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Thursday, October 18, 2018


Bills of lading: delivery of cargo against one original bill of lading carried on board – a reminder

We understand that from time to time owners are asked to agree bills of lading clauses that provide that the cargo may be delivered against one original bill of lading which has been carried on board the vessel. Given that bills of lading are usually issued in a set of three originals this practice exposes owners to serious risks. In some jurisdictions the courts may award damages to an innocent holder of a negotiated bill  of lading if it appears that the cargo has already been delivered to someone else with the “complicity” of the master. If owners are compelled for commercial reasons to agree this practice then it is advisable for all the original bills of lading to be prominently endorsed with the following wording:

“One original bill of lading retained on board against which bill delivery of cargo may properly be made on instructions received from shippers/charterers.”

This endorsement will give notice to any party purchasing the cargo against an incomplete set of bills of lading that delivery may be made in exchange for one original bill of lading retained on board and should therefore reduce the risks of the practice.

Where an original bill of lading is carried on board, whether it is the only original or one of a set of originals, the utmost care must be taken by the master to correctly identify the party to whom the bill of lading should be handed at the destination. Failure to hand the bill of lading to the right party could also result in a claim for misdelivery of the cargo. Legal advice should be obtained if subsequently any differing instructions are given to the master.

This advice summarises earlier advice issued by the International Group P&I Clubs in their circulars dated April 1979, March 1984 and July 1990.

For further advice on specific clauses members should e-mail to John Fawcett-Ellis or contact their P&I or Defence Club.

Freight and Demurrage Database

INTERTANKO’s new database for freight and demurrage payments is now online. We are encouraged by the initial response we have received so far. So that we can build up as comprehensive a database as possible we invite all members to enter details of all paid demurrage claims since 1 January 2000 and all paid freight claims since 1 July 2000. To enter data members should visit the our website, the link to which is  . Alternatively, members can submit data to us by fax to Ann Saether at our Oslo office (fax no. + 47 22 12 26 41).

This will enable us to build up a comprehensive database of the average length of time it takes particular charterers to pay claims, from which it will be possible to formulate a league table of charterers showing those that have the quickest payment times compared to those which have been the slowest. It is hoped that this initiative will persuade those charterers that pay claims the slowest to improve their response times. We would like to emphasise that the source of any information entered into the database will be kept confidential.

We look forward to receiving your entries on the database. For further information please e-mail to