Charter Party Agreements

IMG is one of the only law firms in the Pacific Northwest that focuses on both the transactional side and the litigation side of charter party agreements.

Different charter parties impose different obligations, exclusions, and limitations between each entity. For this reason, both shipowners and charterers should consider seeking sound and practical legal advice before drafting, amending or complementing any time charter, voyage charter, or bareboat charter party. During a contentious charter party dispute, shipowners and charterers should be especially aware of their legal exposures and contractual liabilities.

With experience in bareboat, time and voyage charters, contracts of affreightment and slot charters, dry bulk and containerized cargoes, oil, gas and products, IMG regularly acts on behalf of the region’s largest shipowners and charterers. Indeed, our expertise in transactional and contentious charter party matters gives us an invaluable perspective – we can foresee the problems that might arise and take steps to avoid them. Need help understanding your legal rights in a charter party contract? IMG can help.

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Frequent Charters We Advise Upon

Time chartering is a complex business. The shipowners give the time charterers substantial control over the commercial operation of the vessel in exchange for the regular payment of hire. While this arrangement suggests that the shipowners have transferred much of the potential operational risk to the charterers and that the charterers can do more or less what they like with the ship, such an initial impression on behalf of the time charterer is both deceptive and dangerous.

If you would like clarification of your rights and liabilities as either a time charterer or a shipowner, IMG can help.

Voyage charters are the most commonly used charter party agreement. Under a voyage charter, a ship owner and a charterer enter into a contract whereby the vessel will carry cargo between two points. The voyage can be a single trip or multiple trips, provided that the charterer has absolutely no operational control over the vessel while it is being operated. Any delays during the loading and unloading of the cargo, as well as any delays during the seagoing part of a voyage, generally fall onto the vessel owner. Many charterers prefer this allocation of risk.

A bareboat charter is the simplest type of charter party agreement. Under a bareboat charter (a.k.a. “demise charter”), the charterer effectively becomes the owner of the vessel for all operational and trading purposes, and thus, is responsible for the navigation, operation, repair, maintenance, insurance, and crew of the vessel.

Despite an appearance of simplicity, bareboat charters are complex agreements, and numerous problems can arise during their use. Owners and charterers should seek sound legal advice before drafting or amending a bareboat charter.

Legal Services We Provide for Charter Party Agreements

IMG is prepared to answer multifarious questions about terms and conditions in your charter party agreement: risk allocation, indemnity agreements, cargo liability, trading limits, delivery and redelivery, safe ports and berths, bunkers, computation of time, charter hire, unlawful withdrawal, upmost despatch, bills of lading, cancelling clauses, off-hire clauses, frustration of the charter, force majeure, arbitration provisions, liens, laytime and demurrage, deviation and delay, ice clauses, and governing law clause.

Civil Disputes

We handle cross-border and domestic disputes for diverse industries.

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Contracts

IMG assists business organizations with the creation and review of various corporate agreements and contracts.

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800 Fifth Avenue, Suite 4100 
Seattle, WA 98104

Office: (206) 707-8338
Fax: (206) 707-8338

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