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Who is the legal carrier under a time charter?

If charterers insist on issue of their own house bill of lading forms, the contract of carriage will normally be between the charterers and the shipper, and the terms printed on the bill of lading should make clear who the carrier is.

 If a time-chartered ship issues a bill of lading using her owners’ own bill of lading form and without mention of the fact that the vessel is time-chartered (e. g. in a statement that “all terms and conditions of carriage are in the relevant Charter party dated”), the contract of carriage may be deemed to be between the owners and the shipper.

 

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Where there is doubt over who the carrier is, what should the master do?

What is a shipmaster’s legal position in relation to time charterers?