When undertaking recent audits on vessels it became clear that many Masters’ either forgot or didn’t know the full extent of their responsibilities.
While most, and I say most Master’s know how to operate the vessel many have not kept up to date with current requirements such as keeping log books, running drills, recording inductions and training, etc.
In this day and age is critical to ensure your paperwork is up to date at all times. Should an incident occur and its not recorded in the log book or reported (reportable incidents only) then you could be in big trouble.
Section 5 of Marine Order 504 states that the Master has a responsibility for ensuring that operational requirements are being complied with. Operational requirements is not just driving the vessel it includes but is not limited to the following:
- Complying with the organisations policies
- Implementing the vessels Safety Management System (SMS)
- Following all of the operational procedures and emergency procedures
- Inducting new crew members onto the vessel and the SMS
- Undertaking regular ongoing training (drills) to ensure all crew members are competent in dealing with emergency situations
- Recording all drills appropriately
- Maintaining the vessels Log Book
- Ensuring the vessel, machinery and equipment are operated properly and well maintained
- Identifying repairs and/or maintenance that needs to be addressed
- Ensuring maintenance records are maintained and up to date at all times
- Maintaining passenger records (passenger vessels only)
- Documenting and reporting marine incidents to AMSA
Vessels Deck Log Book
This is one of areas most neglected by many Masters and it’s the one area that can cause major issues if not completed properly. Section 11 in MO504 specifies that a log book must include details of the following:
- any illness or injury of persons onboard;
- any marine incident, other incident or accident involving the vessel or its equipment;
- any assistance rendered to another vessel;
- any unusual occurrence or incident;
- all communications and messages sent or received for an emergency;
- all passenger counts conducted for the vessel;
- any operation of the vessel for recreational purposes.
So many log books we’ve reviewed fall short on so many points.
Reporting Marine Incidents
This is another area that often gets overlooked which can have serious repercussions to both the Master and vessel owner.
There are two (2) forms that should be completed as soon as is reasonably practicable following the incident and these are:
- Incident alert (Form 18)
This form alerts AMSA that there has been a marine incident and can be filled in online but must be completed and submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by the owner or master as soon as reasonably practicable* after becoming aware of the incident.
Go to Form 18 by clicking on this link: amsa-18-incident-alert-form.pdf
- Incident Report (Form 19)
This form provides all the details about the incident, vessels involved and any injuries and must be completed by the owner or Master and submitted to email@example.com within 72 hours of the incident. Go to Form 19 by clicking on this link amsa-19-incident-report-form.pdf
If you would like to find out more about marine incident reporting by clicking on the link below.
Marine incident reporting (amsa.gov.au)
Marine pollution must also be reported. Find out more about pollution reporting by clicking on this link General marine pollution reporting (amsa.gov.au)
If you employ crew, including Masters you should have your own specific requirements for your Master or Masters’ but there are legal responsibilities every Master must comply with.
The Master has the overriding authority and responsibility to make decisions with respect to safety and pollution prevention.
Note that means when operational and does not mean that the Master can make changes to policies and/or procedures without the approval of the owner. Also be aware that if changes are made they must be recorded in the appropriate manner.
Top recommendation is ensure you or your Masters’ know exactly what their responsibilities are and what’s expected of them. if you’re the Master it’s up to you to ensure you comply will all the current requirements.
If you’re a vessel owner and engage Masters’ then it is your responsibility to ensure all Masters’ know exactly what is expected of them and their requirements to ensure full compliance.
If you engage Masters’ under an agreement or contract of any kind you must ensure they are fully aware of the responsibilities and conditions in their contract. Too many Masters’ will sign a document without reading it first. Best tip is to help them out and go through it in detail with them. this can save a lot of potential problems down the road.
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