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Are the shipowners the carrier?

In many cases, no. 

Where a cargo ship is bareboat chartered, the owners are not the carrier. Where a ship is time-chartered, the charterers will usually be the carrier. Liner service operators such as Maersk, CMA-CGM and MSC timecharter the majority of the ships they operate and, in relation to the shippers of their cargoes, are the carrier, usually making this clear in shipping documents.

 

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Where shipowners time-charter a vessel and employ it in their own liner service, who will the carrier normally be?

What are the basic legal obligations of all sea carriers, i. e. the “common law obligations”?