Who is the Master?

NZSCOTTY
17th September 2007, 10:16
We have an interesting case in NZ which is going to appeal. Strait Shipping (Bluebridge) ferrys' operate with a Master and a Mate/Master. The Master holds and signs on as Master in the official log book and signs over command in the deck log book to the Mate/Master. Company regulations state that the Master may take over command at any time by advising the Mate/Master.

My understanding with Toll Ferries is that there are two masters, a day and a night who sign over command in the offical log book and are in full command of the vessel during their watch period.

The arguement is over the fact that a Mate/Master did not report an incident (Refer the Telegraph Sept edition for more detail) for a period outside that which Maritime NZ felt it should have been done i.e. as soon as practicable. The counter arguement is that the Mate/master was not the master so it was not "officially" his duty to report it.

I would be interested in hearing comment as to how the ferries operate in Europe and other comments from armchair lawyers.

gdynia
17th September 2007, 10:43
Scotty

This happened in the North Sea years ago when the major oil companies wanted the supply vessels working around the clock. They introduced a position called Night Master, basically it was a Chief Officer with Boat Handling experience. Even though he signed on as a Night Master the responsibility still rested with the Master onboard and all traffic etc went thro him

jazz606
17th September 2007, 10:57
In my day when you had a 2 on 1 off leave roster the Mate/Master would be master for one tour of duty and Mate the next.

Bill Davies
17th September 2007, 11:34
In my day when you had a 2 on 1 off leave roster the Mate/Master would be master for one tour of duty and Mate the next.

That must have caused some problems as we all know once becoming Master one undergoes a very definite change in mindset. You must have been very fortunate to have a 2:1 leave ratio in the 70s. I did not see that until the early 80s. Dan Ludwig could never understand why I needed leave as my wife visited me at Whiddy island or Rotterdam every two months.

NZSCOTTY
17th September 2007, 20:20
Thanks for the initial replys and comments but views on the legality would be appreciated. Also what about all these ferries in Europe? What do they do?

Wee John
18th September 2007, 06:33
Not quite the same,but when I was sailing as 2/E on a Dover ferry we had a day C/E and a night C/E both with C/E's tickets. During an ISSM audit I was asked who took command if the C/E was incapacitated, I answered the night C/E, only to be told I was wrong. It seems the MCA do not recognise the rank of night C/E. It never happened, but the legal trap it set did bother me.

roddy
18th September 2007, 17:50
Thanks for the initial replys and comments but views on the legality would be appreciated. Also what about all these ferries in Europe? What do they do?

Asked MCA the question when oil industry started working boats 24/7.
Answer was that the Master was always the Master, however they did not expect him to work 24/7 at the rig, and that provided the Second in Command was of proven competence (not sure how one proves this but....) they would not pursue the Master should the mate get things wrong, when the Master was asleep or otherwise engaged off the bridge.
Interestingly the particular surveyor, could not get his head round the concept of the same mate berthing the vessel in port with the Master tucked up in bed, and was adamant that the Master should always oversee sailing and arrival.

Roddy

Bill Davies
18th September 2007, 18:13
Roddy,
With all due respect I think your asking the wrong people for a definitive answer. I dont think I've met anyone in the MCA in the last 10 to 15 years who has even tasted command. However, there are always general directives around to assist when given difficult questions.

Brgds

Bill

andysk
18th September 2007, 20:02
Slightly off-thread, but I seem to recall being told, not once but several times, during my time at sea in the 1970's, that there were always 4 tickets required when deep sea on a vessel of more than 1600 tons; a Master's, a Chief Engineer's, a Radio Officer's and a Cook's.

And, towards the end of my time in 1977/78, I was getting almost 1 on 1 off in a deep sea UK company due to the excess of officers and lack of ships !

Just my 2pennorth !

Cheers

Andy

NZSCOTTY
19th September 2007, 09:14
I really thought this thread would have caused some interesting debate and comment from those involved in the ferry trade. But to be fair those involved (myself included) may be too busy to make comment!

I remember when I started in ferries that I had difficulty in accepting that when the master was in bed the night master, mate/master, mate or any other name for that person could pilot/berth the ship. You soon lose that problem when you operate 24 hours a day.

I suppose I started this looking for views on the legal position as stated in the origional thread.

Bill Davies
19th September 2007, 09:56
I really thought this thread would have caused some interesting debate and comment from those involved in the ferry trade. But to be fair those involved (myself included) may be too busy to make comment!

I remember when I started in ferries that I had difficulty in accepting that when the master was in bed the night master, mate/master, mate or any other name for that person could pilot/berth the ship. You soon lose that problem when you operate 24 hours a day.

I suppose I started this looking for views on the legal position as stated in the origional thread.

Your contempories might well be too busy. But then, you have to allow for the dinosaurs like me who could not in my wildest dream share command or delegate whilst asleep. May be out of the pages of history to some but got me through 50 years the last 33 in command.

NZSCOTTY
19th September 2007, 22:22
Bill if you could run for two weeks as Master doing all the berthing and piloting involved in our Cook Strait run you really would have the title "God".

Would suggest it would be a bit dangerous for us less mortals.

dredgeman
20th September 2007, 23:58
Bill,
Try working on a Dredger 24/7 and you would soon change your mind about sharing command, you have to learn to trust others and their judjements..
We have a big thing these Days and its called ''Bridge Team Management''...

jazz606
22nd September 2007, 07:12
We actually had One on one off in Oil Rig support vessels in the late 70s although that changed to 2 on 1 off when working "overseas" Japan Asia etc. Big ships were probably different.

captainchris
25th September 2007, 17:21
On the ferries I know about, the Master was in command for berthing and un-berthing, the C/O looked after the car deck, the 3 2/O's did the watches on passage, or sometimes on the really long runs some of the 2/O's did the car deck as well.
Best regards,
Chris

NZSCOTTY
26th September 2007, 06:17
Thanks Cris but the ones I am talking about have a run of about 3.5 hours of which only about 1.5 is not in pilotage waters. The Master and Mate/Master split the 24 hrs and each have a 2nd mate to do cargo and navigation watches. All maintenance and paper work must also be completed.

captkenn
26th September 2007, 13:03
On supply ships in the early 70s when they carried Mate/Masters and worked six weeks on and three off, the Mate would go home for three weeks and the M/M would join as Mate. Then the Master would go for three and the M/M would become Master, having just spent three weeks to get used to how the ship ran. When the Mate returned, the M/M had his three weeks off.

But in any case, the time that the Mate/Master was sailing as Master he was ipso facto the Master in every way.

I acted as the Nautical Assessor in three separate cases where a Fishing Skipper who was a foreign National (and Owner) hired a British drunkard and fed him with booze just to use his ticket (Quite common in the late 80/90s) and in each case when something went wrong the drunken British Skipper lost his ticket, although it was patently obvious that he had made little or no contribution to the running of the vessel.

In the mid fifties on a Sheaf vessel running on NE Coast Agreement, we were -- at short notice -- given orders to proceed to Denmark which was then a Foreign going trip. The Master who had a 1st Mates ticket dropped to 1st Mate, and the 1st Mate went Master. They didn't change cabins or duties but that would have made no difference under the law had something gone wrong.

The only thing that changed was that they both addressed each other as 'Mr Mate' -- much to the amusement of the crew.