342. Construction of exceptions relieving the charterer.

In the past any term relieving the charterer from responsibility, being inserted for his benefit, fell to be construed against him1. But the modern practice is to construe terms in carriage contracts according to their natural meaning as would be seen by a reasonable businessperson, and it seems likely that this applies equally to clauses protective of a charterer2. Where the words are ambiguous, the meaning must be gathered from the surrounding circumstances to which the charterparty was intended to apply3. The burden of proving that the term is operative in any particular case rests on the charterer4. It