Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Charter Party

Charter Party. An instrument in writing (with or without seal) by which a party exporting goods from Great Britain, or importing them from abroad, engages for the hire of an entire vessel for the purpose, at a freight or reward thereby agreed for. Upon the execution of such an instrument the ship is said to be chartered or freighted, and the party by whom she is engaged is called the charterer or freighter. But where, instead of taking the entire vessel, the owner of goods merely bargains for their conveyance for freight by any particular vessel (other goods being at the same time conveyed in her for other proprietors) she is described not as a chartered, but as a general ship, and in this case no charter party is usually executed but merely a bill of lading. A charter party is commonly made between the owner or the master (as the case may be) on the one part, and the owner of the goods on the other, and purports to be an agreement that the ship shall be employed in the conveyance of goods for a certain voyage (or for a certain period of time) at a certain amount of freight, calculated at so much per ton, or at so much per month during the voyage. The instrument also usually engages on the part of the ship-owner that, being seaworthy and provided with necessaries, she shall receive a full cargo on board, not exceeding what she can reasonably carry, and that the same shall be properly stowed, and that the ship shall then immediately sail (wind and weather permitting) on the specified voyage and deliver the cargo (the act of God or of the king's enemies excepted) at the port of destination to the charterer or his assignees, in as good order as they were received on board, and on the part of the charterer that he will supply a full cargo, and load and unload the goods within a certain number of days (usually called lay or running days), and pay a freight as agreed upon, and that if he detains the vessel beyond the running days, he will also pay demurrage, that is a certain amount per diem for the whole period of such extraordinary detention. In the performance of this contract the shipowner must take good care of the cargo during the voyage, and will be liable for any damage from the master's negligence or otherwise, or for loss or non-delivery of goods unless occasioned by causes within the exceptions of the charter party. If the ship-owner being prevented by an accident for which he is not responsible from entirely performing his contract, yet performs it in part by carrying the cargo safely during a certain portion of the voyage and the charterer receives the benefit of seech performance, freight will then be due pro rata itineris.