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Black list. Because oil tankers frequently load oil from Islamic countries these countries may place certain ports on a "black list" such as Israeli or South African ports, and if tankers are known to have called at ports in those countries, the tankers' names are on this black list and the ship can be boycotted and refused entry or cargo.

Blockade. Belligerent powers have the right of blockade, i.e., the right to blockade enemy ports or coastal territory for ocean shipping by military measures.

The blockade must be respected by neutral states. Running a blockade, if unsuccessful, may entail boarding and searching for contraband and confiscation of ship and cargo.

 

Bona fide. "Good faith”. This is a legal term that comes from the Latin language and suggests honesty or sincerity. For example, in negotiations for a charter fixture one side must give bona fide information about the ship or the cargo to the other side.

 

Breach of contract. A contract contains obligations of each of the parties to the agreement. If these obligations are not carried out or not performed or, if performed badly, a breach of contract occurs.

Ballast. In order to increase the stability of ships, which have to be dispatched without cargo and to ensure that the propeller will be immersed sufficiently, say about two-thirds of its diameter, a sufficient quantity of ballast will be loaded before sailing. The quantity of ballast depends on the type of vessel, quantity of water which can be taken in the ballast tanks and also the voyage to be made. Seasonal weather conditions which may be expected on the voyage must also be considered.

 

Back Letter. Back letters may be drawn up to complement a contract in order to lay down rights and/or obligations between both contracting parties, which, for some reason or other, cannot be included in the original contract. This expression is also used for “letters of indemnity”.

 

Bulkheads. These are steel divisions across the vessel either transversely or fore and aft. The functions of bulkheads are:

Baltic Exchange. Situated in London, England, this is the foremost shipping market-place in the world. Shipbrokers meet in the Exchange daily to charter ships and to exchange information. Trade is also carried out in commodities such as grain. The Baltic also lends its name to an "Index", the Baltic Freight Index (BFI). Since 1985 there has been a development of freight futures (BIFFEX), and these are also transacted on the "floor" of the Exchange.

 

Break bulk cargo. This is cargo carried on board traditional, conventional general cargo ships. The cargo is loaded and discharged one piece at a time (heavy cargoes) or a few pieces at a time, such as a number of bales or drums or a bundle of steel sheets.

 

Bulbous bow (BB). The shape of the foremost portion of the ship, the bow, in the form of a rounded bulb instead of the traditional V shape, in order to reduce hull resistance and its effect on speed in the water.

Below bridges (BB). This term can be Found in instructions from port and charterers' agents to the ship to ensure that the ship is kept at the appropriate draft in order to ensure that it will have sufficient clearance above its highest point to pass safely below bridges (or overhead obstructions such as power cables) across a canal, channel or river in the approaches to a berth or port. To ensure the ship's clearance below bridges would be the shipowner's obligation.

 

Breakdown clause. Time charterparties contain a clause providing that if the ship is unavailable for the charterer's use because there is loss of time as a result of "...breakdown or damages to hull, machinery or equipment..." (among other causes) payment of the hire money to the shipowner ceases for all or some of the time lost.

Cancelling date (Laycan). This is an abbreviation for the "Laydays and Cancelling" clause in a charterparty. This clause establishes the earliest date, when the ship is required by the charterer, (e.g. "Laytime for loading shall not commence before . . .") and the latest date for the commencement of the charter (e.g. “ . . . and should the vessel's Notice of Readiness not be given before . . . ") when the charterers have the option of cancelling the charter.

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