Maritime Directory
Aft - the stern (or back) of the ship.
Aggregates - sand, gravel, crushed rock and other bulk materials generally used by the construction industry.
Anti-fouling - a technique used to combat the growth of marine organisms, such as barnacles, on a ship’s hull. A special coating is applied to the underside of the ship, which needs to be reapplied regularly.
Approach - the channel of water approaching a port or set of the locks.
Barge - a flat-bottomed boat, either motorised or towed, used to carry products in rivers or canals. In the context of bunkering, a bunker barge is usually a small tanker and not a barge as defined here. A bunker barge will deliver marine fuel to ships, usually in port.
Barometer - an instrument that measures atmospheric pressure.
Berth - a location in a port where a vessel can be moored.
Berthing - the action of a ship coming into berth at a port.
Bill of Lading - prepared by the carrier or freight forwarder, the bill of lading is an original shipping contract that lists the dates, services, and actual charges involved in transportation of the goods. It also acts as a receipt for the shipper’s belongings. The bill of lading is needed by the buyer to take possession of the goods.
Bollard pull - refers to a tug’s capability to pull, measuring how many tonnes of pull can be applied.
Break-bulk - general cargo stowed conventionally and handled individually, palletised, or unitised, as opposed to bulk and containerised freight.
Buoys - a floating object that is anchored to the seabed or attached to another object. It is used as a navigational aid, surface marker, or an a loading point for cargoes (see Single Point Mooring Buoy).
Captain - an officer who is licensed to command a merchant ship. Also referred to as Master.
Carriage - the transportation, and the associated charges, of passengers, cargo or freight.
Charter - contract to hire or lease a ship.
Charter Party - a written contract of hire for a ship or aircraft for the transportation of goods on a specific voyage or flight. In shipping, the charter party is usually made between the Owner of a vessel and a Charterer. The charter party will normally include the freight rates or hire and the ports involved in the transportation.
Chronometer - an extremely accurate time-keeping device that is relatively unaffected by movement or temperature changes. It can be used for determining longitude at sea.
Classification - a ship built in accordance with a Classification Societies’ Classification Rules will be assigned a classification, or class, designation by the society on satisfactory completion of the relevant Surveys.
Classification Rules - Classification rules are developed by Classification Societies to assess the structural strength and integrity of essential parts of the ship’s Hull and its appendages, and the reliability and the function of the propulsion and steering systems, power generation and those other features and auxiliary systems which have been built into the ship in order to maintain services on board.
Common carriers - for example, waterborne vessels, airplanes, trucks or railroads. Referred to in freight forwarding.
Compressed - a process of reducing the volume and density of natural gas so that it can be transported. Usually referred to as CNG (Compressed Natural Gas)
Computer Aided Design or CAD - the use of a wide range of computer based tools that assist marine engineers and naval architects in design and construction planning, in a maritime context, of waterbourne transport.
Containers - a sealed, reusable metal box used for moving goods in by ship, road or rail. Containers, or boxes, are of standard designs, normally 20ft (referred to as TEU – 20-foot equivalent unit), 40ft (referred to as FEU – 40-foot equivalent unit) or 45 ft in length. Containers may be ventilated, insulated, refrigerated, flat rack, vehicle rack, open top, bulk liquid or equipped with interior devices.
Crew - a person employed, engaged or assigned in any capacity on board a vessel, aircraft or train.
Crude Oil - unprocessed and unrefined oil.
Currents - a large-scale circulation of water caused by thermodynamics and winds. One example of a well-known current is the Gulf Steam, which carries warm water down the Atlantic and moderates climates in countries that would otherwise be much colder, such as Iceland and the United Kingdom.
Cutter Suction Dredgers - stationary dredgers that have to be towed to their work site by tugs. Once in position, so-called spud poles keep the cutter dredger in place. Winches then lower the cutter head to the seabed and as it turns and is pulled across the bottom horizontally the cutter head cuts into the soil. Loosened material is then dredged up and pumped to its destination via a floating pipeline.
Derivatives - investment products whose value is derived from, or based on, the value (either current or expected) of an underlying security or currency. Examples of derivatives include options and futures.
Derricks - ship’s lifting apparatus, used like a crane for hosting boats, cargo and other heavy weights.
Dismantling Slip - a slipway where ships can be hauled free from the water for ship recycling.
Dock - a wharf, pier or quay forming all or part of a waterfront facility, or the action of a ships when they arrive at the berth.
Dry-dock - an enclosed watertight structure that can be flooded for a ship to enter in a normal fashion. The water is then pumped out allowing the underside of the ship to be inspected, repaired, painted and/or cleaned.
Electronic Charts - an electronic display of maps designed to assist navigation by sea.
Ex-pipe - used to describe a mode of delivery for marine fuels, or bunkers, to ships. The fuel is delivered directly to the ship at the load or discharge terminal from a pipe.
Export Declaration - A document, prepared by exporter or freight forwarder declaring full details about goods being exported, including the contents, value, and destination of an export shipment.
Feeder (ship) - a ship normally used for local or coastal transport of cargoes, usually containers, to and from major ports not on the schedules of the major liner operators.
Fore - the head (or front) of the ship.
Freight - goods transported in bulk by train, truck, ship or aircraft or the transport of the goods.
Freight Rate - a monetary amount charged by a ship owner or operator for moving a commodity from one point to another. Freight rates vary by distance and the type of commodity.
Gantry cranes - track-mounted cranes supported on wide, high legs used for the loading and unloading of breakbulk cargo, containers and heavy lifts.
Gas - commonly referred to an Liquefied Natural Gas and Liquefied Petroleum Gas in the maritime industry. LNG is natural gas converted to liquid form by cooling to a very low temperature. LPG is a gas consisting primarily of propane, propylene, butane, and butylene in various mixtures, which is stored as a liquid by increasing pressure.
Gear - cranes or other lifting equipment on ships.
General Average - a loss made intentionally to save the total venture. For example, throwing cargo overboard in order to save a ship from a particular peril. All parties involved, eg ship, cargo, and freight, proportionately share the losses resulting from the voluntary and successful sacrifice.
GPS - Global Positioning System - a worldwide radio-navigation system developed by the US Department of Defense, using a system of satellites and receiving devices to compute precise positions on the Earth.
Helm - the steering wheel of a ship which steers the ship by turning its rudder.
HGV - heavy goods Vehicle, a large road vehicle for the carriage of goods with a maximum laden weight in excess of 7.5 tonnes (common in British use).
Hold - the space for stowing cargo inside of a ship.
Hub - in the context of ports, a hub port caters for the larger ships on the water, allowing smaller Feeder (ships) to transport cargo, usually Containers, from the hub ports to smaller feeder ports. Hub ports have excellent infrastructure links to allow cargo to move to/from the port smoothly.
Hull - the ship frame or body.
Husbandry - managing the ship’s non-cargo related operations under the instructions of the Master, Owner or Operator.
Keel - the centreline of a ship running fore and aft. The keel is the lowest longitudinal strength member of a ship and is usually the first piece laid, when the ship is constructed.
LCL - less than container load – a Container shipment that is not full. Normally it will be consolidated with other LCL shipments to make an FCL (full container load).
Less than container load or LCL - container shipments of less than a full container.
Liner - A cargo-carrying ship operating on a regular trade or defined route between advertised ports of loading and discharge. Not restricted to the container trades.
Linesmen - responsible for all mooring and casting off operations for ships calling at Port.
Liquefied - a process of converting gas to liquid form by cooling to a very low temperature.
Master - an officer who is licensed to command a merchant ship.
Master’s Ticket - Colloquial term for a Master’s License - the highest level of qualification available for someone to command a ship.
Moored - when a ship is secured to the dock or wharf with cables and/or ropes.
Nautical Charts - a graphical representation of waters (and any adjacent land) that can be navigated. The chart will show water depths, heights of land, natural features of the seabed, coastline detail, navigational hazards, locations of natural and man-made aids to navigation, information on tides and currents, local details of the Earth's magnetic field, and man-made structures such as harbours and bridges.
Newbuilding - a new ship being built or a ship that has been contracted to be built, although the actual construction has not yet started.
Officer - a person authorised to serve in a position of authority on a vessel, above ratings in rank.
Oil Rigs - rig used in drilling for crude oil or gas.
Pilings - vertical columns or poles of steel, concrete or timber driven into the ground or seabed to support vertical loads. Used to support docks, quays and wharfs.
Pipeline - a structure that allows the movement of Gas or Crude Oil from an oil field to shore, usually fixed to the seabed.
Platforms - a structure designed to house offshore oil workers and the machinery needed to drill and recover Crude Oil and Gas. Platforms can be attached to the ocean floor or be floating.
Propeller - a rotating device, with two or more blades, connected to a shaft and powered by an engine to propel a ship through the water.
Quay - a wharf or bank usually built parallel to the shoreline where ships are loaded and unloaded.
Quayside - the area of land parallel to the shore on a Wharf or bank where ships and other vessels are loaded and unloaded.
Radar - Radio Detection And Ranging – a system that uses electromagnetic waves to determine a distance between an object and a receiver by bouncing radio waves off the object and timing the echo.
Ratings - describes the status of a Seafarer in terms of rank. Ratings are below an Officer in rank.
Recapitulation - sent out by the shipbroker upon completion of a freight deal, recapping what both parties have agreed. Known colloquially as a recap.
Refinery - an industrial process plant where Crude Oil is processed and refined into petroleum products, such as gasoline and jet fuel.
Rig - gear (including necessary machinery) for a particular enterprise, in the maritime context see Oil Rig.
Ro-Pax - roll-on-roll-off passengership/ferry. Combines the cargo capacity of Ro-Ro ships with the passenger facilities of ferries.
Roll on-Roll off - system of loading and unloading a ship where the cargo is driven on and off ramps. Suitable for wheeled cargo such as cars, trucks and trailers. Commonly referred to as ro-ro.
Seafarers - a person employed onboard a ship; its crew. Includes Officers and Ratings.
Seismic - gathering data by reflecting sound from underground and underwater strata. Used in Hydrographic Surveying to give an accurate representation of the seabed.
Sextant - A hand-held navigational instrument used to determine angular distances between objects. Used with celestial navigation to calculate distances taking bearings from the sun, moon or stars.
Shaft - a revolving rod that connects the Propeller and the engine to power the ship.
Ship's Company - the entire crew of a ship including the officers.
Shoal - a revolving rod that connects the Propeller and the engine to power the ship.
Single Point Mooring Buoys - buoys anchored offshore that serve as a mooring point for tankers to load or offload gas or fluid products. The main purpose of the buoy is to transfer fluids between onshore or offshore facilities and the tanker.
Slipway - an inclined plane on the shore extending into the water.
Sole Trader - a business which legally has no separate existence from its owner, with no limitations of liability. The debts of the business are therefore the debts of the owner.
Stability - the ability of a ship to return to its original, upright position after displacement by strong winds, sea, or conditions of loading. Stability is concerned with the ship’s centre of gravity.
Stack - a pile of containers that have been stowed in an orderly way in a specified place, usually in stacking areas on the Quay. Stacking can also refer to other cargo units when placed one on top of the other, but is more commonly used in reference to containers.
Stowing - accommodating cargo in an area, usually the ship, the Quay or a storage facility.
Tides - the periodic rise and fall of the world’s oceans caused by the gravitational pull of the Moon and the Sun on the Earth. Tides are predictable and tide tables are published to plan around tidal movements. The highest tides occur at the new moon and full moon.
Topography - the physical features of land on or under water, including terrain relief.
Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger - a large ocean-going vessel that Dredges material from the bed of a body of water by suction. Pumps then transfer the sand dredged up by the suction head into the hold or hopper. Excess water is drained off via overflow pipes and when the hopper is full, the ship sails a reclamation area to unload the dredged material.
Trim - the balance of a ship or an aircraft. On a ship this is the way it floats ion the water in relation to the fore and aft line. The trim can be adjusted by rearranging the cargo or adjusting the ballast levels.
Underwriter - an individual or company that researches and then accepts, rejects, or limits prospective risks for the public or for another insurer.
Waterways - a body of water serving as a route or way of travel or transport, usually used to describe rivers, streams, creeks, drains and channels.
Wharf - a level quayside area built out over the water and supported by heavy wooden or concrete Pilings, where boats can dock or be moored to load or unload cargo.