When to call ship’s master on the bridge?

When to call ship's master on the bridge?


When to call ship’s master on the bridge?

The  Master of a ship is overall responsible for the safety of the ship, crew and cargo onboard , the master is also responsible for  safe maneuvering of the ship and his decisions is final and must be followed by all.

Master On board also has the authority to take any actions if it is to protect the environment.

When to call ship's master on the bridge?

The Officer of Watch (OOW) is the in-charge of the navigation & safety of a ship

While on the watch he is consider as the representative of the master.

Every OOW the officer in charge while on watch has to take independent decisions as he is competent to do so, he must ensure a smooth navigation of the ship.

However, he must call the master immediately to the bridge in case of an emergency or when there is a doubt about a particular situation and OOW is unable to take decision.

The officer in charge of the navigational watch shall  not hesitate to take immediate action for the safety of the ship, (when there is no time to wait for the Master) where circumstances and situation requires so.

Chapter VIII- Part 3 of Section A of STCW, explains clearly when an Officer of watch must call the Master

When to call ship’s master on the bridge?

  •  If any doubt arises in  regard to the position of own vessel
    •  If for any reason the safety of courses which is laid out is tampered
    •  When sudden course is altered by other vessel  cause concern or draws immediate attention

  •      If for any reason there is a sudden passage plan change and master approval is required

  •      In case there is sudden  breakdown of:
    • Main Engine,
    • Propulsion Control system
    • Steering Gear / Machinery
    • Malfunctioning of navigational equipment

  • Alarm or Indicator suddenly becomes inoperative
    • If there is sudden fall in Engine RPM
    •  Difficulty to maintain Course
    • Sudden change in stability of the ship due to heavy or bad weather
    • Failure if Radio equipment.
When to call ship's master on the bridge?

Notify the bridge team immediately when there is a change in planned course

• Bad visibility and when OOW is not confident enough
• Failing to deduct any Navigational Mark and is encountered accidently
• Any drop in atmospheric pressure below three hPa or as instructed by the Masters in his Standing Orders.
• When the OOW is doubtful about own position.
• In case there is any kind of emergency
• When any vessel in vicinity is found in distress.
• When Sighting a ship that has suffered from collision
• If the density of traffic is causing OOW unease
• If other vessel which needs to take action as per COLREGS is not complying as per COLREGS
• In case of an unexpected encounter of landfall.

When to call ship's master on the bridge?
  • If there is any difference in CPA / TCPA  as per the Standing Orders.
  • If wind force increase beyond the limit as stated in Master’s Standing Orders.
  • When the vessel is facing bad weather and vessel is pitching heavily.
  • When OOW notices there is unsafe practices being carried out on-board.
  • If the OOW came to take over is found drunk or seems to be unfit for the watch.
  • If there is any piracy or suspicious boat is sighted
  • When there is oil spillage sighted by the OOW
  • If any danger message needs to be sent as per SOLAS Chp V.
  • Whenever there is unusual change in list or trim.
  • If own vessel is noticed to go into the “No Go Area”.

Related Article : Anchoring a Ship

When to call ship's master on the bridge?

• Important instruction received from VTS/ Port control.
• Master of the vessel marks on the chart or ECDIS at certain area by himself “Call me”.
• At Anchorage,if the OOW notice vessel is dragging anchor.
• At anchor ,the master must mentions the safe distance in his Standing Orders.
• If the OOW believes that his own vessel had a near-miss situation with other vessels or collision.
• If the cargo on the deck is suspected to be washed away due to bad weather.
• If there is difference in gyro error /Compass deviation as stated in Master standing order.
• For whatsoever reason presence of Master is required.
• Simple rule -any doubt call the master.

Why is a ships bridge dark at night?

Ships bridge is kept dark at night so as light coming out of the bridge must not confuse other vessels form the light prescribed in COLREG for all vessels.

Navigation with a pilot Embarked

The Master and OOW(officer in charge of a navigational watch) are always responsible for the safe navigation and safety of their ships at all times, while in port or when the coastal pilot is on board.

The bridge must remain well manned under a certificated officer in charge of a navigational watch.

The bridge team must supports the pilot by keeping a good lookout, assisting pilot with bridge equipment’s usage.

Related Article : Requirement of Fire wire

Master’s standing orders

The standing orders are a list of guidelines to ensure that the safe ship navigation and operations is followed sailing at sea or when ship operations is being carried out at port.

These set of guidelines by the Master of the ship consists wide aspects of navigation and rules of conduct for the navigating officers.

Master’s standing orders are to be followed at all times by the officer on duty & signed by all officer on board, signing makes them liable to adhere to the orders.

What are the duties and responsibility of a bridge look out?

A lookout person (Rating Forming Part of a Navigational Watch) is always present at the ship’s bridge who maintains a continuous watch of the sea.

His duty is to report for any kind of obstacle in the navigation and can cause harm to the ship.

According to COLREG, a lookout is required to provide officer of watch assistance in keeping bridge watch though OOW is also liable to keep lookout and does not relieve him from his obligation.

The duty of Lookout person is to report to the duty officer if he for any other ships, boats ,lights ,debris, land, Ice ,floating objects etc.

It is advice to keep lookout from bridge’s wing as lookout person will get better view of the sea, lookout is of utmost importance on ships and no other work to be given to the person who is keeping lookout.

While handing over and taking over the lookout watch the handing over watch keeper must provide all information to his reliever.

Certification of ratings forming part of a navigational / engineering watch

Certificate of proficiency as able seafarer deck

When to call ship’s master on the bridge?

What is bridge team?

Following would be the member of Bridge team:

  • Master
  • Officer of watch
  • Helmsman
  • Lookout
  • Additional officer

Related Article : Port side and Starboard side of a ship


Senior Master Mariner

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