The Customs department is one Government body whose main function is to protect a country’s revenue. It is also a port authority that gives ships permission to discharge cargo if all dues are paid and the ship is “entered” and “cleared” inwards. The ship must be entered on the records kept by the Customs department and cleared by the department to commence cargo discharge. Before a ship’s master can give notice of readiness (NOR) and trigger the commencement of the agreed laytime, the ship must be both physically and legally ready. Clearance by Customs authorities can be a formality that can take considerable time anti non-clearance can cause tile ship not to be legally ready. Normally any loss of time is not the risk of the charterers. However, if the charterparty contains a term that the master can give NOR even if not cleared by Customs, laytime will begin at the agreed time at or after the acceptance of the NOR by the Charterer or his agent, provided the vessel has arrived at the agreed destination.
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