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.

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.

Berth rates or liner rates. These expressions relate the freight rates applying to shipments by regular lines engaged in the trade in question. These freight rates become "standard" for a particular liner route and particular cargo.


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.


Ballast. In order to increase the stability of ships, which have to be dispatched without cargo and to ensure that the propeller will be immersed sufficiently, say about two-thirds of its diameter, a sufficient quantity of ballast will be loaded before sailing. The quantity of ballast depends on the type of vessel, quantity of water which can be taken in the ballast tanks and also the voyage to be made. Seasonal weather conditions which may be expected on the voyage must also be considered.


Both ends (Bends). This expression is frequently used when negotiating for the chartering of a ship, as regards rate of loading and discharge; loading and discharging expenses; appointment of charterers' or owners' agents at port of loading/discharge, etc. This term implies that the arrangements agreed upon apply both at the loading and discharging port(s).

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".

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.


Blue Certificate. This is a document that may be carried by a ship; it indicates that the shipowner has entered into an agreement with the ITF (the International Transport Workers' Federation) that the crew are being paid wages and salaries, which are specified by the ITF.

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.


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