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Charterers Liability in practice

If you charter a vessel, you agree a charter party with the (substitute) owners of the vessel. In the charter party both parties lay down the terms and conditions for the chartering of the vessel. Besides general chartering rules, the charter party also contains agreements in respect of the responsibilities of each party regarding loading and discharging of the vessel, seaworthy stowage, stevedores, safe ports and loss of time/demurrage.

According to the charter party the Charterer can, amongst others, be held liable for the following risks:

  • liability for damage to the vessel;
  • bodily injury;
  • damage to property of third parties;
  • damage caused by cargo;
  • damage to or loss of the cargo;
  • stevedoring;
  • pollution and
  • general average.


On the next pages, we discuss a few cases on some of the exposures from the list above. All are based on real events, but have been anonymized for privacy purposes.