Always afloat, always accessible
In order to prevent a vessel from being ordered to proceed to a berth where she cannot load or discharge without touching the ground or which can only be reached safely after discharging part of the cargo into lighters or which can only be reached with spring tide, the so-called “always safely afloat clause” is inserted in the charterparty.
This clause may read as follows (as in the GENCON voyage charterparty for dry cargo):
“. .. the vessel shall proceed to . .. or so near thereto as-she may safely get and lie afloat . . . and being so loaded the vessel shall proceed to . . . or so near thereto as she may safely get and lie always afloat and there deliver the cargo . . .”
In some ports where the bottom consists of soft mud, it may be agreed that the vessel may lie safely aground at low tide (“Not always afloat but safely aground” or NAABSA).
The Charterer can send the ship to ports in which the ship can be reached for the purpose of handling cargo or carrying out any other activity with the shore and as required by the Charterer.