Maritime Terms, Abbreviations and Acronyms

Maritime abbreviations and acronyms go back to those days we used telegram and telex to communicate. The business model for telex and telegrams was “pay per letter”. Even though the telegrams and telexes have been retired, we still use the maritime abbreviations daily.

Below you will find a comprehensive list of terms, abbreviations, and acronyms used in the maritime industry, sorted in alphabetical order. You can search for an acronym or write a word and find the abbreviations where the word is included.

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Added Weight Method

Ship Stability: A method of solving for damage stability where the water that enters the vessel is considered an added weight.


Additional chartering terms at the end of a charter party


In many plastic products, the polymer is only one constituent. In order to arrive at a set of properties appropriate to the product, the polymer is almost always combined with other ingredients, or additives, which are mixed in during processing and fabrication. Among these additives are impact modifiers, colorants, reinforcements, plasticizers and stabilizers. See also plastics and conversion.

Additional Demurrage

Amount of money paid to the shipowner by the voyage charterer, shipper or receiver, as the case may be, for failing to complete loading or discharging before the agreed period of free time has expired. The daily rate of additional demurrage is agreed in the Charter-Party.

Additional Freight

Extra charge imposed in accordance with the contract of carriage by a shipping line on the shipper, receiver or Bill of Lading holder, as the case may be, for additional expenses incurred in discharging the cargo. This charge generally applies when the port stipulated in the contract is inaccessible or when the discharge there would result in unreasonable delay to the ship: under these circumstances, the shipping line may have an option under the contract of carriage to proceed to another port of discharge the cargo where extra costs may be incurred.


Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation


automotive diesel fuel


Alaska Department of Fish and Game (State Agency)


Admiralty: Refers to marine matters such as an Admiralty Court.

Administrative Law Judge

A representative of a government commission or agency vested with power to administer oaths, examine witnesses, take testimony, and conduct hearings of cases submitted to, or initiated by, that agency. Also called Hearing Examiner.


The transport of dangerous goods on the River Rhine and most inland waterways in Europe is regulated by ADNR.




To move cargo up line to a vessel leaving sooner than the one booked. (See also Roll.)

Advanced Charge

Transportation charge advanced by one carrier to another to be collected by the later carrier from the consignor or consignee.

Advance Freight

Freight payable at a time agreed by the shipowner and the shipper, before the goods are delivered at the place of destination in the contract of carriage.

Advance on Freight

Money advances by the shipper to the master of a ship to pay for his disbursements while in port. It is often repaid by deduction from freight.

Advanced Notice of Arrival (ANOA)

Any vessel entering United States waters from a foreign port is required to give a 96–hour ANOV. Any vessel of 300 gross registered tonnage and greater is required to give the ANOA to the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Vessel Movement Center. Any vessel under 300 gross registered tons is required to give the ANOA to the appropriate Captain of the Port.

Adopted Charter

If a charter “agreed” in that way following negotiations between, for instance, BIMCO and one or more groups representing charterers is officially supported by another association of shipowners, for instance, the Chamber of Shipping of the United Kingdom, it is stated that the Chamber of Shipping of the United Kingdom has “ adopted” the charter; or on the other hand, if BIMCO wants to support one or the other charter negotiated and “agreed” between the Chamber of Shipping of the United Kingdom and one or more groups of charterers, then it is stated that the charter has been adopted by BIMCO. Moreover, a document issued by an organization of shipowners, for instance INTERTANKO, for use in a special trade without having actually been “agreed” with any particular group of charterers, may be adopted by BIMCO. An adopted document is compulsory for the members of the organization who have adopted it if it is an “agreed” document.


Floating at random; not fastened by and kind of mooring; at the mercy of winds and currents; loose from normal anchorage. A vessel is said to be adrift when she breaks away from her moorings, wharfs, and so on.


Shipment of goods on shipper’s own account. A bill of adventure is a document signed by the master of the ship that carries goods at owner’s risk. Also, a term used in some insurance policies to mean a voyage or a shipment.

Advice of Shipment

A notice sent to a local or foreign buyer advising that shipment has gone forward and containing details of packing, routing, etc. A copy of the invoice is often enclosed and, if desired, a copy of the bill of lading.

Advising Bank

A bank operating in the seller’s country that handles letters of credit on behalf of a foreign bank.


Auxilary Engine


Association for Emissions Control by Catalyst, an association affiliated to Cefic.


All Fast or Advance Freight


All Figures About


as far as applicable


Arrival first compulsory sea pilot station


The hiring of a ship in whole or part

Affreightment, Contract of

An agreement by an ocean carrier to provide cargo space on a vessel at a specified time and for a specified price to accommodate an exporter or importer.


After fixing main terms


Average Freight Rate Assessments. A monthly estimate of tanker rates issued by London tanker brokers, AFRA, quoted on a Worldscale basis, assists large oil companies' internal accounting, provides a freight element for some netback deals, and serves other purposes somewhat removed for the daily tanker business.


AFRA - (Average Freight Rate Assessment) designed for carrying For bulk crude oil in tanks (80,000 dwt - 125,000 dwt)

Aframax Tanker

A vessel of 70,000 to 119,000 DWT capacity. The largest tanker size in the AFRA (average freight rate assessment) tanker rate system.


Arrival First Sea Pilot Station

AFT, after

The foremost part of the ship. Toward the stern or the back of the vessel. Between the stern and the midship section of the vessel

after Body

The section of the vessel aft of amidships

After Perpendicular

Ship Stability: Usually established at the intersection of the design waterline and the vessels rudder stock or stern post




Arabian Gulf - also called PG - Persian Gulf


Agent: A person authorized to transact business for and in the name of another person or company. Types of agents are: (1) brokers (2) commission merchants (3) resident buyers (4) sales agents (5) manufacturer’s representatives

Agency Clause

Clause in Charter-Party, which stipulates whether the ship’s agent at the loading and / or discharging ports are to be nominated by the shipowner or the charterer.

Agency fee

Fee payable by the shipowner or ship operator to a port agent, whose duties may include arranging a berth with the port authority, ordering pilots, tugs and labor, entering the ship in at Customs and collecting freight.

Agency Tariff

A tariff published by an agent on behalf of several carriers.

Agent or Ship's Agent

Person looking after the interests of a ship whiøe in port. Duties include organising pilotage, towage and berth for the ship, collecting freight and signing bills of lading

Aggregate Shipment

Numerous shipments from different shippers to one consignee that are consolidated and treated as a single consignment.

Aggregates Carrier

A single deck cargo vessel for the carriage of aggregates in bulk. Also known as a Sand Carrier. May be self discharging

Agreed charter

The charter has been agreed between BIMCO (or The Chamber of Shipping of the United Kingdom or Cornite Central des Armateurs de France or other associations of shipowners) with one ore more groups of charterers or other institutions (for instance, the Polish Coal Charter Committee, the Timber Trade Federation of the United Kingdom, the Syndicat National du Commerce Exterieur de Cereales, Paris or CMEA, Moscow). The printed conditions of an “agreed” charter must not be altered or deleted without the express approval of the organizations who have agreed the charter, An “agreed” document is compulsory for the trade for which it is intended, e.x. the sugar trade.

Agreed valuation

The value of a shipment agreed upon in order to secure a specific freight rate.

Agreed Weight

The weight prescribed by agreement between carrier and shipper for goods shipped in certain packages or in a certain number.


Agricultural products


A chemical, such as a hormone, fungicide, or insecticide, that improves or protects the production of crops.


Touching or fast to the bottom


Agent: A person authorized to transact business for and in the name of another person or company. Types of agents are: (1) brokers (2) commission merchants (3) resident buyers (4) sales agents (5) manufacturer’s representatives


All going well


All going well weather permitting


Range of ports between and including Antwerp and Hamburg


Aft hatch


Anchor Handling


Australian hold ladders


Annual Hull Survey


Anchor Handling Tug


Anchor Handling Towage and Supply-vessels which supply oil rigs, tow them to location and anchor them up. They can also be used for supply roles.


Agency for International Development

Aids to Navigation

Artificial objects to supplement natural landmarks indicating safe and unsafe waters


American Institute of Merchant Shipping

Air Cushion Vehicle Crew Boat

An air cushioned vehicle or hovercraft specifically designed as a crew boat

Air Cushion Vehicle Passenger

An air cushion vehicle or hovercraft used for the purpose of transporting passengers

Air Cushion Vehicle Passenger/Ro-Ro Ship (Vehicles)

An air cushion vehicle or hovercraft used for the purpose of transporting passengers and ro-ro vehicles

Air Cushion Vehicle Patrol Vessel

An air cushion vehicle or hovercraft used as a patrol vessel (perhaps change to work vessel)

Air Cushion Vehicle Research

An air cushioned vehicle or hovercraft specifically designed as a research vessel

Air Cushion Vehicle, work vessel

An air cushioned vehicle or hovercraft specifically designed as a work vessel

Air Draft

The distance between the surface of navigable water, such as a channel, and the lowest point on some obstruction above it, a bridge for instance. A ship cannot use a waterway if it needs more vertical clearance than available. This consideration prevents certain tankers from reaching some terminals.

Air Draft

Ship Stability: The vertical distance from the vessel's actual waterline upward to a point on the vessel.

Air Waybill

The forwarding agreement or carrying agreement between shipper and air carrier and is issued only in nonnegotiable form.

Aircraft Carrier

A combat vessel designed to enable the carriage, take off and landing of aircraft


Automatic Identification System - Real-time ship identification. All ships of 300 gross tonnage and upwards engaged on international voyages and cargo ships of 500 gross tonnage and upwards not engaged on international voyages and passenger ships irrespe




Action Level. Certain OSHA regulations take effect if this exposure level is reached. These regulations include workplace air analysis, employee training, medical monitoring, and record keeping. This level is about half of the permissible exposure limit.

Alcohol resistant foam

A foam that is resistant to "polar" chemicals such as ketones and esters which may break down other types of foam.

Alcohol Tanker

A tanker for the bulk carriage of alcohol


Alcohols are amongst the most common organic compounds. Well-known alcohols include methanol (methyl alcohol, or wood alcohol), ethanol (ethyl alcohol, or grain alcohol) and isopropyl alcohol (the common alcohol known as rubbing alcohol and used as a germicide). Alcohols are also valuable as intermediates in the synthesis of other compounds.


An important starting material and intermediate in organic synthesis. Many aldehydes of industrial significance are used as solvents, perfumes, and flavoring agents or as intermediates in the manufacture of plastics, dyes, and pharmaceuticals.


Any organic compound in which the main structure is a chain of carbon atoms joined to each other is classified as being aliphatic.


A substance having a pH between 7 and 14

Alkali Refining

The traded quality of oils and fats is determined primarily by the level of free fatty acids present. In crude oils, this may be as low as 0.5% as in soya, or as high as 6.0% as in the case of palm oil. Removal of this impurity is the major source of calculable loss during processing. The term "alkali refining" is applied to the process in which the free fatty acid is reduced chemically by reacting the free acid with an aqueous alkali, forming the alkali metal soap which is then removed by settling or centrifuging.

Alkryd Resin

The reaction product of polyols, diacids, acids and anhydrides used primarily in the surface coating industry in which fatty acids, oils and glycerine are used to impart properties, e.g. chemical resistance, hardness, drying speed and flexibility.

Alkyl benzene

One of the most important organic raw material for the production of synthetic detergents.


A high-quality motor gasoline component made by combining isobutene and propylene or butylene. Butylene alkylate has a particularly high motor octane rating which suits it well for blending lead-free grades of automobile fuel and aviation gasoline. Both butylene and propylene alkylate boil fairly low in the gasoline range. This characteristic makes them good “front-end” octane.


Olefins such as propylene and butylene are produced by catalytic and thermal cracking. Alkylation refers to the process using sulfuric or hydro-fluoric acid as a catalyst to combine these olefins with isobutane to produce a high octane product known as alkylate.

Alkylation unit

A piece of refining equipment that combines isobutane and an olefinic stream, usually butylene-rich, to make motor alkylate.


Alkylphenol is produced using phenol as a starting material. It is mainly used as a stabilizer for rubbers and plastics, as a surfactant, as an industrial detergent, and in the mining and textile industries.

All at Sea

This dates to the time when accurate navigational aids weren’t available. Any ship that was out of sight of land was in an uncertain position and in danger of becoming lost..

All In

The total price to move cargo from origin to destination, inclusive of all charges.

All in rate

Freight rate which is inclusive of all surcharges and extras. This type of freight rate is to be found in the liner trade.


Annual Load Line Inspection


When a moving vessel strikes a fixed object.

Allow laytime

The number of hours allowed for loading and discharging a cargo as stipulated in a Charter Party.


Above the deck of the ship
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