Bills of lading and charterparties. In exercising the authority to sign bills of lading the charterers, agents and masters must ensure that the terms within the bill of lading are consistent with those in the charterparty that require a bill of lading to be signed and issued.

Builder’s certificate. As the name indicates, this certificate is issued by the shipbuilding yard, containing a true account of the estimated tonnage; the year and place where the vessel was built and also the name of the owners and other details. This certificate is required in addition to the declaration of ownership , on the first registry of the ship.


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.


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.

Barrel (Bbl). A unit of measurement of liquid cargoes, usually oil. One bbl contains 34.97261 Imperial gallons or 42 U.S. gallons, or 1 cubic metre of oil measures 6.29 bbls. If the specific gravity of the oil is 0.8, one tonne of oil will be approximately 7.9 bbls


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.


Beaufort Wind Scale. At sea the wind speed is expressed in numbers according to the Beaufort scale. The Beaufort Number (BF) is estimated from the sea surface appearance.

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.


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.


Bonding. This is an operation that was performed (and can still be used in some ports) on oil tankers to prevent electrical discharges caused by a difference of discharged.

Broker. In the context of chartering, the most common "broker" is a "shipbroker". In general, in shipping, a broker is a person who acts as a "middleman" between two parties and negotiates the terms of a contract into which the two parties enter. The broker acts as an agent and usually represents only one of the parties, negotiating with the other party directly or with another broker representing the other side. In addition to a shipbrokerwho can be an owner's broker or a charterer's agent negotiating a charter.

Bilge. The bilge of a vessel with double bottom tanks is a triangular channel on both sides formed by the margin plate of a double bottom, the curvature of the outer skin of the vessel and the bilge ceiling.

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.