Lesson 10 - The identity of the carrier
The buyer needs to know who the contractual carrier is, so they know who to sue if the cargo is damaged, short or delayed; is it the charterer or the shipowner? Money turns on this because pursuing the wrong defendant may mean that the claim is time barred against the right defendant. The answer to who is the carrier depends on three scenarios outlined below.
If the charterparty is a demise charterparty…
...then the charterer is likely the “carrier” as the original owner isn’t crewing or controlling the vessel
If the charterer is using the vessel as a general ship (and their role is limited to providing a full cargo and freight to owners) and the charterparty includes a “cesser” clause…
Then the owner is likely the carrier
*A cesser clause is a voyage charter party clause stating that “charterers' liability will cease on shipment of cargo and payment of freight, deadfreight and demurrage."
In other scenarios, where there is no demise charter and/or the vessel is not being used as a general ship with a cesser clause in the charterparty…
Then the carrier is they who are identified on the face of the bill of lading (The Starsin).