The place where food is prepared on a vessel; i.e. the vessel's kitchen.

Gantry Crane

A frame built across the width of a vessel from which blocks and rigging are suspended. A gantry crane is a crane on which the load is suspended from a traveling trolley.

Gas Free Certificate

Written confirmation that a tank or other confined space has been inspected and confirmed purged of all explosive and other harmful gasses.

GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade)

A multinational treaty to help reduce trade barriers between the signatory countries and to promote trade through tariff concessions. The World Trade Organization (WTO) superceded GATT in 1994.

GBL (Government Bill of Lading)

General Average (GA)

An ancient principle of equity, recognized by maritime nations, pre-dating the concept of insurance and still valid today, in which all parties involved in a sea adventure (vessel, cargo, and freight) proportionately share losses resulting from a voluntary and successful effort to save the entire venture from an imminent peril. There are two types of General Average acts:

1. Voluntary Sacrifice of a part of the vessel or a part of the cargo, e.g. jettison of property to stabilize the vessel during heavy weather.

2. Extraordinary Expense necessarily incurred for the joint benefit of vessel and cargo, e.g. towing charges incurred to assist a disabled vessel to a port of refuge.

General Average Adjuster - See "Average Adjuster."

General Average Agreement

A guarantee by the owner of the cargo (usually the consignee) to pay that proportion of the general average contribution, salvage, or special charges owed by the shipment, and to give information about its value so an Average Adjustment can be prepared. The vessel owner will not release cargo for delivery to the consignee until the cargo owner signs this average agreement or bond, which is prepared by the general average adjuster.

General Average Bond - See "General Average Agreement."

General Average Deposit

A cash deposit (usually based on the estimated percentage of General Average) which the General Average Adjuster demands from the owner of the cargo to secure the payment of its proportion of the General Average. This cash deposit is usually demanded as additional security to the General Average Bond. The deposit may be replaced by a General Average Guarantee.

General Average Expenditures - See "General Average."

General Average Guarantee

An insurance company's written guarantee to the General Average Adjuster guaranteeing to pay the legally due proportion of General Average finally assessed against the Assured’s insured cargo. This guarantee is usually accepted by the Adjuster in lieu of a cash deposit and is additional security to the bond signed by the owner of the goods.

General Average Sacrifice - See "General Average."

General Average Security

Documents presented by cargo owners to a General Average Adjuster to replace the vessel owner's maritime lien on cargo for its share of General Average and to obtain release of cargo from the steamship company. GA Security consists of a GA Bond and either a cash deposit or an insurance company's Guarantee. See "Non-separation of Interest Agreement."

General Cargo

A vessel's cargo consisting of a variety of commodities shipped by one or by many merchants.

General Maritime Law

A compilation of rules, concepts, and legal practices that evolved into common law (case law) relating to the carriage of goods and passengers by water. It is administered by special courts known as Admiralty Courts. General maritime law is the seagoing equivalent of common law and is supplemented by statutory law such as the Jones Act.

Generator Set (Gen Set)

A portable electrical generator set which can be attached to a refrigerated container to power the refrigeration unit during transit or to provide emergency or temporary electrical power.

Give-Way Vessel

When meeting another vessel, the vessel that does not have the right of way under the navigational rules and must keep out of the way of the other vessel; formerly called the "burdened vessel." See "ColRegs" and "Stand-on Vessel."

GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) - See "Time Zones" Appendix C.


In the Far East, a warehouse where goods are delivered and stored.

Good Faith - See "Utmost Good Faith."


Cargo shipped by water, air, or land.

Graving Dock - See "Vessel Types" Appendix F

Gravity, Center of - See "Vessel Stability."

Gross Tonnage - See "Tonnage."

Gross Weight

1. The total weight of the cargo, its packing material, and the chassis or container or railcar.

2. For vessel weight, see "Tonnage."


A vessel striking or touching the bottom; running aground. See "Stranding."

Ground Tackle

A general term for all anchors, cables, ropes, etc. used to moor or anchor a vessel.

GRT (Gross Registered Ton ) - See "Tonnage."

Gunwale (rhymes with "funnel")

The short extension of a vessel's side above the main deck. See also "Bulwark."