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.

Butterworth tank cleaning system. This is a method for cleaning and gas freeing oil tanks by means of high pressure jets of water, either cold or heated. The apparatus consists essentially of double opposed nozzles which rotate slowly about their horizontal and vertical axes, projecting two high pressure streams of water against all inside surfaces of the deck, bulkheads, tank framing and shell plating.


Brokerage (or Commission). It is customary to express the remuneration for the broker's time and efforts in negotiating and arranging the contract as a certain percentage of the money earned by the shipowner. (In marine insurance, the broker is generally paid a commission by the underwriter although the assured is the broker's client and the services are for the client.) In shipbroking, the term "brokerage" is generally preferable instead of "commission" because the latter term is usually related to the charterer's reward as "address commission".

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.


Box rates. This is the freight rate for the carriage of a container, usually irrespective of the cargo in the container although some conferences and liner operators may offer their services on a box commodity rate.


BBB. "Before breaking bulk", that is, before commencing discharge or opening of the ship's hatches.

BB. This abbreviation can be and is used for a variety of different terms such as: "Ballast Bonus", "Below bridges", "Breaking bulk" and "Bulbous bow".

Back haul. This may be a diversion for a tanker to move cargo on the return leg of a voyage in order to minimise the ballast mileage.

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.

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.

Basis of calculation: All rate calculations, which are made in U.S. dollars, are per tonne for a full cargo for the standard vessel based upon a round voyage from loading port or ports to discharging port or ports and return to first loading port using the under-mentioned factors.

Boycott clause. A charterer may insist that a charterparty contains a clause, which causes the shipowner to take the risks if the vessel is delayed by a "boycott" by labour.

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.

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.