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A ship is discharging a cargo of coal when the master learns from the agent that there is a problem with collection of the freight. If the ship has to sail, how can owners’ lien for freight be exercised?

The agent (if he is the owners’ agent), can be instructed to exercise the lien on behalf of owners.

ย To preserve their lien, owners need only retain constructive possession of the goods on which freight is due, and this can be done by keeping the cargo under the agent’s legal control (in a stockyard). The agent should be given instructions by the shipowners to deliver the cargo only after surrender of an original bill of lading and payment of freight. The P&I club correspondent should be notified as soon as this problem arises.

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What happens if after a reasonable amount of time has passed, freight is still not paid at the discharge port?

How can the shipowners ensure (on paper at least) that they are paid freight before delivering the cargo at the discharge port?