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Ship Sale & Purchase Brokers- Specialized Ship Brokerage Services

Brokers are vital intermediaries between parties looking to buy and sell ships. Sale and Purchase Brokers (S and P Brokers) are highly specialized shipbrokers. Their clients are typically ship owners. S and P Brokers serve as intermediaries in the business of selling and buying ships. They assist in the sale and purchase of second-hand tonnage and newbuilding. Their compensation is generally in the form of a commission. S and P Brokers not only handle transactions between ship owners. They may also be asked to sell vessels directly to demolition yards or cash intermediaries for scrapping purposes.

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Oil Tanker Safety Guide
Ships are technically complex, and they are bought and sold in an international market that is extremely volatile. The S&P broker needs to be an expert in the market for ships while providing timely and accurate information to their clients. The duties of the S and P Broker include:
Someone working as a Sale and Purchase Broker might be retained by a potential seller or a potential buyer. He/she needs to get the best price for the client and assist in negotiating favorable contract terms. A ship can be sold directly by the Seller to a buyer without the services of a broker. However, most sale and purchase transactions for vessels are conducted through a sale and purchase broker because of the scope of the services and expertise.

Setting up sale and Sale and Purchase transaction

Vessels are routinely sold for cash, free of charters, mortgages and maritime liens. No two sale and purchase transactions are completely alike. However, a fairly routine transaction might involve the following:
  1. The listing of the vessel for sale with an S and P Broker.
  2. Negotiation of the price and other terms of the sales contract.
  3. Preparation of the sales agreement.
  4. An inspection by the buyer of the vessel.
  5. The payment of funds and the closing of title.

The sales contract can be drafted from scratch, often by an attorney conversant in S and P matters. However, standard forms of contract are available – one of them being the well used Norwegian Saleform. There are other standard forms of agreement in use – such as the Singapore Sale form. These standard forms are meant to provide a fast track towards agreeing.
S and P contract forms set forth contract terms such as:
  1. The details of the vessel.
  2. Amount and method of payment.
  3. Any escrow money required.
  4. The nature of the vessel inspection (drydock, underwater, sea trials, etc.).
  5. Inspection of the vessel’s documents such as classification society records.
  6. Time and place of delivery.
  7. Spare parts, bunkers, or other items included in the vessel’s sale.
  8. Condition of the vessel on delivery.
  9. Responsibility for any taxes or fees.
  10. Documents required at closing.
  11. Remedies in the event of the seller’s or buyer’s default.
  12. Arbitration or other dispute resolution clause.
The contract will also contain language that the vessel is being sold free and clear of all liens and encumbrances, for example: “The Seller warrants that the vessel at the time of delivery is free and clear from all charters, encumbrances, mortgages and maritime liens or any other debts whatsoever. The Seller hereby undertakes to indemnify the buyer against all consequences or claims made against the vessel, which have been incurred prior to delivery of the vessel”.

Liens could have been incurred against the vessel for any number of Seller, as the Seller shipowner, may owe wages to the crew or may not have paid for vessel repairs or drydocking. Similarly, the vessel may have allided with a dock or a bridge causing extensive property damage or damaged a shipper's cargo on an earlier voyage.

Besides, certain maritime liens may have arisen against the vessel through no fault of the Seller. For example, the Seller (shipowner) may have time chartered the ship to a time charterer that failed to pay for bunkers, or stevedoring or other goods and services ordered by the time charterer on behalf of the vessel. The existence of a lien can delay or thwart a sales transaction. It is, therefore, sale and purchase of vessels can be complicated. Great professionalism and expertise is needed in this important business.


Note of Reference

Types of losses - Total or Partial or general average losses
A Loss can be described as being either Total or Partial (Particular Average). A Total Loss may be either an Actual Total Loss (ATL) or a Constructive Total Loss (CTL). An Actual Total Loss is where the vessel is actually destroyed or wrecked or where the owner is irretrievably deprived of his vessel e.g. when a ship is sunk in deep waters where any salvage attempt would be impossible. A Constructive Total Loss is when it appears that the vessel is unlikely to be saved or recovered or when she can only be recovered and repaired at a cost, which exceeds her insured value....

P&I Clubs guideline
The P&I Clubs are correctly called Protection and Indemnity Associations and number around 20 worldwide, with the majority being the United Kingdom-based. The shipowner in taking out insurance with a particular association becomes a member of that Club. The Clubs are mutual, which means that all costs involved in providing cover or paying out a claim to anyone are shared by all members. This is achieved by setting a rating or premium for the owner, known as an "advance call," and is based on the owner's history and exposure to risk.

War risks areas -related advisory
There are additional trading restrictions placed on the ship regarding so-called war risk areas. War risk areas do not necessarily mean an area where there is a war and may include hostile environments such as areas where civil commotion or revolution is taking place.

Cargo ship procedure - Deviation clause and port of refuge
A deviation is a departure from the intended voyage or contract of carriage. This can occur either where the course of the voyage is specifically stated and is departed from or where the course of the voyage is not stated, but the usual route or customary route is departed from. However, it should be noted that deviation does not necessarily mean a physical change in the course. It can occur in a simple case of slowing down to receive stores at an intermediate off-port-limits call. ...

Salvage contract -Using The Lloyd's Open Form for "No-Cure-No-Pay" salvage contract
The Lloyd's Open Form or "LOF" is the most widely-used "No-Cure-No-Pay" salvage contract. In return for salvage services, the salver receives a proportion of the salved value (the ship, its cargo, and bunkers).

Role of ship classification society
Classification societies verify the structural strength and integrity of the ship's hull and its fittings, as well as the reliability and function of the propulsion steering systems, power generation, other systems on the ship....

The Master’s Responsibility during Salvage Operation
Request for Salvage - The Master shall normally request salvage after consultation with the Company. However, he has complete authority to seek salvage assistance without referencing the Company if he considers this necessary.

Requirement of towing arrangement in oil tankers, readyness, & training onboard
All Oil, Chemical and Gas Tankers above 20000 DWT, constructed on or after 1st July, 2002, are equipped with an “Emergency Towing Arrangement (E.T.A.) both Forward And aft to provide the ship with a rapidly deployed towage capacity in an emergency.

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