The role of the Mate's receipts issued by the Master to the shipper is to prepare the bills of lading. The Mate's receipts are returned back to the Master in exchange for the signed bills of lading. (it is advisable for the Master to have a copy of all Mate's receipts on board to be able to compare with the bills of lading presented for signature ). Obviously the description of the goods in Mate's receipts should reflect the factual cargo being loaded. Otherwise Mate's receipts can be claused before signing. The Mate's receipt is the evidence in its own right of the condition of the goods as well as when same are received.
If the bills of lading can not be prepaired by the time of vessel's departure (e.g. the cargo has not been sold yet), the Captain may be requested to authourise his agent and/or shippers to sign bills of lading on his behalf. The Master issues a letter of authorisation to the agent and/or charterer, and ensures that cargo description and the date of shipment are accurate in Mate's receips. He also ensures that the mate's receipts contain all details and remarks that the bills of lading should contain. (The letter of authorisation clearly states that the bills of lading shall be signed in accordance with mate's reeipts. ) If the charterer and/or agent refuses to sign the bills of lading in accordance with Mate's receipts (or accep the letter of authorisation), the Captain shall issue a letter of protest and inform his management.