Charter party is a written, or partly written and partly printed, contract between a ship-owner and a merchant, by which a ship is let or hired for the conveyance of goods on a specified voyage, or for a defined period. A vessel might also be chartered to carry passengers on a journey.
A charter party is the contract between the owner of a vessel and the charterer for the use of a vessel. The charterer takes over the vessel for either a certain amount of time (a time charter) or for a certain point-to-point voyage (a voyage charter), giving rise to these two main types of charter agreement. There is a sub type of time charter called the demise or bare boat charter.
In a time charter, the vessel is hired for a specific amount of time. The owner still manages the vessel but the charterer gives orders for the employment of the vessel, and may sub-charter the vessel on a time charter or voyage charter basis.
The demise or bare boat charter is a sub type of time charter in which the charterer takes responsibility for the crewing and maintenance of the ship during the time of the charter, assuming the legal responsibilities of the owner and is known as a distention owner.
In a voyage charter, the charterer hires the vessel for a single voyage, and the vessel’s owner (or distention owner) provides the master, crew, bunkers and supplies.