Stevedore clause. A clause in a voyage charterparty may provide for the appointment and payment of the stevedores who carry out cargo handling.
In particular, if the ship is fixed on terms, which are not “liner terms” or “gross terms”, the Charterer or shipper may be responsible for the loading, stowing, trimming and securing of the cargo. An appropriate clause could state that:
“Stevedores at loading and discharging ports are to be appointed and paid by Charterers. The stevedores shall be deemed to be the servants of the Owners and shall work under the supervision of the master.”
This clause makes it clear that although the stevedores are appointed and paid by the charterers, any problems caused during the loading and discharging operations, such as loss or damage to the cargo, will be the fault of the shipowners, through the master. This liability for loss or damage to the cargo is called “vicarious liability”. In a time charter, the charterers are responsible for loading and discharging and will appoint the stevedores in any case. However, even in a time charter the master (and owners) are responsible to supervise the manner in which the cargo is handled, but only for reasons of safety.