – A contractual agreement between a ship owner and a cargo owner, usually arranged by a broker, whereby a ship is chartered (hired) either for one voyage or a period of time.

*To be continued next week