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Due diligence. Article III of the Hague Visby Rules and Hague Rules require the carrier to exercise "due diligence" before and at the beginning of the voyage to make the vessel seaworthy. "Seaworthy" means that the vessel must be physically sound, she must have proper equipment and supplies and efficient and sufficient manpower. The vessel must also be "cargoworthy", that is completely fit and safe to receive, carry and protect the cargo. Before the advent of the Rules, the common law obligation on the carrier was very strict and heavy. "Due diligence" was insufficient.

D1/2D (DHD) Despatch half Demurrage. The rate of payment of despatch by the shipowner to the Charterer for releasing the ship earlier than the period of agreed laytime ("Despatch") is set in the charterparty to be half the rate of compensation at which the Charterer pays the shipowner if the agreed laytime is exceeded ("demurrage"). It is traditional for despatch payments to be at half the rate of demurrage payments.


Deadfreight. Deadfreight is payable on cargo agreed by charterers to be shipped but not actually shipped. As a rule it is up to the master to declare in writing the maximum quantity of cargo his vessel can load.

Distance freight. Cargo may sometimes have to be discharged at a port other than the original port of destination, for instance if a vessel runs the risk of being frozen in by ice and the master considers it prudent to deliver the cargo at the nearest safe port.

Deadweight capacity. The deadweight is the tonnage of the cargo and other items the vessel can carry at different draughts. Thus, at the statutory summer draught, the deadweight is called the “summer deadweight”.

Deferred rebate. A carrier of goods by sea may offer his services to the general public for a price. The price may be set for users of the service but, in order to obtain long-standing custom from some users, the carrier may offer a “rebate” or discount, which is eventually a return of some of the price originally paid by the user.

Double bottom. The double bottom, extending from the forepeak to afterpeak tank, considerably increases the safety of the vessel in case of serious bottom damage by grounding, which might otherwise result in flooding of the cargo holds or engine room. Moreover, the double bottom, which is subdivided into a number of tanks, is suitable for carriage of water ballast, fuel oil, fresh water etc., and increases the longitudinal strength of the vessel.

The double bottom tanks are accessible from the ship’s holds or tunnel by means of manholes, which are closed by watertight covers with bolts.


Despatch. Just as "demurrage" was money paid by the charterer as compensation for breach of the-warranty of laytime, so also "despatch" represents money payable, in this case by the shipowner, if the ship completes loading or discharging before the laytime has expired. The owner may have to pay despatch to the charterer or other persons using the vessel, such as shippers or cargo receivers.

Despatch-All time saved (ATS). If the charterparty does not specify which description of time attracts despatch, it is presumed that despatch will be payable for all time saved. In this situation, the time saved to the vessel will be from the completion of loading and/or discharging until the expiry of the allowed laytime and will include periods which would normally be exceptions to laytime. This differs from despatch payable for "all working time saved".

Duty to provide a seaworthy vessel. Article III, r. 1 of the Hague Rules and the Hague Visby Rules states that the carrier must, before and at the beginning of the voyage, exercise "due diligence" to make the vessel seaworthy and cargoworthy. ("Seaworthiness" includes manning, equipping and supplying the vessel.) This is quite different from the common law implied obligation of seaworthiness which is an absolute undertaking. The duty commences ` . . . from at least the beginning of the loading until the vessel starts on her voyage . . ." (Maxine Footwear v. Canadian Government Merchant Marine, 1959.)

Distress freight. When a ship is in a berth to load cargo but the cargo offered by shippers does not meet the owner's or charterer's expectations, and the owner or charterer experiences difficulty in securing completion cargo at original freight rates, they may resort to booking cargo at very low rates ("distress rates") to fill up the remaining space rather than be forced to despatch the vessel with vacant space. This may have an effect on the scheduled sailing time: the vessel may continue to receive cargo beyond the sailing time until the cargo compartments are fully loaded or the ship is "dawn to her marks", that is, loaded to the permitted "load lines".


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