A ship-owner is typically the sole owner of a commercial vessel and is necessarily involved in the commerce involving the movement of goods by sea. In the legal sense of the word, a ship-owner is someone who owns and equips a ship, generally for transporting cargo in a single shipment, either on a per load or on hire basis. A ship-owner also acts as an agent for his clients and acts as an authorized officer to ensure compliance with shipping laws. He also cooperates with the Coast Guard and other enforcement agencies as well as with insurers, keeping the ships safe from disasters such as storms or accidents.
Some ship owners, for example, outsource their technical management requirements. They may have a team of specialists on board the ship with access to all of the latest technological advances in order to get the job done. Alternatively, they may need to outsource to third-party technical managers who maintain ongoing contact with the ship’s maintenance department and provide the latest information regarding its maintenance and operations. Outsourcing allows a ship owner to concentrate on his business while still managing his vessels efficiently. Moreover, it will help cut costs because these companies will provide ongoing after-sales support, including scheduling services, ensuring that the vessel is kept up to date on routine maintenance.
The other type of ship owner is one who has the responsibility for the overall management of his vessels. He is in charge of the navigation, safety, docking and boarding of his vessels and his access to the harbors and ports of call. In this capacity, he must ensure that his vessel is in top condition at all times. Having a ship manager on board is akin to having a fleet manager on board since he or she will oversee the vessel’s operational methods, maintain records pertinent to the vessel, maintain contact with other owners and supervise day-to-day operations.