A ship-owner is simply the captain of a commercial ship and is primarily involved in the shipping sector. In the literal sense of the word, a ship-owner is somebody who leases and equips a ship, typically for transporting cargo in a specific shipping rate, either on a flat-rate or on a per load basis. He has the authority to arrange for the necessary crew, keep an eye on weather conditions and also control the speed of the ship. He is in charge of the safety, security and welfare of his passengers and crew and is also in charge of the voyage’s whereabouts. If a ship owner fails to supervise his ship adequately, or fails to provide safety vests for his crew and incurs liability then the ship will be at risk of sinking.
In addition, ship owners may be directly involved in the management of his own company’s shipping operations, for example, if he leases cargo vessels to others. The ship owners may also be involved in the technical management of the cargo manifest, the manifest that describes which cargo can legally be transported and in which nation the cargo must be shipped. Technical management of the cargo can include the analysis, evaluation and recommendations of statistics regarding the efficiency of transportation and warehousing of goods in general. In addition, ship owners have authority over the loading and unloading of goods in the water, for example, loading and unloading are required in international trade, where national laws or custom practices differ.
To become a ship owner, one needs to invest in a ship certificate, which carries a photograph of the hull and keel as well as other technical details of the boat. After receiving the certificate, you can then apply for an appropriate registration to legally carry out your business on the water. Ship owners can choose any method of registration they like: they can use their personal name or use the vessel’s name under which their business will be listed. A ship charter is the best choice for those who want to be in charge of their own business. Most ship owners start their businesses as private individuals, but many find it easier to start a business partnership. However, most ship charters do not allow partnerships.