This is the quantity of cargo the ship can carry or the volume of the space the ship has for cargo. It is found in the charterparty clause describing the ship and is part of the shipowner’s warranties about the ship. If the ship does not meet the description given by the owner, he could become liable for a “breach of warranty” and have to pay compensation or damages or perhaps even a “breach of condition“, allowing the charterers to cancel (“repudiate”) the charter.
The description of the ship depends on the service for which it is being provided and also the type of charter. For example, in a time charter, the description would be more detailed than in a voyage charter because the charterers will have to take certain risks of using the ship for a longer period of time. The cargo capacity is one of the more important elements of the description.
There are two methods in which the cargo capacity is described. These are:
- the deadweight
- the cubic capacity of the cargo compartments
Deadweight can be either “Deadweight All Told (DWAT)” (the total deadweight of the ship comprising cargo, stores, fuel, water, ballast, etc.) or “Deadweight Cargo Capacity (DWCC)“.