2. Why call the master
• The master is the owner’s
representative on board and is
responsible for the safety of
the lives on board, that of the
vessel, her cargo and the
• In general due to his qualifications and experience, he is the
most qualified person to take most decisions. In any case it is
the master who will have to explain when things go wrong –
one of the basic principles of management – No responsibility
• It is a belief amongst many officers that a matter is too trivial to
call the master or that calling the master is indicative of the
officers incapability to deal with a situation.
3. • Golden rule – If you find yourself asking – “Should I call the
master” – the time has already come to call the master.- NO
MATTER HOW TRIVIAL OR STUPID YOU THINK THE MATTER
• Please remember – you are duty bound to call the Captain if a
situation is developing. God forbid if you are involved in a casualty
– the first question that you can expect to be asked is “ Did you call
the Master ? ”
4. • It was too late, so I thought, why to disturb the
• Master has mentioned in his standing orders –
maintain CPA 2.0’, CPA was just 1.9 or 1.8 or
something like that.
• I thought……
• I was not too sure…..
• I was sure it was nothing serious –
• Captain will get angry…..
• I might make a fool of myself.
Typical explanations why master is
5. Example 1
Vessel on maiden voyage from Okpo to
Newcastle (August 1993)
3/O sees a flashing light during 2000-2400 watch
but the light is nowhere near the course of the
Radio d/f is switched on and position is plotted
(not too accurate but alternate means anyway)
V/l found to be approx 30 miles off course and
approx 90 mins from running aground on a reef.
6. Example 2
Vessel en route towards Suez Canal (April 1995)
3/O “feels” a change in the vibration of the vessel
and switches on the echo sounder (charted
depths are more than 1000m), observes trace at
20 m (ship’s draft is 17.3m)
Master and Radio officer reach the bridge and
start checking the chart, echo sounder etc.
It turned out that someone had moved the draft
knob on the echo sounder to 20m and it was
actually the zero trace that was showing at 20m.
Master retires for the night – but not before
thanking the 3/O for calling him………
8. • V/l anchored at Jinshanwei anchorage off Caojing at approx 1920
• After ensuring that v/l was brought up and holding to her anchor,
and sending some of the arrival messages, Master went down to his
cabin to change.
• At 1951, C/O called up Master and informed him that v/l was
• Master reached the bridge a few minutes later and took over the
conn, sending C/O forward immediately and starting engines to pick
up anchor and re anchor.
• V/l picked up anchor and safely re-anchored thereby avoiding a
• Had it not been for the quick thinking on the part of the C/O, there
was a very good chance that the v/l could have run aground with all
the related problems…..
10. Example 4
• V/l transitting Arabian sea Eastbound to
• Anti-piracy precautions in force.
• At 2340, Master receives a call from 3/O
saying that he thought he saw a light on
the stbd side.
• Master reaches the bridge shortly, checks
the surroundings visually, with high
powered torch and on radar.
• Nothing was detected, no suspicious
craft…BUT, what if there had been
• 3/O was commended for calling the master
without worrying about the fact that he
might look silly or anything of that sort.
11. Example 5
• V/l discharging VCM at Geelong, completed liquid discharging, commenced preparing
• Geelong is a port where the shore tanks are somewhat far off and consequently
hotgassing takes somewhat longer than normal – takes approx 90-100 mins.
• Liquid finished at 0300, Master was informed, Master requested a call when
hotgassing was completed (had finished CDI and PSC inspections the day before).
• At 0600 – C/O calls up Captain and tells “Captain, hotgassing has not gone very well,
tank pressures are zero and shore is asking for more hotgas”
• Later it was discovered during conversation with the loading master that he had
asked C/O to wake up Captain, but C/O claimed to know his job and did not require
the assistance of the Master.
• It could have been easily established from the port log about previous timings and the
fact that the manifold temperature was not rising….
• The day was saved due to good working relations between the loading master and
the terminal, otherwise consequences would not have been very pleasant.
12. Example 6
• Chemical tanker taking bunkers at Fujairah anchorage.
• Upon anchoring and commencement of bunkers/stores/provisions master retired to
• Bunkers completed in time and were 60 MT short……
• Master was NOT informed….AND
• Bunker barge was cast off……
• I am glad I was not the master
13. EXAMPLE 7 : Importance of calling the
person in charge – irrespective of
whether it is Master, C/E, C/O or 1/A/E
• Capesize bulk carrier made fast at Newport News
approx 0030 LT.
• Deballasting operations commenced almost
immediately – at 0120, both ballast pumps were
started to deballast No 6 cargo hold.
• Capacity of No 6 cargo hold – 16200 cu m, capacity
of each ballast pump – 2000 m3/hr.
• At 0600, 3/O comes on watch and finds out that No
6 still contains approx 13000-14000 cu m of water
• C/O is asleep and HAS NOT BEEN INFORMED BY
• V/L MISSED THE TIDE AND WAS DELAYED BY
24 HRS !!!!!
14. MORAL OF THE STORY
• The master gets
paid to worry
board. You will
NOT look stupid
if you call the
definitely will if
you don’t. Your
salary does not
Do NOT think.
• Nothing is too
trivial a matter
on a ship where
you could be
30 or so lives,
to mention the
cargo and the
• If in doubt “