Document of Compliance (DOC) Company - The owner of the ship or any other organisation or person such as the manager or bareboat charterer who has assumed the responsibility for the technical operation of the ship from the owner of the ship and who on assuming such responsibility has agreed to take over all the duties and responsibilities imposed by the ISM Code. A documented company on both DOC and SMC Certificates issued by flag Administrations; but the information for which is also available from the Responsible Organisations, such as Classification Societies, who may undertake the audits. In most cases the DOC Company will be responsible for the Technical Management of the ship.
Technical Manager - The company designated by the shipowner or operator or ship manager to be specifically responsible for the technical operation and technical superintendancy of a ship. This company may also be responsible for purchases regarding the fleet, such as repairs, spares, re-engining, surveys, dry-docking, etc. In the majority of cases the DOC Company will also be responsible for the Technical Management of the ship.
Group Beneficial Owner – This is the parent company of the Registered Owner. It is the controlling interest behind its fleet and the ultimate beneficiary from the ownership. A Group Beneficial Owner may or may not directly own ships itself as a Registered Owner. It may be the Manager of its fleet, which is in turn owned by subsidiary companies. Its ships may also be managed by a 3rd party under contract. In some circumstances a ship may be owned by a financial organisation who has no operational involvement whatever. In Shipping Circles, the lessee company, which may also be referred to as the Disponent Owner, can also be the Group Beneficial Owner, Commercial Manager or Commercial Operator of the ship.
Registered Owner - The legal title of ownership of the vessel that appears on the ship's registration documents. It may be an Owner/Manager or a wholly-owned subsidiary in a larger shipping group; or a bank or one-ship company vehicle set up by the bank; or of course, it may be a"brass-plate" company created on paper to legally own a ship and possibly to limit liability for the "real" owners and/or benefit from off-shore tax laws. It may anyway be a legal-requirement of the flag-state with whom the ship is registered for the legal owner to be a company registered in that country.
Commercial Manager - The company designated by the ship owner or charterer to be responsible for the day to day commercial running of the ship and the best contact for the ship regarding commercial matters. Including post fixture responsibilities, such as laytime, demurrage, insurance and charter clauses. This company may be an owner, related company, or a third-party manager, whose purpose is primarily the management of ships for their ship-owning clients. In some circumstances a ship may be owned by a financial organisation who has no operational involvement whatever. The lessee company, or one of its subsidiary companies, may be deemed to be the commercial manager of the ship.
Commercial Operator - The company responsible for the commercial decisions concerning the employment of a ship and therefore who decides how and where that asset is employed. The direct beneficiary of the profits from the operations of the ship, this company may also be responsible for purchasing decisions on bunkers and port services. A medium to long-term time charterer is considered to be the commercial operator of the ship while a medium to long-term bareboat charterer may sometimes be considered to be the commercial operator of the ship. Companies heading operator pools are the commercial operators of the ships in the pool. In Shipping Circles the Commercial Operator may often be referred to as the Disponent Owner of the ship. N.B. In the absence of an authoritative source for the Operator of the ship, the Commercial Ship Manager will be used as a default until the identity of the Operator is substantiated.
Note: Ownership/Management definitions are provided by IHS. Some of the entity names have been updated to reflect current industry naming standards.