When a ship master has to sign and issue original bills of lading, he must take great care to ensure that all potential contractual pitfalls are covered. He must consult the P & I club and seek their advice before signing and releasing the original B/L.
Shipped B/L is signed and given to the shipper through the agent. Freight may be payable before signing the B/L depending on the carrier’s terms.
When a MR is issued to the shipper on shipment of cargo, the MR may be required to be surrendered before issuance of the original shipped on board B/L.
The master must check the following before issuance of the B/L :
- That the goods have actually been shipped;
- That the date of shipment is correct as stated in the MR;
- That the B/L is not marked freight paid or freight prepaid if not true;
- That the clausing of the MR is incorporated in the B/L;
- That the reference is made to the C/P, where on exists;
- That any C/P terms do not conflict with the B/L terms; and
- That the number of the original B/L released is stated.
Every original B/L must be fully signed by the authorized signatory.