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.


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.

Breakbulk (cargo) (BB). Packages of cargo or "parcels" (small quantities) known as "general cargo" and individually carried in the cargo compartments of a ship. Such cargo is not in "bulk cargo" form and not in unitised or containerised form. If the term is used as a verb "to break bulk", it indicates "to open hatches and commence discharge".


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.

BAF (Bunker adjustment factor). Shipping is an energy-intensive industry just as liner shipping is a capital-intensive industry with the development of containerisation and expensive container ships.

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.

Booking office. Conference lines, operating in certain trades, may decide to establish a booking office to take bookings and also ensure that each line carries its agreed share. Shippers may not be permitted to insist on carriage by a specific line although the booking office may try to meet shippers’ wishes in this respect as much as possible.


Breadth moulded. This expression relates to the maximum breadth of a ship measured amidships between the outside (heels) of the frames, i.e. to the inside of shell plating.

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.

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.


Baltic Freight Index (BFI). Twelve frequently fixed routes were chosen and daily reports of actual fixtures (or estimates from a broker panel) on these routes calculated, using a weighted average system, into a statistical index. The weighting indicates the frequency of fixtures on that route.


Bonded stores. Ship’s stores which can be delivered under special arrangements direct from a bonded warehouse to the vessel without payment of Customs duties.