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The Nature of a Bareboat Charter
1.1 A fundamental distinction is drawn under English law between charterparties which amount to a demise or lease of a ship, and those which do not. The former category, known as charters by demise, operate as a lease of the ship pursuant to which possession and control passes from the owners to the charterers whilst the latter, primarily comprising time and voyage charters, are in essence contracts for the provision of services, including the use of the chartered ship. Under a lease, it is usual for the owners to supply their vessel “bare” of officers and crew, in which case the arrangement may correctly be termed a “bareboat” charter. 1 The charterers become for the duration of the charter the de facto “owners” of the vessel, the master and crew act under their orders, and through them they have possession of the ship.
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