• A vessel sailing in ballast (i.e. without cargo) to its next port for loading cargo.
  • A submerged (but floating) log which can be hazardous to the vessel’s hull and propellers.
  • A tractor pulling an empty container on a chassis.

Deadweight Tonnage (DWT) - See "Tonnage."


  • The horizontal platforms extending from one side of the vessel’s hull to the other, forming levels of a vessel corresponding to the floors or stories of a building; e.g. main deck, 2nd deck, weather deck, etc.
  • The floor structure itself of any of these levels, upon which the cargo is placed.

Deck Cargo - See "On Deck Cargo."


An enclosed structure, such as a cabin or other compartment built on the deck of a ship. See "Pilothouse."

Deck Load Conditions

Insuring conditions in a cargo policy for cargo carried "on deck"; i.e. the areas of a barge or other vessel exposed to the weather. "FPAAC including JWO" means Free of Particular Average, American Conditions, including the risks of jettison and washing overboard. See "Average Clauses," "Particular Average," and "Jettison."


An insurance form filled out by the Assured for reporting / declaring individual shipments under an Open Cargo Policy. It is usually used for declaring import shipments where evidence of insurance is not required. A multi-entry declaration is called a bordereau. See "Certificate of Insurance" and "Special Cargo Policy."

Deductible / Deductible Average (DA)

Either a percentage of the insured value of the entire vessel or the entire cargo shipment, or a specified dollar amount which is subtracted from the total amount of claim. It is applied to partial loss claims, but not usually to total loss or General Average claims, depending on the policy wording.


Late arrival of cargo at destination caused by adverse weather, mechanical breakdown, or some other reason resulting in late arrival of the vessel. See "Loss of Market."

Delay Clause

A clause in most cargo insurance policies (even under All Risks coverage) excluding claims for loss or damage arising from delay, even if the delay is caused by an insured peril. See "Marine Extension Clauses."

Delivery Receipt

A form used to acknowledge acceptance of cargo, noting the apparent condition (whether sound or damaged). It often serves as the basis for preparation of the ocean bill of lading.


  1. A penalty or storage charge for cargo or containers held beyond the allowed number of days "free time" at a warehouse or railhead before it is picked up by the consignee.
  2. A penalty that a Charterer pays the vessel owner for keeping the vessel at the port of loading or discharge longer than agreed in the voyage Charter Party. See "Detention" and "Free Time."


The ratio of the weight of a substance to its volume at a given temperature and pressure; e.g. the weight of cargo in pounds per cubic foot.


An allowance for a decrease in value of property through wear, deterioration, obsolescence, or damage; it may be expressed as a dollar amount or a percentage of the property’s sound value.


A large crane mounted on a barge. See "Derrick Barge" under "Vessel Types" in Appendix F.


The place to which a cargo shipment is to be delivered.


  • The prevention, by governmental authority, of vessel and/or cargo leaving port, particularly during time of hostilities.
  • A penalty charge against shippers or consignees for delaying carrier's equipment beyond allowed free time. See "Demurrage."


The unloading of a cargo container.


In Admiralty law, any unreasonable variation in the conduct of a vessel in the carriage of goods whereby the risk of damage to the shipment could be increased; e.g. a vessel straying from the customary course of the voyage to call at an unscheduled port, overcarrying the goods beyond the port of discharge stated in the bill of lading, delay in carrying the goods, or carrying cargo on deck of a vessel not designed for carriage of containers on deck. Such a deviation causes the carrier and the ship to lose their COGSA defenses and limitations for loss or damage to the cargo. Any deviation to save life or property at sea is not unreasonable and does not make the carrier liable for any resulting loss or damage to cargo.

A Marine Cargo Policy generally includes a Deviation Clause to protect the cargo owner in case of deviation or change of voyage or, in case of an error in the description of the interest, vessel or voyage.

Difference In Conditions (D.I.C.)

A supplemental form of insurance giving the Assured broader coverage than is provided in a basic policy, e.g. a contract may only require basic fire coverage, whereas the buyer wishes coverage for "All Risks" to protect his or her financial interest. This extra coverage would insure the difference in conditions between the limited policy and the broader one.

Dinghy - See "Vessel Types" Appendix F.


To unload cargo from a vessel.


The duty of the Assured and its broker to tell the insurance company every

material circumstance before acceptance of the risk. See "Utmost Good Faith."

Displacement - See "Tonnage."

Divert / Diversion

To change the scheduled voyage or destination of a vessel. See "Destination."

Divided Damages

A method of apportioning damages from a vessel collision, where the total damages of both vessels were divided equally between the two vessels without regard to the degree of fault of each vessel. This method of equal division of damages was firmly established in the United States until it was replaced by the doctrine of Proportionate Fault by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in United States v. Reliable Transfer Co., 1975. See "Proportionate Fault."



  • For vessels, an area of water between two piers or alongside a pier, where a vessel is moored during loading and unloading of cargo or passengers. Sometimes refers to a floating structure to which vessels are tied up. See "Pier" or "Wharf." See also "Floating Dry Dock" and "Graving Dock" under "Vessel Types" Appendix F.
  • For land transportation, a loading or unloading platform (usually at the height of the truck bed for ease of loading) at a warehouse or carrier terminal.



  • A means of securing a door or hatch aboard a ship.
  • Steel teeth on the front of small tugs used for repositioning floating logs.


A set of wheels that supports the front of a trailer when the tractor unit is disconnected.


A group of pilings driven into the bottom of the harbor and tied together to form a strong mooring post. It is usually located at either end of a pier and is used to moor a vessel whose length extends beyond the pier.

Donkey Engine

A small engine on deck to power winches used to hoist sails, adjust rigging and tackle, weigh anchor, or operate deck pumps.



Transportation of a container and its contents from the warehouse of the consignor to the warehouse of the consignee by various means of transport. Also known as "House-to-House." See "Multimodal" and page 104 for an illustration.

D.O.T. (Department Of Transportation)

A U.S. government agency.


  1. Depth of water required for a vessel to float clear of the bottom. The vertical distance from the waterline to the lowest part of a vessel.
  2. A financial instrument to transfer money:

a. The Buyer's payment for goods through a bank in a cargo sales transaction. See "Commercial Set". b. Bank Draft - A payment order to a bank. See "Bank Draft." c. Sight Draft - A payment order payable upon presentation, i.e. "sighting."


Charge made for local hauling by dray or truck. Same as Cartage.

Dredge spoils

Material picked up from the river or sea bottom by dredges and pumped or deposited ashore or in deep water.

Dry-Bulk Container

A container constructed to carry grain, powder, and other free-flowing solids in bulk.


Dry dock - See "Floating Dry Dock" and "Graving Dock" under "Vessel Types" Appendix F.

Dual Valuation Clause

A clause in hull policies used when insuring older vessels so one value is used for total loss purposes and a higher value for all other claim and repair purposes. The lower value is the one on which all questions of total loss depend and usually represents the approximate market value of the vessel. The higher value (fixed by negotiation at a sum above the market value) applies to all other claims: particular average, general average, sue and labor, and collision claims, etc.

Due Course Of Transit

Uninterrupted movement of goods from point of origin to destination without delay or any change caused by cargo owner.

Due Diligence

Proper care and attention on the part of a vessel owner to the maintenance and welfare of the vessel and crew.


Exporting merchandise to a country at a price less than cost or fair market value, usually through a subsidy by the government of the exporting country.



Loose wood or other material used in a vessel's hold or in a container to secure and support cargo during the voyage to prevent damage and movement and shifting of the cargo.


A Government tax levied on imports. In the U.S., it is collected by U.S. Bureau of Customs upon entry of the goods into the country.