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ABS is the abbreviation for American Bureau of Shipping. ABS, which has been established in 1864, is one of the largest class societies worldwide with a classed fleet of over 10,000 commercial vessels.

The term Aframax is based on the Average Freight Rate Assessment (AFRA) tanker rate system. An Aframax tanker is an oil tanker with a capacity between 105.000 and 120.000 tons deadweight. Aframax tankers are mostly employed in the intra-regional trade of the North Sea, the Caribbean, the Far East and the Mediterranean.

Anti Fouling
The cantle of the ship’s hull being under water tends to foul, meaning the settling of organisms such as mussels and barnacles, which leads to a higher weight and flow resistance of the vessel, causing lower speed and higher fuel consumptions. To detain these organisms from colonizing on the vessel’s hull, special coatings have been developed (Anti fouling coating).


Bulker / Bulk Carrier
Bulk Carriers are merchant ships especially designed to transport unpackaged bulk cargo, such as grains, coal, ore and cement. Bulk Carriers range in size from single-hold bulkers with a capacity of about 10,000 tdw to vessels, which are able to carry 365,000 metric tons deadweight.

Generic term used to describe a ship’s fuel oil (see also HFO, IFO, MDO).

Ballast Water
Ballast water is sea water that a vessel takes into its ballast tanks in order to adjust the ship’s stability and trim. Due to the fact that loading and discharging of ballast water mostly takes place in different areas, organisms such as little fish, mussels and crabs are transported over the globe and can cause serious problems in foreign habitats. In order to avoid this, ships change ballast water in the open sea and the IMO is furthermore in the process of making ballast water treatment to a must for all sea going vessels. Therefore ballast water treatment is of major importance of COLUMBIA to protect each maritime habitat and to maintain the local flora and fauna.

BIMCO (= Baltic International Maritime Council) is an independent international shipping association, compound by ship owners, agents, brokers etc. BIMCO allocates information of practical shipping issues and advisories to all maritime businesses, to governments and authorities.


Caper / Capesize
Capesize ships are merchant cargo vessels. In the past, these ships had to pass the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn in order to travel between the oceans, as they were too large to transit the Suez Canal and Panama Canal. Nowadays, vessels of this type may transit the Suez Canal as long as they are able to meet the draft restrictions. Capesize vessels are typically above 150,000 tons deadweight. Ships in this class include VLCC and ULCC supertankers and bulk carriers transporting coal, ore and other commodity raw materials.

A charterer is a person or company ‘hiring’ a vessel for commercial purposes.

Charter Party
A charter party is the contract between the owner of a vessel and the charterer. The charterer takes over the vessel for either a certain amount of time (time charter) or for a certain point-to-point voyage (voyage charter). Though very different in terms of cost calculation, both time charter and voyage charter agreements have the owner’s responsibility to provide a fully operational ship in common, which implies duties such as the obligation to maintain the vessel’s technical condition or to carry out crew related matters. Unlike above mentioned charter agreements, the responsibility for the ship’s operational readiness in a bareboat charter does not lie with the ship owner. Contrary to other charter arrangements such as time charter or voyage charter arrangements, the object of a bareboat charter party merely includes the vessel itself. The charterer bears the financial and the operational responsibility for repairs, maintenance and ship’s operation, as well as for all crew related affairs.

Classification Society
Classification societies are non-governmental organizations, established to check the compliance with all standards concerning the ship’s design and construction. Vessels once classified are surveyed on a regular basis (typically every 5 years) in order to ensure that they continuously comply with applicable regulations.

Closed-End Fund (“Geschlossener Fonds”)
A close-end fund is an investment scheme in which the funds are raised through a limited number of shares. Unlike open-ended funds, the fund is closed and the issuing of shares is stopped, once the target amount has been reached. Ship funds in Germany are usually close-end funds, in which the raised funds are invested either in newbuilding or in purchasing of an existing merchant ship.

Container Ship
Container ships are vessels designed to carry standardized containers. Typically, the capacity of a container ship is measured in TEU (see also TEU), which is a synonym for a standardized 20-foot container. Due to the introduction of ISO-standardized containers, the cargo handling of container ships has been automated, which results in significant savings of time. While vessels above a certain size rely on cranes at the port of destination in order to discharge their cargo, smaller ships are often able to discharge even in regions with an underdeveloped infrastructure, by using their own cargo gear.

Continual Improvement
Process of enhancing a system in order to achieve improvements in overall performance, in line with the organization’s policies and objectives.

Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility is a way whereby organizations consider the interests of society by taking responsibility for the impact of their activities on customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, communities and other stakeholders, as well as the environment. It is the dedication to extend beyond the statutory obligations to comply with legislation. The organization takes voluntary steps to improve the quality of life for employees and their families as well as for local communities and societies.

Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction, a business term, is a measure of how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpass customer expectation.


A Document of Compliance means a document issued to a Company which complies with the requirements of this ISM Code.

Double Hull Tanker
A double hull tanker is a ship hull design and construction method where the bottom and sides of the ship have to complete layers of watertight hull surface: one outer layer forming the normal hull of the ship and a second inner hull which is constructed further into the ship, which forms a redundant barrier to seawater in case the outer hull is damaged and leaks.

Det Norske Veritas is a Norwegian classification society, established in 1864. DNV is an independent foundation whose objectives are "Safeguarding life, property, and the environment", and is one of the leading classification societies worldwide. Other large classification societies: American Bureau of Shipping, Germanischer Lloyd, Lloyd’s Register.


Surroundings, in which an organisation operates, including air, water, land, natural resources, flora, fauna, humans and their interrelation.

Environmental Management System
Means the part of the Management System used to develop and implement the environmental policy and to manage the environmental aspects.


The FEU (Forty-foot Equivalent Unit) is based on a 40-foot container measuring 12,19 m x 2,44 m x 2,60 m with a volume of 67,7 m³ (also see TEU).

Fuel Oil (see HFO, IFO, MDO).


German Tonnage Tax
The German tonnage tax, first introduced in 1999, is an accounting method used for the taxation of profits earned through ships operation. According to §5a EStG (German Income tax law), not the actual profit, but the vessel’s net tonnage acts as the basis for the lumpsum determination of taxable income, which usually results in a lesser tax burden.

GL is the abbreviation for Germanischer Lloyd, which is a non-profit classification society, established in 1867 to supervise the newbuilding and operation of ships. Ship owners, who seek to obtain or to keep certification of their vessels, have to ensure that the ship’s technical condition is in compliance with the rules established by the GL. Other large classification societies: American Bureau of Shipping, Det Norske Veritas, Lloyd’s Register.

Gross Register Tonnage
The Gross Register Tonnage (GRT) is a term used to describe a ship’s total internal volume, whereas 1 GRT is equal to 100 cubic feet. Though replaced by the term Gross Tonnage (GT) in 1994, Gross Register Tonnage is still widely used.

Gross Tonnage
The Gross Tonnage is a unitless entity used to calculate a vessel’s volume, by measuring all enclosed spaces from keel to funnel to the outside of the hull framing.


Handysize Bulker
The term “Handysize Bulker” is a definition used for bulk carriers, which are typically dimensioned between 10,000 and 35,000 tons deadweight.

Heavy Fuel Oil; Due to its high viscosity, this type of oil usually requires heating before it can be pumped and used to power the ship’s main engine.

Heavy Lift
Heavy Lift Vessels are designed to transport heavy, large and uncommon cargo such as pontoons. They mostly are equipped with cranes or can lower the deck underneath the water surface, so smaller boats and yachts can drive into the flooded holds. Thereafter the ballast tanks are cleared again; the deck raises and sustains the cargo safely and ready to be shipped.


The International Association for Classification Societies is an organization formed by ten classification societies and class about 94% of all commercial tonnage involved in international trade worldwide.

Abbreviation for ‘International Maritime Organization’: The IMO represents a special organization of the UN which is assigned the task of promoting the maritime safety and which passed all major international conventions, such as SOLAS or MARPOL.

ISM Code
The International Safety Management (ISM) Code means the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention. The objectives of the Code are to ensure safety at sea, prevention of human injury or loss of life, and avoidance of damage to the environment, in particular to the marine environment and to property.

ISO 14001
The ISO 14001 environmental management standard has been established in order to give companies a guidance in their efforts to minimize the environmental impact caused by the company's business operations. The ISO 14001 standard specifies requirements for establishing an environmental policy, determining environmental aspects and impacts of products/activities/services, setting environmental objectives and measurable targets. Furthermore, programs have to be implemented to meet the objectives and targets. In order to achieve continuous improvement, these programs and targets have to be checked and reviewed on a regular basis with corrective actions. COLUMBIA Shipmanagement (Deutschland) GmbH places high importance on the protection of the environment. All employees in the office and at sea are encouraged to be pollution-conscious and to have a responsible attitude towards pollution prevention and preservation of natural resources. In implementing the Environmental Management System CSM decides to take action with appropriate measures for improving the environmental protection.

ISO 9001
ISO 9001 is a quality management system standard, maintained and regularly enhanced by ISO, the International Organization for Standardization and has been established in order to support companies aiming to document and continuously improve all relevant business procedures. This includes the need to set procedures which covers the company’s key processes, to ensure effectiveness by monitoring these processes, and to keep records of the processes. In addition, corrective actions have to be taken where necessary, individual processes as well as the quality system itself have to be reviewed, and the system as a whole has to be continuously improved. COLUMBIA Shipmanagement (Deutschland) GmbH is officially certified since February 2008.

International Ship and Port Facility Security Code came into force on July 1, 2004 and is applicable to all vessels over 500 grt operating on international trades, as well as the ports that service them. The ISPS Code provides a framework through which ships and port facilities can cooperate to detect acts which pose a threat to maritime security.

Issuing House (“Emissionshaus”)
An issuing house is a financial institution or proprietary company, which is concerned with the planning and initiating of new funds. For this purpose an issuing house is assigned the tasks of developing fund conceptions, creating the respective issue brochure as well as raising the fund by the issuance of shares (see also Ship Fund).

ITF (= International Transport Workers’ Federation) is one of the major international labour unions and was established in 1896, by now representing the interests of over 600,000 seafarers. The ITF’s intention is to improve the working and living conditions of the crews on board to ensure a more adequate and safer life at sea.

IFO, standing for Intermediate Fuel Oil, is a blend of gasoil and heavy fuel oil with less gasoil than HFO and is divided into IFO 380 (viscosity of 380 Centistokes) and IFO 180 (viscosity of 180 Centistokes). IFO 180 is more environmentally friendly and has to be used while passing the so called SECA areas (Baltic Sea and California).


Knot, kn
The knot is a unit of speed equal to one nautical mile per hour. 1 international knot = 1.852 kilometres per hour.


Lloyd’s Register
Lloyd’s Register, established in 1760, is the world’s oldest maritime classification society, named after Edward Lloyd, whose coffee house served in 17th century as a popular meeting place for ship owners, merchants and underwriters connected with maritime business (see also Classification Society). Other large classification societies: American Bureau of Shipping, Det Norske Veritas, Germanischer Lloyd.


Management System
The system to develop and implement the policy and objectives of the company and to manage the overall performance.

Marine Pollution; Short term for the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. MARPOL is a marine environmental convention, designed to preserve the marine environment through the complete elimination of pollution by oil and other harmful substances.

Motor Vessel / Motor Tanker

Multi-Purpose Carrier (MPC)
Contrary to other ship types such as Container ships, Tanker or Reefer vessels, Multi-purpose carrier have the ability to carry various kinds of cargoes at the same time. This may include general and bulk cargo as well as containers or heavy lift cargoes (see also Heavy Lift).

MDO (Marine Diesel Oil) is a blend gasoil and HFO with a high grade of gasoil. MDO is used for running the diesel generators on board ships to produce electricity.


Nautical Mile
1 Nautical Mile is equal to 1,852 km.

Net Tonnage
Net tonnage (NT) is based on a calculation of the volume of all cargo spaces of the ship. It indicates a vessel’s earning space and is a function of the moulded volume of all cargo spaces of the ship. It officially replaced the old term Net Register Tonnage (NRT), which however is still widely used.


The term ‘off-hire’ is the description of a time period, in which the charterer is not obliged to pay the charter fee due to the vessel’s lack of operational readiness.


Overall intentions and direction of an organization as formally expressed by a company.

A pool is the concept of bundling several merchant ships, in which all earnings are proportional distributed among the vessels. This results in a risk diversification and in continuous charter earnings, caused by the different, intersecting running times of the respective charter parties. Possible losses, for instance a loss of earnings caused by a ship’s off-hire (see also Off-Hire), might be absorbed by the earnings of the ship pool, which are allocated to all pool members.

Panamax Bulker / Tanker
A Panamax ship is the maximum dimension of a vessel with a deadweight tonnage of 60.000-100.000, that will fit through the locks of the Panama Canal. This size is determined by the dimensions of the lock chambers, and the depth of the water in the canal (in 2008). From the year 2015 on, the term “Panamax” will very likely bear a new meaning, as most of the nowadays as “Post-Panamax” classified ships will be able to transit the canal in 2015 due to massive expansion workings. Once the expansion project is finished, container vessels with an average capacity of 12.000 TEU will be able to navigate the Panama Canal, as the new draft restrictions will allow the transit of ships with a maximum draft of 15 metres.


Register Ton
The term ‘Register Ton’ is used to determine the size of a ship. It is based on volume where one register ton equals 100 cubic feet or 2.83 m³.


Sea Mile
A sea mile or nautical mile is a unit of length. 1 nautical mile = 1,852 km.

Ship Fund
Ship funds are commonly close-end funds, with a usual running time of 10 to 25 years, in which the funds are spent in the building or acquisition of one or several merchant ships. The management is incumbent on a partner with limited liability, usually a GmbH, and the investors take part as partners with limited liability, thus having little influence on the management. The operational management of the vessel is carried out by a ship management company.

Ship Manager
A ship manager carries out all relevant affairs concerning a ship’s operation on behalf of the owner. Depending whether the ship is under so called ‘Full Management’ or under ‘Crew Management’, the duties and responsibilities of the assigned ship manager may vary. The management of a ship under full management may include the responsibility for the maintenance of the ship’s technical condition, for the compliance with all legal obligations and the provision of insurance, as well as the handling of crew related matters, operational matters, ship accounting or the insurance/ claims handling. Contrary to above mentioned Full Management, the Crew Management service is fully focused on the provision of qualified ship personnel.

Ship Owner
A ship owner is a person or company owning one or more merchant ships for commercial purposes.

A Safety Management Certificate means a document issued to a ship which signifies that the Company and its shipboard management operate in accordance with the approved safety management system.

The Safety of Life at Sea is an international treaty which was passed in order to promote the safety of merchant ships. The treaty, which is kept up to date by periodic amendments, prescribes standards concerning safety-promoting structural measures, life-saving appliances, and safety measures of merchant ships (see also IMO).

A Suezmax Tanker is a naval architecture term for the largest ships capable for transiting the Suez Canal fully loaded, and is almost exclusively used in reference to tankers. Since the canal has no locks, the only serious limiting factor is draft (maximum depth below waterline).

A Supramax- or Handymax Bulker is a term for a type of bulk carrier, which is typically dimensioned between 35,000 and 60,000 tons deadweight.


A Tanker is a ship designed to transport liquids in bulk. A wide range of products are carried by tankers, including: hydrocarbon products such as crude oil, petrochemicals, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

TDW = Tons Deadweight. Tons Deadweight is a measure of how much mass or weight of cargo or burden a ship can safely carry and includes the weight of the crew, passengers, cargo, fuel, ballast, drinking water, and stores.

The TEU (= Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) is based on a 20-foot container, measuring 6,10 m x 2,44 m x 2,60 m, describing the cargo capacity of container ships and container terminals (see also FEU).

Time Charter
See also Charter Party.


Voyage Charter
See also Charter Party.

VLCC is the abbreviation for a “Very Large Crude Carrier”, which has a capacity of more than 300.000 tdw.