Subject open. BIMCO recommends that:
"The restriction `subject open' or `subject unfixed' can only apply when a vessel or a cargo is already under offer, once only, for a limited time, and the `subject open' offer must be made with the same time limit. No extension can be granted, no further negotiation can take place until the time limit has expired or until both offers have been answered."
When an owner's shipbroker offers "subject open" he is telling the charterer's agent that other negotiations are taking place for the vessel. If the charterer needs vessels urgently he may still consider fixing on these terms and may counter-offer to the owner's broker. This restriction can certainly work to the owner's benefit, especially if his shipbroker is not very ethical (see Professional ethics). The phrase is also sometimes referred to as "subject free", meaning that the shipowner, is offering the ship and an acceptance by the charterer will depend on its not being fixed with another charterer with whom negotiations are being carried out.
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