AA - Always Afloat
(In some ports the ship aground when approaching, or
AAPA - American Association of Port Authorities.
ABAFT - A point beyond the midpoint of a ships length,
towards the rear or stern.
ABANDON - A proceeding wherein a shipper/consignee seeks
authority to abandon all or parts of their cargo.
ABLE-BODIED SEAMAN - A member of the deck crew who is
able to perform all the duties of an experienced seaman;
certificated by examination; must have three years sea
service. Also called Able Seaman and A.B.
ABS - American Bureau of Shipping: A U.S.-based private
classification, or standards setting society for merchant
ships and other marine systems.
ACP - Alternative Compliance Program.
AD VALOREM - A term from Latin meaning, "according
ADMEASUREMENT - The confirmed or official dimensions
of a ship.
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE - A representative of a government
commission or agency vested with power to administer
oaths, examine witnesses, take testimony, and conduct
hearings of cases submitted to, or initiated by, that
agency. Also called Hearing Examiner.
AFFREIGHTMENT, CONTRACT OF - An agreement by an ocean
carrier to provide cargo space on a vessel at a specified
time and for a specified price to accommodate an exporter
AFT - In, near, or toward the stern of the vessel.
AGENCY FEE - A fee charged to the ship by the ship's
agent, representing payment for services while the ship
was in port. Sometimes called attendance fee.
AGENCY TARIFF - A tariff published by an agent on behalf
of several carriers.
AID - Agency for International Development.
AIS - Automatic Identification System.
ALLISION - The act of striking or collision of a moving
vessel against a stationary object.
ALONGSIDE - A phrase referring to the side of a ship.
Goods delivered "alongside" are to be placed
on the dock or barge within reach of the transport ship's
tackle so that they can be loaded.
AMC - American Maritime Congress.
AMIDSHIPS - Generally speaking, the word amidships means
in the middle portion of a vessel.
AMO - American Maritime Officers.
AMOS - American Maritime Officers Service.
API - American Petroleum Institute.
APPS - The Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.
ARA - American Radio Association.
ARTICLES OF AGREEMENT - The document containing all
particulars relating to the terms of agreement between
the master of the vessel and the crew. Sometimes called
ship's articles, shipping articles.
ASTERN - A backward direction in the line of a vessel's
fore and aft line; behind. If a vessel moves backwards
it is said to move astern; opposite to ahead.
AT SEA - In marine insurance this phrase applies to
a ship which is free from its moorings and ready to
AUTOMATIC PILOT - An instrument designed to control
automatically a vessel's steering gear so that it follows
a pre-determined track through the water.
AWO - American Waterway Operators.
BACKFREIGHT - The owners of a ship are entitled to payment
as freight for merchandise returned through the fault
of either the consignees or the consignors. Such payment,
which is over and above the normal freight, is called
BACKHAUL - A deviation to move cargo on the return leg
of a voyage for the purpose of minimizing ballast mileage
and thereby reducing transportation costs.
BAF - Bunker Adjustment Factor, used to compensate for
fluctuating fuel costs.
BAGGED CARGO - Various kinds of commodities usually
packed in sacks or in bags, such as sugar, cement, milk
powder, onion, grain, flour, etc.
BALLAST - Heavy substances loaded by a vessel to improve
stability, trimming, sea-keeping and to increase the
immersion at the propeller. Sea water ballast is commonly
loaded in most vessels in ballast tanks, positioned
in compartments right at the bottom and in some cases
on the sides, called wing tanks. On a tanker, ballast
is seawater that is taken into the cargo tanks to submerge
the vessel to a proper trim.
BALLAST MOVEMENT - A voyage or voyage leg made without
any paying cargo in a vessel's tanks. To maintain proper
stability, trim, or draft, sea water is usually carried
during such movements.
BALLAST TANK - Compartments at the bottom of a ship
or on the sides which are filled with liquids for stability
and to make the ship seaworthy. Any shipboard tank or
compartment on a tanker normally used for carrying salt-water
ballast. When these compartments or tanks are not connected
with the cargo system they are called segregated ballast
tanks or systems.
BARE BOAT CHARTER - A charter in which the bare ship
is chartered without crew; the charterer, for a stipulated
sum taking over the vessel for a stated period of time,
with a minimum of restrictions; the charterer appoints
the master and the crew and pays all running expenses.
See Demise Charter.
BARGE - Flat-bottomed boat designed to carry cargo on
inland waterways, usually without engines or crew accommodations.
Barges can be lashed together and either pushed or pulled
by tugs, carrying cargo of 60,000 tons or more. Small
barges for carrying cargo between ship and shore are
known as lighters.
BARGE ABOARD CATAMARAN - A way of loading cargo into
large barges and then in turn loading the barges into
BARGE CARRIERS - Ships designed to carry either barges
or containers exclusively, or some variable number of
barges and containers simultaneously. Currently this
class includes two types of vessels, the LASH and the
BARRATRY - An act committed by the master or mariners
of a vessel, for some unlawful or fraudulent purpose,
contrary to their duty to the owners, whereby the latter
sustain injury. It may include negligence, if so gross
as to evidence fraud.
B/d -Barrels per day (measure of petroleum production).
BEAM - The width of a ship. Also called breadth.
BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP - Designates the owner who receives
the benefits or profits from the operation.
BERTH CARGO - When a liner cargo vessel accepts extra
cargo to fill up the empty space remaining.
BILL OF LADING - A document by which the Master of a
ship acknowledges having received in good order and
condition (or the reverse) certain specified goods consigned
to him by some particular shipper, and binds himself
to deliver them in similar condition, unless the perils
of the sea, fire or enemies prevent him, to the consignees
of the shippers at the point of destination on their
paying him the stipulated freight. A bill of lading
specifies the name of the master, the port and destination
of the ship, the goods, the consignee, and the rate
BIMCO - Baltic and International Maritime Council.
B/L - Bill of Lading
BLACK CARGO - Cargo banned by general cargo workers
for some reason. This ban could be because the cargo
is dangerous or hazardous to health.
BLACK GANG - A slang expression referring to the personnel
in the engine department aboard ship.
BLS - Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor.
BOATSWAIN (BOSUN) - The highest unlicensed rating in
the deck department who has immediate charge of all
deck hands and who in turn comes under the direct orders
of the master or chief mate or mate.
BOILERS - Steam generating units used aboard ship to
provide steam for propulsion (and) for heating and other
BOW - The front of a vessel.
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 maneuvering aid.
B/p or BOP - Balance of payments.
BREADTH - See Beam
BREAKBULK - The process of assimilating many small shipments
into one large shipment at a central point so that economies
of scale may be achieved; to commence discharge of cargo.
BREAKBULK VESSEL - A general, multipurpose, cargo ship
that carries cargoes of nonuniform sizes, often on pallets,
resulting in labor-intensive loading and unloading;
calls at various ports to pick up different kinds of
BRIDGE - Used loosely to refer to the navigating section
of the vessel where the wheel house and chart room are
located; erected structure amidships or aft or very
rarely fore over the main deck of a ship to accommodate
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
vast amounts of cargoes such as sugar, grain, wine,
ore, chemicals, liquefied natural gas; coal and oil.
See also LNG Carrier, Tanker, OBO Ship.
BULKHEAD - A name given to any vertical partition which
separates different compartments or spaces from one
BUNKERS - Fuel consumed by the engines of a ship; compartments
or tanks in a ship for fuel storage.
BUOY - A floating object employed as an aid to mariners
to mark the navigable limits of channels, their fairways,
sunken dangers, isolated rocks, telegraph cables, and
the like; floating devices fixed in place at sea, lake
or river as reference points for navigation or for other
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.
CAF - Currency Adjustment Factor, a charge that is applied
to compensate ocean carriers for currency fluctuations.
CAORF - Computer-Assisted Operations Research Facility:
A MarAd R&D facility located at U.S. Merchant Marine
Academy, Kings Point, New York.
CARGO - Freight loaded into a ship.
CARGO HANDLING - The act of loading and discharging
a cargo ship.
CARGO MANIFEST - A manifest that lists all cargo carried
on a specific vessel voyage.
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.
CARRIAGE OF GOODS BY SEA ACT 1936 (COSGA) - A law enacted
in 1936 covering the transportation of merchandise by
sea to or from ports of the United States and in foreign
CARRIERS - Owners or operators of vessels providing
transportation to shippers. The term is also used to
refer to the vessels.
CATAMARAN - A double or treble-hulled vessel constructed
in wood, aluminum or reinforced glass fibre and is also
composed of two or three hulls diagonally joined together
by various methods. Normally no ballast is needed to
counteract the center buoyancy since it enjoys good
stability at sea.
CATUG - Short for Catamaran Tug. A rigid catamaran tug
connected to a barge. When joined together, they form
and look like a single hull of a ship; oceangoing integrated
CATWALK - A raised bridge running fore and aft from
the midship, and also called "walkway." It
affords safe passage over the pipelines and other deck
CCC - Commodity Credit Corporation, an agency within
the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
CCF - Capital Construction Fund: A tax benefit for operators
of U.S.-built, U.S.-flag ships in the U.S. foreign,
Great Lakes, or noncontiguous domestic trades, by which
taxes may be deferred on income deposited in a fund
to be used for the replacement of vessels.
CDS - Construction Differential Subsidy: A direct subsidy
paid to U.S. shipyards building U.S.-flag ships to offset
high construction costs in American shipyards. An amount
of subsidy (up to 50 percent) is determined by estimates
of construction cost differentials between U.S. and
foreign yards. Program has not been funded since 1981.
CERCLA - Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation
and Liability Act.
CERTIFICATE OF INSPECTION - The document issued by the
U.S. Coast Guard certifying an American-flag vessel's
compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRY - A document specifying the
nation registry of the vessel.
C & F - Cost and Freight
C & I - Cost and Insurance
CHANDLER - A person who deals in the selling of provisions,
dried stores, etc.
CHARTERER - The person to whom is given the use of the
whole of the carrying capacity of a ship for the transportation
of cargo or passengers to a stated port for a specified
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.
CHARTER RATES - The tariff applied for chartering tonnage
in a particular trade.
CHIEF ENGINEER - The senior engineer officer responsible
for the satisfactory working and upkeep of the main
and auxiliary machinery and boiler plant on board ship.
CHIEF MATE - The officer in the deck department next
in rank to the master; second in command of a ship.
He is next to the master, most especially in the navigation
and as far as the deck department is concerned. The
chief mate assumes the position of the Master in his
C.I.F. - Cost, Insurance and Freight: Export term in
which the price quoted by the exporter includes the
costs of ocean transportation to the port of destination
and insurance coverage.
CLASSIFICATION SOCIETY - Worldwide experienced and reputable
societies. which undertake to arrange inspections and
advise on the hull and machinery of a ship. A private
organization that supervises vessels during their construction
and afterward, in respect to their seaworthiness, and
the placing of vessels in grades or "classes"
according to the society's rules for each particular
type. It is not compulsory by law that a shipowner have
his vessel built according to the rules of any classification
society; but in practice, the difficulty in securing
satisfactory insurance rates for an unclassed vessel
makes it a commercial obligation.
CLEAN SHIP - Refers to tankers which have their cargo
tanks free of traces of dark persistent oils which remain
after carrying crudes and heavy fuel oils.
COASTWISE - Domestic shipping routes along a single
CODE OF LINER CONDUCT (UNCTAD) - A convention drafted
under the auspices of the United Nations Conference
on Trade and Development which provides that all shipping
traffic between two foreign countries is to be regulated
as far as the quantities of shipments are concerned
on the following percentages -- 40% for owners of the
country of origin, 40% for owners of country of destination,
and 20% for owners of the country which is neither the
origin nor the destination.
COFR - Certificate of Financial Responsibility.
COGSA - Carriage of Goods by Sea Act of 1936. U.S. federal
codification passed in 1936 which standardizes carrier's
liability under carrier's bill of lading. U.S. enactment
of The Hague Rules.
COLLIER - Vessel used for transporting coal.
COLLISION AVOIDANCE SYSTEM - Electronic system commonly
used to prevent collisions in inland navigable waterways.
COLREG - Convention on International Regulations for
Preventing Collisions at Sea.
COMBI - Combination passenger/cargo vessel; a vessel
specifically designed to carry both containers and conventional
COMBINATION PASSENGER AND CARGO SHIPS - Ships with a
capacity for 13 or more passengers.
COMMON CARRIER - Holds himself out for hire to the general
public. Must post rates and cannot discriminate against
customers whose cargo he is equipped to carry.
COMPLEMENT - The number of officers and crew employed
upon a vessel for its safe navigation and operation.
CONFERENCE - An affiliation of shipowners operating
over the same route(s) who agree to charge uniform rates
and other terms of carriage. A conference is "closed"
if one can enter only by the consent of existing members
of the conference. It is "open" if anyone
can enter by meeting certain technical and financial
standards. Conference members are common carriers.
CONSIGNEE - The person to whom cargo is consigned as
stated on the bills of lading.
CONSIGNOR - The person named in the bill of lading as
the one from whom the goods have been received for shipment.
CONTAINER - A van, flatrack, open top trailer or other
similar trailer body on or into which cargo is loaded
and transported without chassis aboard ocean vessels.;
a large rectangular or square container/box of a strong
structure that can withstand continuous rough handling
from ship to shore and back. It opens from one side
to allow cargo to be stacked and stowed into it.
CONTAINER MANIFEST - Document showing contents and loading
sequence of a container.
CONTAINER TERMINAL - An area designated for the stowage
of cargoes in container; usually accessible by truck,
railroad and marine transportation. Here containers
are picked up, dropped off, maintained and housed.
CONTINERIZABLE CARGO - Cargo that will fit into a container.
CONTAINERSHIP - A ship constructed in such a way that
she can easily stack containers near and on top of each
other as well as on deck. A vessel designed to carry
standard intermodal containers enabling efficient loading,
unloading, and transport to and from the vessel. Oceangoing
merchant ship designed to transport a unit load of standard-sized
containers 8 feet square and 20 or 40 feet long. The
hull is divided into cells that are easily accessible
through large hatches, and more containers can be loaded
on deck atop the closed hatches. Loading and unloading
can proceed simultaneously using giant traveling cranes
at special berths. Container ships usually carry in
the range of 25,000 to 50,000 deadweight tons. Whereas
a general-cargo ship may spend as much as 70 percent
of its life in port loading and discharging cargo, a
container ship can be turned around in 36 hours or less,
spending as little as 20 percent of its time in port.
This ship type is the result of American design innovation.
Specialized types of container ships are the LASH and
SeaBee which carry floating containers (or "lighters,")
and RoRo ships, which may carry containers on truck
CONTRABAND - Cargo that is prohibited.
CONTRACT OF AFFREIGHTMENT (COA) - A service contract
under which a ship owner agrees to transport a specified
quantity of fuel products or specialty products, at
a specified rate per ton, between designated loading
and discharge ports. This type contract differs from
a spot or consecutive voyage charter in that no particular
vessel is specified.
CONTRACT CARRIER - Any person not a common carrier who,
under individual contracts or agreements, transports
passengers or property for compensation.
CPI - Consumer Price Index.
CREW - The personnel engaged on board ship, excluding
the master and officers and the passengers on passenger
CREW LIST - List prepared by the master of a ship showing
the full names, nationality, passport or discharge book
number, rank and age of every officer and crew member
engaged on board that ship. This serves as one of the
essential ship's documents which is always requested
to be presented and handed over to the customs and immigration
authorities when they board the vessel on arrival.
CROSS-TRADES - Foreign-to-foreign trade carried by ships
from a nation other than the two trading nations.
CRUDE OIL WASHING - A technique of cleaning tanks in
CSR - Continuous Synopsis Record, an on-board record
of the history of a ship.
CTAC - Chemical Transportation Advisory Committee, an
industry advisory body to the U.S. Coast Guard.
D&H - Abbreviation for "Dangerous and Hazardous"
DANGEROUS CARGO - All substances of an inflammable nature
which are liable to spontaneous combustion either in
themselves or when stowed adjacent to other substances
and, when mixed with air, are liable to generate explosive
gases or produce suffocation or poisoning or tainting
DANGEROUS LIQUIDS - Liquids giving off inflammable vapors.
DAVITS - Two radial cranes on a ship which hold the
lifeboats. They are constructed in such a way as to
lower and lift the lifeboats the easiest way possible
and are also unobstructed in case of an emergency.
DCA - Dredging Contractors of America.
DDC - Destination Delivery Charge, based on container
size, that is applied in many tariffs to cargo. It covers
crane lifts off the vessel, drayage of the container
within the terminal and gate fees at the terminal operation.
DEADFREIGHT FACTOR - Percentage of a ship's carrying
capacity that is not utilized.
DEADWEIGHT - A common measure of ship carrying capacity.
The number of tons (2240 lbs.) of cargo, stores and
bunkers that a vessel can transport. It is the difference
between the number of tons of water a vessel displaces
"light" and the number of tons it displaces
"when submerged to the 'deep load line'."
A vessel's cargo capacity is less than its total deadweight
tonnage. The difference in weight between a vessel when
it is fully loaded and when it is empty (in general
transportation terms, the net) measured by the water
it displaces. This is the most common, and useful, measurement
for shipping as it measures cargo capacity.
DEADWEIGHT CARGO - A long ton of cargo that can be stowed
in less than 40 cubic feet.
DECK GANG - The officers and seamen comprising the deck
department aboard ship. Also called deck crew, deck
department, or just deck.
DECKHAND - Seaman who works on the deck of a ship and
remains in the wheelhouse attending to the orders of
the duty officers during navigation and maneuvering.
He also comes under the direct orders of the bosun.
DECK HOUSE - Small superstructure on the top deck of
a vessel, which contains the helm and other navigational
DECK LOG - Also called Captain's Log. A full nautical
record of a ship's voyage, written up at the end of
each watch by the deck officer on watch.
DECK OFFICER - As distinguished from engineer officer,
refers to all officers who assist the master in navigating
the vessel when at sea, and supervise the handling of
cargo when in port.
DEEP SEA TRADES - The traffic routes of both cargo and
passenger vessels which are regularly engaged on the
high seas or on long voyages.
DEEP STOWAGE - Any bulk, bagged or other type of cargo
stowed in single hold ships.
DEMISE CHARTER - See Bareboat Charter.
DEMURRAGE - A fee levied by the shipping company upon
the port or supplier for not loading or unloading the
vessel by a specified date agreed upon by contract.
Usually, assessed upon a daily basis after the deadline.
DENSITY - The weight of cargo per cubic foot or other
DISABLED SHIP - When a ship is unable to sail efficiently
or in a seaworthy state as a result of engine trouble,
lack of officers or crew, damage to the hull or ship's
DISCHARGES - An essential document for officers and
seamen as it serves an official certificate confirming
sea experience in the employment for which he was engaged.
DISPLACEMENT - The weight, in tons of 2,240 pounds,
of the vessel and its contents. Calculated by dividing
the volume of water displaced in cubic feet by 35, the
average density of sea water.
DOD - Department of Defense.
DOMESTIC OFFSHORE TRADES - Domestic shipping routes
serving Alaska and non-continental U.S. States and territories.
DOT - Department of Transportation.
DOUBLE BOTTOM - General term for all watertight spaces
contained between the outside bottom plating, the tank
top and the margin plate. The double bottoms are sub-divided
into a number of separate tanks, which may contain boiler
feed water, drinking water, fuel oil, ballast, etc.
DRAFT - The depth of a ship in the water. The vertical
distance between the waterline and the keel, in the
U.S. expressed in feet, elsewhere in meters.
DRAYAGE - Charge made for local hauling by dray or truck.
DRY-BULK CONTAINER - A container constructed to carry
grain, powder and other free-flowing solids in bulk.
Used in conjunction with a tilt chassis or platform.
DRY CARGO - Merchandise other than liquid carried in
DRY CARGO SHIP - Vessel which carriers all merchandise,
excluding liquid in bulk.
DRY DOCK - An enclosed basin into which a ship is taken
for underwater cleaning and repairing. It is fitted
with water tight entrance gates which when closed permit
the dock to be pumped dry.
DUAL PURPOSE SHIP - Specially constructed ship able
to carry different types of cargoes such as ore and/or
DUMPING - Attempting to import merchandise into a country
at a price less than the fair market value, usually
through subsidy by exporting country.
DUNNAGE - A term applied to loose wood or other material
used in a ship's hold for the protection of cargo.
DWT - Deadweight tons.
EEC - European Economic Community.
EEZ - Exclusive Economic Zone.
ENTRY - A customs form used for the clearance of ships
EUSC - Effective U.S. Control.
EVEN KEEL - When the draft of a ship fore and aft are
EXIMBANK - Export-Import Bank: A Federal agency that
aids in financing exports of U.S. goods and services
through direct loans, loan guarantees, and insurance.
FAK - Freight All Kinds, usually referring to full container
loads of mixed shipments.
FAS - Free Along Side (of ship).
FCL - Full Container Load.
FEEDER - A grain container or reservoir constructed
around the hatchway between two decks of a ship which
when filled with grain automatically feeds or fills
in the vacant areas in the lower holds.
FEEDER SERVICE - Cargo to/from regional ports are transferred
to/from a central hub port for a long-haul ocean voyage.
FEEDER VESSEL - A short-sea vessel which transfers cargo
between a central hub port and smaller "spoke"
FEU - Forty Foot Equivalent Units (Containers).
FIO - Free in and out.
FIREMAN - an unlicensed member of the engine, room staff
whose duties consist of standing watch in the boiler
room and insuring the oil burning equipment is working
FLAGS OF CONVENIENCE - The registration of ships in
a country whose tax on the profits of trading ships
is low or whose requirements concerning manning or maintenance
are not stringent. Sometimes referred to as flags of
necessity; denotes registration of vessels in foreign
nations that offer favorable tax structures and regulations;
also the flag representing the nation under whose jurisdiction
a ship is registered. Ships are always registered under
the laws of one nation but are not always required to
establish their home location in that country.
FLOATING OIL STORAGE - Oil stored on floating vessels.
It has been the practice for oil to be stored in large
laid-up oil tankers in order to offset the loss involved
while the tankers are inactive.
FMC - Federal Maritime Commission.
F.O.B - Free on Board: Export term in which the price
quoted by the exporter does not include the costs of
ocean transportation, but does include loading on board
FOC - Flag of Convenience.
FORCE MAJEURE - The title of a common clause in contracts,
exempting the parties for non-fulfillment of their obligations
as a result of conditions beyond their control, such
as earthquakes, floods or war.
FORE AND AFT - The direction on a vessel parallel to
the center line.
FORECASTLE - The raised part of the forward end of a
ship's hull. The inside space may be used for crew accommodation
or quarters, though on new ships this space is being
used for the storage of paints, tackle, deck and engine
stores, tarpaulins, etc.
FORWARD - At or in the direction of the bow. Also the
fore part of the ship.
FREE IN AND OUT (FIO) - Cost of loading and unloading
a vessel is borne by the charterer/shipper.
FREIGHT - Refers to either the cargo carried or the
charges assessed for carriage of the cargo.
FREIGHT FORWARDER - Arranges shipments for customers
usually break bulk. Does not actually carry the cargo
or conduct business for the ship.
FREIGHTERS - Breakbulk vessels both refrigerated and
unrefrigerated, containerships, partial containerships,
roll-on/roll-off vessels, and barge carriers.
FREIGHT RATE - The charge made for the transportation
FULL CONTAINERSHIPS - Ships equipped with permanent
container cells, with little or no space for other types
GANGWAY - A narrow portable platform used as a passage,
by persons entering or leaving a vessel moored alongside
a pier or quay.
GAO - General Accounting Office.
GATS - General Agreement on Trade in Services.
GATT - General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade
GBL - Government Bill of Lading.
GDP - Gross Domestic Product: The total value of goods
and services produced by a nation over a given period,
usually 1 year.
GENERAL CARGO - A non-bulk oil cargo composed of miscellaneous
GENERAL CARGO CARRIERS - Breakbulk freighters, car carriers,
cattle carriers, pallet carriers and timber carriers.
GMDSS - Global Maritime Distress and Safety System.
GNP - Gross National Product: GDP plus the net income
accruing from foreign sources.
GOVERNMENT IMPELLED - Cargo owned by or subsidized by
the Federal Government.
GPS - Global Positioning System.
GREAT LAKES PORTS - Ports in the lakes of Canada and/or
USA popular for grain shipments. In Canada: Port Arthur
and Fort William on Lake Superior; Hamilton, Kingston,
Toronto and Prescott on Lake Ontario. In USA: Chicago,
Milwaukee on Lake Michigan; Duluth and Superior on Lake
Superior and Toledo on Lake Erie.
GREAT LAKES SHIP - Cargo ship developed to carry raw
materials and manufactured goods on the Great Lakes.
Most carry bulk cargoes of grain, iron ore or coal.
GROSS FREIGHT - Freight money collected or to be collected
without calculating the expenses relating to the running
cost of the ship for the voyage undertaken.
GROSS REGISTERED TONS - A common measurement of the
internal volume of a ship with certain spaces excluded.
One ton equals 100 cubic feet; the total of all the
enclosed spaces within a ship expressed in tons each
of which is equivalent to 100 cubic feet.
GROSS TONNAGE (GT) - Applies to vessels, not to cargo,
(0.2+0.02 log10V) where V is the volume in cubic meters
of all enclosed spaces on the vessel.
GROUNDING - Deliberate contact by a ship with the bottom
while she is moored or anchored as a result of the water
GYRO PILOT - An instrument, which automatically controls
and steers a ship very accurately, compared with human
navigation. An advanced bearing is set and the gyro
pilot will direct to that point.
HAGUE RULES - Rules governing the carriage of goods
by sea and identifying the rights and responsibilities
of carriers and owners of cargo. These rules were published
in 1924 following an international convention and were
subsequently given the force of law by many maritime
HAGUE-VISBY RULES - A set of rules, amending the Hague
Rules published in 1968 and subsequently given the force
of law by many maritime nations.
HAMBURG RULES - Rules governing the rights and responsibilities
of carrier and cargo interests which may be incorporated
into a contract for the carriage of goods by sea either
by agreement of the parties or statutorily. These rules
were adopted by the United National Convention on the
Carriage of Goods by Sea in 1978.
HARBOR DUES - Various local charges against all seagoing
vessels entering a harbor, to cover maintenance of channel
depths, buoys, lights, etc. All harbors do not necessarily
have this charge.
HARBOR MASTER - A person usually having the experience
of a certificated master mariner and having a good knowledge
of the characteristics of the port and its whole area.
He administers the entire shipping movements that take
place in and within reach of the port he is responsible
HARD AGROUND - A vessel which has gone aground and is
incapable of refloating under her own power.
HARD CURRENCY - A currency which is sound enough to
be accepted internationally and which is usually fully
HARTER ACT - (1893). This U.S. statute refers to merchandise
or property transported from or between ports of the
United States and foreign ports. Now partially superseded
by the US Carriage of Goods by Sea Act of 1936.
HATCH - An opening, generally rectangular, in a ship's
deck affording access into the compartment below.
HAWSER - Large strong rope used for towing purposes
and for securing or mooring ships. Hawsers are now mostly
made of steel.
HAZ MAT - An industry abbreviation for "Hazardous
HELM - A tiller or a wheel generally installed on the
bridge or wheelhouse of a ship to turn the rudder during
manoeuvering and navigation. It is in fact the steering
wheel of the ship.
HOISTING ROPE - Special flexible wire rope for lifting
purposes, generally being of six strands with 19 wires
in each strand and in most cases having a hemp rope
at the center.
HOLD - A general name for the spaces below the main
deck designated for stowage of general cargo. A hold
on a tanker is usually just forward of #1 cargo tank.
Some newer tankers have no hold.
HOPPER BARGE - A barge which loads material dumped into
it by a dredger and discharges the cargo through the
HOVERCRAFT - A vessel used for the transportation of
passengers and cargo riding on a cushion of air formed
under it. It is very maneuverable and is also amphibious.
HMT - Harbor Maintenance Tax.
HULL - Shell or body of a ship.
HYDROFOIL - A craft more or less similar to the Hovercraft
insofar as it flies over water and thus eliminates friction
between the water and the hull. Under acceleration it
rises above water but remains in contact with the surface
through supporting legs.
I/A - Abbreviation for "Independent Action."
The right of a conference member to publish a rate of
tariff rule that departs from the Agreement's common
rate or rule.
IBU - Inlandboatmen's Union of the Pacific.
ILO - International Labor Organization: Based in Geneva,
it is one of the oldest components of the UN system
of specialized agencies and has been involved over the
years in appraising and seeking to improve and regulate
conditions for seafarers. In its unusual tripartite
way, involving official representatives of government,
employer and employee interests, its joint Maritime
Commission have had in hand moves on the employment
of foreign seafarers to urge the application of minimum
labor standards, on crew accommodation, accident prevention,
medical examination and medical care, food and catering
and officer's competency.
IMDG - International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code.
Regulations published by IMO for transporting hazardous
IMF - International Monetary Fund.
IMO - International Maritime Organization: Formerly
known as the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative
Organization (IMCO), was established in 1958 through
the United Nations to coordinate international maritime
safety and related practices.
INDEPENDENT ACTION - Setting rate within a conference
tariff that is different from the rate(s) for the same
items established by other conference members.
INERT GAS SYSTEM - A system of preventing any explosion
in the cargo tanks of a tanker by replacing the cargo,
as it is pumped out, by an inert gas, often the exhaust
of the ship's engine. Gas-freeing must be carried out
subsequently if worker have to enter the empty tanks.
INFLAMMABLE LIQUIDS - Liquids liable to spontaneous
combustion which give off inflammable vapors at or below
80 degrees F. For example, ether, ethyl, benzine, gasoline,
paints, enamels, carbon disulfide, etc.
INLAND CARRIER - A transportation line that hauls export
of import traffic between ports and inland points.
INLAND WATERS - Term referring to lakes, streams, rivers,
canals, waterways, inlets, bays and the like.
INMARSAT - International Maritime Satellite System.
INTEGRATED TUG BARGE - A large barge of about 600 feet
and 22,000 tons cargo capacity, integrated from the
rear on to the bow of a tug purposely constructed to
push the barge.
INTERCOASTAL - Domestic shipping routes serving more
than one coast. Water service between two coasts; in
the U.S., this usually refers to water service between
the Atlantic and Pacific or Gulf Coasts.
INTERMODALISM - The concept of transportation as a door-to-door
service rather than port-to-port. Thus efficiency is
enhanced by having a single carrier coordinating the
movement and documentation among different modes of
INTERNATIONAL LOAD LINE CERTIFICATE - A certificate
which gives details of a ship's freeboards and states
that the ship has been surveyed and the appropriate
load lines marked on her sides. A classification society
or the Coast Guard issues this certificate.
INTERNATIONAL OIL POLLUTION COMPENSATION FUND - An inter-governmental
agency designed to pay compensation for oil pollution
damage, exceeding the shipowner's liability. It was
created by an IMO Convention in 1971 and started its
operations in October 1978. Contributions come mainly
from the oil companies of member states.
INTERNATIONAL TONNAGE CERTIFICATE - A certificate issued
to a shipowner by a government department in the case
of a ship whose gross and net tonnages have been determined
in accordance with the International Convention of Tonnage
Measurement of Ships. The certificate states the gross
and net tonnages together with details of the spaces
attributed to each.
INTERNATIONAL WATERWAYS - Consist of international straits,
inland and interocean canals and rivers where they separate
the territories of two or more nations. Provided no
treaty is enforced both merchant ships and warships
have the right of free and unrestricted navigation through
INTERTANKO - An association of independent tanker owners
whose aims are to represent the views of its members
INTRACOASTAL - Domestic shipping routes along a single
ISM CODE - The International Maritime Organization Assembly
adopted the International Safety Management Code (ISM
Code) in 1993. On July 1, 1998, the ISM Code became
mandatory for passenger vessels, passenger high-speed
craft, oil tankers, chemical tankers, bulk carriers,
and cargo high-speed craft of 500 gross tons or more.
On July 1, 2002, the ISM Code became applicable to other
cargo ships and to self-propelled mobile offshore drilling
units of 500 gross tons or more. (ISM Code - Chapter
IX of SOLAS).
ISPS CODE - The International Ship and Port Facility
Code adopted by an IMO Diplomatic Conference in December
2002. Measure is designed to strengthen maritime security.
(ISPS Code - Chapter XI-2 of SOLAS).
JACOB'S LADDER - A rope ladder suspended from the side
of a vessel and used for boarding.
JETTISON - Act of throwing cargo or equipment (jetsam)
overboard when a ship is in danger.
JONES ACT - Merchant Marine Act of 1920, Section 27,
requires that all U.S. domestic waterborne trade be
carried by U.S.-flag, U.S.-built, and U.S.-manned vessels.
KEEL - The lowest longitudinal timber of a vessel, on
which framework of the whole is built up; combination
of iron plates serving same purpose in iron vessel.
KNOT - Unit of speed in navigation which is the rate
of nautical mile (6,080 feet or 1,852 meters) per hour.
LADEN - Loaded aboard a vessel.
LAID-UP TONNAGE - Ships not in active service; a ship
which is out of commission for fitting out, awaiting
better markets, needing work for classification, etc.
LAKER - Type of ship which trades only in the Great
Lakes of North America. They usually carry grain and
LANDBRIDGE - A system of through rates and service offered
by a carrier for cargo shipments from a foreign port
to a U.S. port, across U.S. land to another U.S. port
and finally by sea to a foreign port destination.
LASH - Lighter aboard ship: A barge carrier designed
to act as a shuttle between ports, taking on and discharging
LASH SHIPS - LASH stand for Lighter Aboard Ship. It
is a specialized container ship carrying very large
floating containers, or "lighters." The ship
carries its own massive crane, which loads and discharges
the containers over the stern. The lighters each have
a capacity of 400 tons and are stowed in the holds and
on deck. While the ship is at sea with one set of lighters,
further sets can be made ready. Loading and discharge
are rapid at about 15 minutes per lighter, no port or
dock facilities are needed, and the lighters can be
grouped for pushing by towboats along inland waterways.
LAYTIME - Time allowed by the shipowner to the voyage
charterer or bill of lading holder in which to load
and/or discharge the cargo. It is expressed as a number
of days or hours or as a number of tons per day.
LAY-UP - Temporary cessation of trading of a ship by
a shipowner during a period when there is a surplus
of ships in relation to the level of available cargoes.
This surplus, known as overtonnaging, has the effect
of depressing freight rates to the extent that some
shipowners no long find it economical to trade their
ship, preferring to lay them up until there is a reversal
in the trend.
LCL - Less than Container Load, a consignment of cargo,
which is inefficient to fill a shipping container. It
is grouped with other consignments for the same destination
in a container at a container freight station.
LIFEBOAT - A specially constructed double ended boat
which can withstand heavy, rough seas.
LIFEBOAT DRILL - The master of every vessel is bound
by international law to make the officers, crew and
passengers adequately acquainted with the procedures
of lowering and the use of lifeboats in case of emergency.
LIGHT DISPLACEMENT TONNAGE - The weight of a ship's
hull, machinery, equipment and spares. This is often
the basis on which ships are paid for when purchased
for scrapping. The difference between the loaded displacement
and light displacement is the ship's deadweight.
LIGHTER - General name for a broad, flat-bottomed boat
used in transporting cargo between a vessel and the
shore. The distinction between a lighter and a barge
is more in the manner of use than in equipment. The
term "lighter" refers to a short haul, generally
in connection with loading and unloading operations
of vessels in harbor while the term "barge"
is more often used when the cargo is being carried to
its destination over a long distance.
LIGHTER ABOARD SHIP - An ocean ship which carries barges.
These barges are loaded with cargo, often at a variety
of locations, towed to the ocean ship, sometimes referred
to as the mother ship, and lifted or, in some cases,
floated on board. After the ocean crossing, the barges
are off-loaded and towed to their various destinations.
The ocean ship then receives a further set of barges
which have been assembled in readiness. This concept
was designed to eliminate the need for specialized port
equipment and to avoid transshipment with its consequent
LIGHTERAGE - Charge for conveying cargo by lighters
LIGHTERING - Conveying cargo with another vessel known
as a lighter from ship to shore, or vice versa.
LINER - A cargo-carrying ship which is operated between
scheduled, advertised ports of loading and discharge
on a regular basis.
LINER SERVICE - Vessels operating on fixed itineraries
or regular schedules and established rates available
to all shippers. The freight rates which are charged
are based on the shipping company's tariff or if the
company is a member of a liner conference, the tariff
of that conference.
LIST - The amount in degrees that a vessel tilts from
LLOYD'S REGISTER OF SHIPPING - British classification
LNG - Liquefied Natural Gas, or a carrier of LNG.
LNG CARRIER - Liquefied natural gas carrier, perhaps
the most sophisticated of all commercial ships. The
cargo tanks are made of a special aluminum alloy and
are heavily insulated to carry natural gas in its liquid
state at a temperature of -285°F. The LNG ship costs
about twice as much as an oil tanker of the same size.
LOAD LINE - The line on a vessel indicating the maximum
depth to which that vessel can sink when loaded with
cargo. Also known as marks.
LOADED LEG - Subdivision of a ship's voyage during which
the ship is carrying cargo.
LONG TON - 2,240 pounds.
LONGSHOREMAN -- Individual employed in a port to load
and unload ships.
LOOKOUT - A member of the crew stationed on the forecastle,
or on the bridge, whose duty it is to watch for any
dangerous objects or for any other vessels heaving into
LPG - Liquefied Petroleum Gas, or a carrier of LPG.
LSA - Liner Shipping Agreements.
L/T - Long tons (2,240 lbs.).
MAIN DECK - The main continuous deck of a ship running
from fore to aft; the principle deck; the deck from
which the freeboard is determined.
MALPRACTICE - A carrier giving a customer illegal preference
to attract cargo. This can take the form of a money
refund (rebate); using lower figures than actual for
the assessment of freight charges (undercubing); misdeclaration
of the commodity shipped to allow the assessment of
a lower tariff rate; waiving published tariff charges
for demurrage, CFS handling or equalization; providing
specialized equipment to a shipper to the detriment
of other shippers, etc.
MANIFEST - A document containing a full list of the
ship's cargo, extracted from the bills of lading.
MANNING SCALES - The minimum number of officers and
crew members that can be engaged on a ship to be considered
as sufficient hands with practical ability to meet every
possible eventuality at sea.
MASTER (CAPTAIN) - Highest officer aboard ship. Oversees
all ship operations. Keeps ships records. Handles accounting
and bookkeeping. Takes command of vessel in inclement
weather and in crowded or narrow waters. Handles communications.
Receives and implements instructions from home office.
FIRST MATE (CHIEF MATE) - In charge of four to eight
watch. Directly responsible for all deck operations
(cargo storage and handling, deck maintenance deck supplies).
Assigns and checks deck department overtime. Ship's
SECOND MATE - In charge of twelve to four watch. Ship's
navigation officer. Keeps charts (maps) up to date and
monitors navigation equipment on bridge.
THIRD MATE - In charge of eight to twelve watch. Makes
sure emergency survival equipment (lifeboats, life rings,
etc.) are in order. Assists other officers as directed.
CHIEF ENGINEER - Head of engineer department. Keeps
records of all engine parts and repairs. Generally tends
to the functioning of all mechanical equipment on ship.
Calculates fuel and water consumption and requirements.
Coordinates operations with shoreside port engineer.
FIRST ASSISTANT ENGINEER - In charge of four to eight
watch. Usually works from eight to four handling engine
maintenance. Assigns duties to unlicensed personnel
and monitors and records overtime. Consults with Chief
regarding work priorities.
SECOND ASSISTANT ENGINEER - In charge of twelve to four
watch. On steam vessels has responsibility for the boilers,
on diesels, the evaporators and the auxiliary equipment.
THIRD ASSISTANT ENGINEER - In charge of eight to twelve
watch. Maintains lighting fixtures. Repairs malfunctioning
accessories in living quarters. Assist other engineers
BOATSWAIN (BOSUN) - Receives working orders for deck
gang from chief mate and passes them onto AB's and ordinaries.
Tantamount to foreman, he is on deck directly supervising
SHIPS CHAIRMAN (SHOP STEWARD) - In charge of union business
for unlicensed personnel. Handles grievances.
ABLE SEAMEN (AB) - Stands watch, during which he steers
the vessel, stands lookout, assisst the mate on watch
and makes rounds of the ship to insure that all is in
order. Also ties up and unties the vessel to and from
the dock and maintains the equipment on deck.
ORDINARY SEAMAN (OS) - An apprentice AB, assists AB's
bosun, and officers, keeps facilities clean.
PUMPMAN AND ELECTRICIAN - QUALIFIED MEMBERS OF THE
ENGINE DEPARTMENT (Q.M.E.D.) - Trained in all crafts
necessary to engine maintenance (welding, refrigeration,
lathe operation, die casting, electricity, pumping,
water purification, oiling, evaluating engine gauges,
etc.) Usually watchstanders but on some ships, day workers.
PUMPMAN (TANKERS) - Operates pumps and discharges petroleum
products. Maintains and repairs all cargo handling equipment.
EQUIPMENT (LINERS) - Maintains and repairs cargo handling
equipment and also cargo with special handling characteristics.
WIPERS - Apprentice QMED. Cleans engine room. Assists
officers and QMED's.
CHIEF STEWARD - Orders food. Prepares menus. Assists
chief cook in food preparation.
COOK AND BAKER (CHIEF COOK) - Cooks and bakes.
STEWARD ASSISTANT - Clean galley and mess halls, set
tables, prepare salads, clean living quarters.
RADIO OPERATOR - Maintains and monitors radio, sends
and receives messages. Often maintains electronic navigation
MARINE INSURANCE - Broadly, insurance covering loss
or damage of goods at sea. Marine insurance typically
compensates the owner of merchandise for losses sustained
from fire, shipwreck, etc., but excludes losses that
can be recovered from the carrier.
MARITIME - Business pertaining to commerce or navigation
transacted upon the sea or in seaports in such matters
as the court of admiralty has jurisdiction.
MARITIME ADMINISTRATION (MarAd ) - Oversees subsidy
programs to the United States Merchant Marine. Assigns
routes to subsidized liners.
MARPOL 73/78 - The International Convention for the
Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified
by the Protocol of 1978.
MASTHEAD LIGHT - A white light positioned over the fore
and aft centerline of the vessel.
MCTF - Maritime Cabotage Task Force.
MEBA - Marine Engineers Beneficial Association.
MEPC - Marine Environment Protection Committee, a major
committee within the International Maritime Organization.
MERPAC - Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee,
an industry advisory body to the U.S. Coast Guard.
MIB - Marine Index Bureau.
MFN - Most Favored Nation.
MICROBRIDGE - A system of through rates and service
offered by a carrier for cargo shipments from any inland
U.S. location to a port by sea, to a foreign port, and
finally overland to foreign inland destination.
MINILAND BRIDGE - The process of taking inland cargo
bound for export to the coast by rail and loading it
directly to the ship.
MIRAID - Maritime Institute for Research and Industrial
MIXED SHIPMENT - A shipment consisting of more than
one commodity, articles described under more than one
class or commodity rate item in a tariff.
MM&P - Master, Mates and Pilots Union.
MODU - Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit.
MOORING LINE - A cable or line to tie up a ship.
MSB - Maritime Subsidy Board.
MSC - Maritime Safety Committee, a major committee within
the International Maritime Organization.
MSC - Military Sealift Command, U.S. Department of the
MSP - Maritime Security Program, established by the
Maritime Security Act of 1996, is designed to maintain
a nucleus fleet of militarily useful U.S.-flag vessels.
M/T - Metric tons (2,250 lbs.).
MTC - Maritime Transport Committee, OECD
MTD - Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO.
MTMC - Military Traffic Management Command, U.S. Department
of the Army.
MULTIPURPOSE SHIP - Any ship capable of carrying different
types of cargo which require different methods of handling.
There are several types of ships falling into this category,
for example, ships which can carry roll on/roll off
cargo together with containers.
NATIONAL CARGO BUREAU - A private organization having
representatives throughout the main harbors in the U.S.
It is empowered to inspect cargoes of a hazardous nature
and issue certificates which are automatically approved
by the Coast Guard.
NATIONAL FLAG - The flag carried by a ship to show her
NAUTICAL MILE - Distance of one minute of longitude
at the equator, approximately 6,076.115 feet. The metric
equivalent is 1852 meters.
NAVSAC - Navigation Safety Advisory Council, an industry
advisory body to the U.S. Coast Guard.
NDRF - National Defense Reserve Fleet.
NEOBULK - Shipments consisting entirely of units of
a single commodity, such as cars, lumber, or scrap metal.
NET CAPACITY - The number of tons of cargo which a vessel
can carry when loaded in salt water to her summer freeboard
marks. Also called cargo carrying capacity, cargo deadweight,
NET TONNAGE - Equals gross tonnage minus deductions
for space occupied by crew accommodations, machinery,
navigation equipment and bunkers. It represents space
available for cargo (and passengers). Canal tolls are
based on net (registered) tonnage.
NISA - National Invasive Species Act of 1996.
NITL - National Industrial Transportation League.
NMU - National Maritime Union.
NON-CONFERENCE LINE - A shipping line which operates
on a route served by a liner conference but which is
not a member of that conference.
NONCONTIGUOUS - Domestic shipping routes serving Alaska
and non-continental U.S. States and territories.
NORSKE VERITAS - Norwegian classification society.
NRT - Net registered tons. This tonnage is frequently
shown on ship registration papers; it represents the
volumetric area available for cargo at 100 cubic feet
= 1 ton. It often is used by port and canal authorities
as a basis for charges.
NVOCC - Non-vessel-operating common carrier, a ships
agent, conducts business for the ship but does not operate
OBO SHIP - A multipurpose ship that can carry ore, heavy
dry bulk goods and oil. Although more expensive to build,
they ultimately are more economical because they can
make return journeys with cargo rather than empty as
single-purpose ships often must.
OCEAN WAYBILL - A document, issued by a shipping line
to a shipper which serves as a receipt for the goods
and evidence of the contract carriage.
OCMI - Officer in Charge of Marine Inspection.
ODS - Operating-Differential Subsidy: Established by
the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, it was a direct subsidy
paid to U.S.-flag operators to offset the high operating
cost of U.S.-flag ships when compared to foreign-flag
counterparts. Contracts between U.S.-flag vessel operators
and the Maritime Administration have expired. The ODS
program has been replaced by the Maritime Security Program.
OECD - Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The Maritime Transport Committee is part of this organization.
OFF-HIRE CLAUSE - In a time charter, the owner is entitled
to a limited time for his vessel to be off hire until
such time as the vessel may be repaired or dry-docked.
OFFICER - Any of the licensed members of the ship's
OFF-LOAD - Discharge of cargo from a ship.
OILER - An unlicensed member of the engine room staff
who oils and greases bearings and moving parts of the
main engine and auxiliaries. Most of this work is now
done automatically and the oiler merely insures it operates
OIL RECORD BOOK - A book or log kept by the master of
an oil tanker wherein every discharge or escape of oil
OIL TANKER - A ship designed for the carriage of oil
in bulk, her cargo space consisting of several or many
tanks. Tankers load their cargo by gravity from the
shore or by shore pumps and discharge using their own
OMB - Office of Management and Budget.
OPA - Oil Pollution Act of 1990.
OPEN RATES - Pricing systems that are flexible and not
subject to conference approval. Usually applied to products
in which tramps are substituted for liners.
OPEN REGISTRY - A term used in place of "flag of
convenience" or "flag of necessity" to
denote registry in a country which offers favorable
tax, regulatory, and other incentives to ship owners
from other nations.
OPEN TOP CONTAINER - A container fitted with a solid
removable roof, or with a tarpaulin roof so the container
can be loaded or unloaded from the top.
ORDINARY SEAMAN - A deck crewmember who is subordinate
to the Able Bodied Seaman.
ORE CARRIER - A large ship designed to be used for the
carnage of ore. Because of the high density of ore,
ore carriers have a relatively high center of gravity
to prevent them being still when at sea, that is, rolling
heavily with possible stress to the hull.
ORE-BULK-OIL CARRIER - A large multi-purpose ship designed
to carry cargoes wither of ore or other bulk commodities
or oil so as to reduce the time the ship would be in
ballast if restricted to one type of commodity. This
type of ship is sometimes called bulk-oil carrier.
ORE-OIL CARRIER - A ship designed to carry either ore
or oil in bulk.
OVERTONNAGING - A situation where there are too many
ships generally or in a particular trade for the level
of available cargoes.
P&I -Protection and Indemnity, an insurance term.
PALLET - A flat tray, generally made of wood but occasionally
of steel, on which goods particularly those in boxes,
cartons or bags, can be stacked. Its purpose is to facilitate
the movement of such goods, mainly by the use of forklift
PANAMAX - A vessel designed to be just small enough
to transit the Panama Canal.
PARTIAL CONTAINERSHIPS - Multipurpose containerships
where one or more but not all compartments are fitted
with permanent container cells. Remaining compartments
are used for other types of cargo.
PASSENGER SHIP - A passenger ship that its authorized
to carry over twelve passengers.
PER CONTAINER RATE - Rates and/or changes on shipments
transported in containers or trailers and rated on the
basis of the category of the container or trailer.
PERSONAL FLOATATION DEVICE - Approved floats meant as
life preservers and carried on board American ships.
PILOT - A person who is qualified to assist the master
of a ship to navigate when entering or leaving a port.
PILOTAGE - The act carried out by a pilot of assisting
the master of a ship in navigation when entering or
leaving a port. Sometimes used to define the fee payable
for the services of a pilot.
PILOTAGE DUES - A fee payable by the owner or operator
of a ship for the services of a pilot. This fee is normally
based on the ship's tonnage.
PILOT HOUSE - The enclosed space on the navigating bridge
from which a ship is controlled when under way.
P.L. 480 - Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance
Act of 1954.
P.L. 664 - Mandates that 50 percent of government impelled
cargoes be carried under U.S. flag.
PLIMSOLL MARK - A series of horizontal lines, corresponding
to the seasons of the year in fresh or saltwater, painted
on the outside of a ship marking the level which must
remain above the surface of the water for the vessel's
PMA - Pacific Maritime Association.
POL - Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants.
POOLING - The sharing of cargo or the profit or loss
from freight by member lines of a liner conference.
Pooling arrangements do not exist in all conferences.
PORT OF CALL - Port where a ship discharges or receives
PORT STATE CONTROL - The inspection of foreign ships
in national ports for the purpose of verifying that
the condition of a ship and its equipment comply with
the requirements of international conventions and that
the vessel is manned and operated in compliance with
applicable international law.
PR 17 - Public Resolution which requires that U.S. Government
financed cargoes (Eximbank) must be shipped 100 percent
in U.S. flag ships, but that the requirement may be
waived up to 50 percent in some cases.
PRODUCT CARRIER - A tanker, which is generally below
70,000 deadweight tons and used to carry refined oil
products from the refinery to the consumer. In many
cases, four different grades of oil can be handled simultaneously.
PROPANE CARRIER - A ship designed to carry propane in
liquid form. The propane is carried in tanks within
the holds; it remains in liquid form by means of pressure
and refrigeration. Such ships are also suitable for
the carriage of butane.
PUMPMAN - A rating who tends to the pumps of an oil
PURSER - A ship's officer who is in charge of accounts,
especially on a passenger ship.
PVSA - Passenger Vessel Services Act.
QUALIFIED MEMBER OF THE ENGINE DEPARTMENT(QMED) - Unlicensed
members of the engine department who attend to a fully
automated engine room.
OUARTERMASTER/HELMSMAN - An able-bodied seamen entrusted
with the steering of a vessel.
QUARTERS - Accommodations.
QUAY - A structure attached to land to which a vessel
RADIO OPERATOR - An officer who operates and controls
the shipboard communication equipment.
REEFER - Refrigerator ship: A vessel designed to carry
goods requiring refrigeration, such as meat and fruit.
A reefer ship has insulated holds into which cold air
is passed at the temperature appropriate to the goods
REEFER BOX - An insulated shipping container designed
to carry cargoes requiring temperature control. It is
fitted with a refrigeration unit which is connected
to the carrying ship's electrical power supply.
RELAY - To transfer containers from one ship to another
when both vessels are controlled by the same network
RETURN CARGO - A cargo which enables a ship to return
loaded to the port or area where her previous cargo
REVENUE TON - A ton on which the shipment is freighted.
ROLLING CARGO - Cargo which is on wheels, such as truck
or trailers, and which can be driven or towed on to
RO/RO SHIP - Freight ship or ferry with facilities for
vehicles to drive on and off (roll-on roll-off); a system
of loading and discharging a ship whereby the cargo
is driven on and off on ramps. Equipped with large openings
at bow and stern and sometimes also in the side, the
ship permits rapid loading and discharge with hydraulically
operated ramps providing easy access. Fully loaded trucks
or trailers carrying containers are accommodated on
ROU - Radio Officers' Union.
RRF - Ready Reserve Force.
SALVAGE - The property which has been recovered from
a wrecked vessel, or the recovery of the vessel herself.
SEABEE - Sea-barge, a barge carrier design similar to
"LASH" but which uses rollers to move the
barges aboard the ship; the self-propelled loaded barges
are themselves loaded on board as cargo and are considerably
larger than those loaded on LASH ships.
SEA TRIALS - A series of trials conducted by the builders
during which the owner's representatives on board act
in a consulting and checking capacity to determine if
the vessel has met the specifications.
SEAWORTHINESS - The sufficiency of a vessel in materials
construction, equipment, crew and outfit for the trade
in which it is employed. Any sort of disrepair to the
vessel by which the cargo may suffer -- overloading,
untrained officers, etc., may constitute a vessel unseaworthy.
SEAWORTHINESS CERTIFICATE - A certificate issued by
a classification society surveyor to allow a vessel
to proceed after she has met with a mishap that may
have affected its seaworthiness. It is frequently issued
to enable a vessel to proceed, after temporary repairs
have been effected, to another port where permanent
repairs are then carried out.
SELF-PROPELLED BARGE - A barge which has its own engine.
SELF-SUSTAINING SHIP - A containership which has her
own crane for loading and discharging shipping containers
enabling the ship to serve ports which do not have suitable
SELF-TRIMMING SHIP - A ship whose holds are shaped in
such a way that the cargo levels itself.
SELF-UNLOADER - A bulk carrier which is equipped with
gear for unloading cargo.
SERVICE CONTRACT - As provided in the Shipping Act of
1984, a contract between a shipper (or a shipper's association)
and an ocean common carrier (or conference) in which
the shipper makes a commitment to provide a certain
minimum quantity of cargo or freight revenue over a
fixed time period, and the ocean common carrier or conference
commits to a certain rate or rate schedule as well as
a defined service level (such as assured space, transit
time, port rotation or similar service features). The
contract may also specify provisions in the event of
nonperformance on the part of either party.
SHIFTING - This refers to movements or changing positions
of cargo from one place to another. This can easily
endanger the seaworthiness or cargoworthiness of the
SHIP CHANDLER - An individual or company selling equipment
and supplies for ships.
SHIP DEMURRAGE - A charge for delaying a steamer beyond
a stipulated period.
SHIP'S MANIFEST - A statement listing the particulars
of all shipments loaded for a specified voyage.
SHIP'S TACKLE - All rigging, cranes, etc., utilized
on a ship to load or unload cargo.
SHIPPERS - Individuals or businesses who purchase transportation
services for their goods or commodities.
SHIPPER'S ASSOCIATION - A non-profit entity that represents
the interests of a number of shippers. The main focus
of shippers associations is to pool the cargo volumes
of members to leverage the most favorable service contract
SHIPPER'S COUNCIL - An organization of shippers formed
to collectively negotiate rates and services with the
conferences of ship operators.
SHIPPING ACT OF 1916 - The act of the U.S. Congress
(1916) that created the U.S. Shipping Board to develop
water transportation, operate the merchant ships owned
by the government, and regulate the water carriers engaged
in commerce under the flag of the United States. As
of June 18, 1984, applies only to domestic offshore
SHIPPING ACT OF 1984 - Effective June 18, 1984, describes
the law covering water transportation in the U.S. foreign
SHIPPING ACT OF 1998 - Amends the Act of 1984 to provide
for confidential service contracts and other items.
SHIP'S AGENT - A person or firm who transacts all business
in a port on behalf of shipowners or charterers. Also
called shipping agent.
SHIP'S ARTICLES - A written agreement between the master
of a ship and the crew concerning their employment.
It includes rates of pay and capacity of each crewman,
the date of commencement of the voyage and its duration.
SHIP'S STABILITY - The seaworthiness of a ship regarding
the centrifugal force which enables her to remain upright.
SHORT TON - 2,000 pounds.
SIP - Streamlined Inspection Program.
SISTER SHIPS - Ships built on the same design.
SIU - Seafarers International Union.
SLIP - A vessel's berth between two piers.
SLOP TANK - A tank in a tanker into which slops are
pumped. These represent a residue of the ship's cargo
of oil together with the water used to clean the cargo
tanks. They are left to separate out in the slop tank.
SOFT CURRENCY - Currency which is not fully convertible
to all currencies but only to some other soft currencies.
SOLAS - Safety of Life a Sea Convention
SPOT (VOYAGE) - A charter for a particular vessel to
move a single cargo between specified loading port(s)
and discharge port(s) in the immediate future. Contract
rate ("spot" rate) covers total operating
expenses, i.e., bunkers, port charges, canal tolls,
crew's wages and food, insurance and repairs. Cargo
owner absorbs, in addition, any expenses specifically
levied against the cargo.
S.S. - Steamship.
S/T - Short tons (2,000 lbs.).
STACK CAR - An articulated five-platform rail car that
allows containers to be double stacked. A typical stack
car holds ten 40-foot equivalent units (FEU's).
STARBOARD - The right-hand side of a ship when facing
the front or forward end. The starboard side of a ship
during darkness is indicated by a green light.
STATION BILL - A list which shows the vessel's complement
and details their various duties in connection with
fire and boat drills.
STB - Surface Transportation Board, an independent adjudicatory
body administratively housed in the Department of Transportation
responsible for the economic regulation of interstate
surface transportation, primarily railroads.
STCW - International Convention on Standards of Training,
Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978.
STERN - The upright post or bar of the bow of a vessel.
STERNWAY - The reverse movement of a vessel.
STEVEDORE - Individual or firm that employs longshoremen
and who contracts to load or unload the ship.
STORE - A general term for provisions, materials and
supplies used aboard ship for the maintenance of the
crew, and for the navigation, propulsion and upkeep
of the vessel and its equipment.
STOWAGE - The placing of goods in a ship in such a way
as to ensure the safety and stability of the ship not
only on a sea or ocean passage but also in between ports
when parts of the cargo have been loaded or discharged.
STRANDING - The running of a ship on shore on a beach.
STRIPPING - Removing cargo from a container (devanning).
STUFFING - Putting cargo into a container.
TAIL SHAFT - The extreme section at the aft end of a
ship's propeller shaft.
TANK BARGE - A river barge designed for the carriage
of liquid bulk cargoes.
TANK CLEANING - Removal of all traces of a cargo from
the tanks of a tanker normally by means of high pressure
TANKER - A tanker is a bulk carrier designed to transport
liquid cargo, most often petroleum products. Oil tankers
vary in size from small coastal vessels of 1,500 tons
deadweight, through medium-sized ship of 60,000 tons,
to the giant VLCCs (very large crude carriers).
TENDER - The offer of goods for transportation.
TERRITORIAL WATERS - That portion of the sea up to a
limited instance which is immediately adjacent to the
shores of any country and over which the sovereignty
and exclusive jurisdiction of that country extend.
T.E.U. - Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit (containers): A
measurement of cargo-carrying capacity on a containership,
referring to a common container size of 20 ft in length.
TI - Transportation Institute.
TIME CHARTER - A form of charter party wherein owner
lets or leases his vessel and crew to the charterer
for a stipulated period of time. The charterer pays
for the bunkers and port charges in addition to the
TITLE XI - A ship financing guarantee program.
TON MILE - A measurement used in the economics of transportation
to designate one ton being moved one mile. This is useful
to the shipper because it includes the distance to move
a commodity in the calculation.
TONNAGE - Deadweight, gross, net, displacement; a quantity
of cargo normally expressed as a number of tons.
TOP-OFF - To fill a ship which is already partly loaded
TOW - When one or more vessels are being towed; when
a tug is towing one or more floating objects; to pull
an object in the water by means of a rope.
TOWAGE - Charges for the services of tugs assisting
a ship or other vessels in ports or other locations;
the act of towing a ship or other objects from one place
TRAMP SERVICE - Vessels operating without a fixed itinerary
or schedule or charter contract.
TRANSSHIP - To transfer goods from one transportation
line to another, or from one ship to another.
TRIM - The relationship between a ship's draughts forward
TSA - Transportation Security Administration.
TSAC - Towing Safety Advisory Committee, an industry
advisory body to the U.S. Coast Guard.
TUG - A small vessel designed to tow or push large ships
or barges. Tugs have powerful diesel engines and are
essential to docks and ports to maneuver large ships
into their berths. Pusher tugs are also used to push
enormous trains of barges on the rivers and inland waterways
of the U.S. Oceangoing salvage tugs provide assistance
to ships in distress and engage in such work as towing
drilling rigs and oil production platforms.
ULCC - Ultra Large Crude Carriers. Tankers larger than
UNCTAD - United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
UNMANNED MACHINERY SPACES - A space where alarm bells
are installed on the bridge of a ship to trace or rectify
any machinery faults. The computerized devices will
report any fault immediately when it appears and the
engineers on board can attend to the necessary ramifications.
UNSEAWORTHINESS - The state or condition of a vessel
when it is not in a proper state of maintenance, or
if the loading equipment or crew, or in any other respect
is not ready to encounter the ordinary perils of sea.
USCG - United States Coast Guard.
U.S. EFFECTIVE CONTROLLED FLEET - That fleet of merchant
ships owned by United States citizens or corporations
and registered under flags of "convenience"
or "necessity" such as Liberia or Panama.
The term is used to emphasize that, while the fleet
is not U.,$.-flag, it is effectively under U.S. control
by virtue of the ship's owners and can be called to
serve U.S. interests in time of emergency.
USTRANSCOM - United States Transportation Command, U.S.
Department of Defense.
VESSEL MANIFEST - The international carrier is obligated
to make declarations of the ship's crew and contents
at both the port of departure and arrival. The vessel
manifest lists various details about each shipment by
B/L number. Obviously, the B/L serves as the core source
from which the manifest is created.
VISA - Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement.
VLCC - Very Large Crude Carriers: Tankers between 200,000
and 300,000 dwt.
VOYAGE CHARTER - A contract whereby the shipowner places
the vessel at the disposal of the charterer for one
or more voyages, the shipowner being responsible for
the operation of the vessel.
WAR RISK - Insurance coverage for loss of goods resulting
from any act of war.
WATCH - The day at sea is divided into six four hour
periods. Three groups of watchstanders are on duty for
four hours and then off for eight, then back to duty.
Seamen often work overtime during their off time.
WHARFAGE - Charge assessed by a pier or dock owner against
freight handled over the pier or dock or against a steamship
company using the pier or dock.
WORLDSCALE - An index representing the cost of time
chartering a tanker for a specific voyage at a given
time. The index is given at Worldscale 100, which represents
the price in dollars per ton for carrying the oil at
that rate. The negotiated rate will be some percentage
of the index value.