A perfect knowledge of the Bridge Procedures Guide published by the ICS Organisation, is of paramount importance. This booklet has to be carefully read and understood by all deck officers.
Special attention has been focussed on few important points and procedures.
The officer of watch is the Master's representative, and his primary responsibility, at all times, is the safety of the ship. He is responsible for ensuring that the planned passage is properly carried out during his watch. He must at all times comply with the International Regulation for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (several times amended), Master's standing orders and Master's bridge order book.
Master's standing orders must be periodically and carefully read, and should include such matters as :
Master's bridge orders book should include instructions for:
The officer of watch is responsible for the maintenance of a continuous and alert watch and look-out, in this way he will in no circumstances leave the bridge until being properly relieved.
The Master is responsible for the safe navigation of the ship, and he has to make sure that all watchgoing navigation officers are adequately trained and fit for their duty. If not, special care has to be taken during the watch and proper training to be carried out for the familiarisation of the officer.
See BRIDGE CHECK LIST - FAMILIARISATION WITH BRIDGE EQUIPMENT
The officer of the watch continues to be responsible for the safety and navigation of the vessel despite the presence of the Master or any other officer on the bridge, until he has been taking over. This must be carried out with a clear statement by the reliever and a clear acknowledgement by the relieved.
The Master should ensure that following data are displayed and directly available on the bridge throughout the voyage:
Watchkeeping officers have to be completely familiar with navigational equipment. Operating manuals must also be regularly consulted for this purpose.
A record of defects has to be carefully performed and reported to the Master.
The Master has to ensure that maintenance is carried out according to manufacturers' instruction manuals. (See ICS, Bridge Procedures Guide, chapter 4).
Passage planning is necessary to avoid undetected errors which may have disastrous consequences.
By comparing the actual track with the predicted plan, any necessary adjustment to course can be made.
Passage planning is customary elaborated by the navigating officer (usually the second officer) and checked by the Master.
When planning a passage in restricted waters it is wise to plan for the worst possible conditions,
for instance :
The track should be planned to :
The passage plan should show :
When using radar for changing of course, targets should be :
If relevant, prepare AMVER departure telegram.
See BRIDGE CHECK LIST.
The Master and officers of the watch are always responsible for the safe navigation of the ship. In this way, the presence of a pilot with up-to-date knowledge of the area, does not relieve them of their duty and obligations.
The officer of the watch should cooperate closely with the pilot to assist him where possible and to maintain an accurate check on the ship's position and movements. If the officer of the watch becomes unsure of the pilot's actions or intentions, he should seek clarification and, if still in doubt, should inform the Master immediately and take the necessary action before the Master arrives on the bridge.
The Master should inform the pilot of the ship's characteristics using a pilot card. (See Bridge Procedures Guide, ICS, Annex I.)
This card should be completed as directly by the Master and handed to the pilot on boarding.
The Master should request information from the pilot regarding local conditions and his navigational intentions. This information should be in form to enable the Master or officer of watch to monitor the planned passage.
Prior to pilot disembarkation, the Master has to ask for all useful information from pilot station up to open sea.
The officer of the watch should bear in mind that the engine is at his disposal for assistance in manoeuvring. He should not hesitate to use it in case of need, although timely notice of an alteration of engine movements should be given when possible. Therefore a full understanding and knowledge of the main engine bridge control panels are requested. (Ref. : Makers Manual / Automation List, etc.) The officer of the watch should also be fully aware of the manoeuvring capabilities of the ship, including her stopping distance.
By proceeding to anchor, good care has to be taken to the Master's standing orders and to the ship's characteristics.
At anchor watch, the officer of the watch should :
Maintain a continuous and alert watch :
The officer of the watch should comply with the requirement for the operation an testing of the steering gear and automatic pilot contained in SOLAS 1974. Chapter 5, reg.: 19, 19-1 and 19-2.
Good care has to be taken to change over in due time from automatic steering to hand steering. The officer of the watch must not hesitate to call an helmsman on the bridge if required.
As previously mentioned, the Master must be advised of any deterioration of weather conditions.
As previously mentioned, the Master must be advised of any deterioration of sea conditions.
Study of the prevailing conditions taking into account national or local instructions, supported by
(Ref.: Arrival in port: international safety guide for oil tankers and terminals, Chapter 3)
See also: Formalities on arrival
All watch officers must be familiar with EMERGENCY PROCEDURES (Ref. : ICS. Bridge Procedures Guide, Part C) :
See also : Emergency Procedures
Position reporting is imperative to ensure a proper follow-up of vessels in the quality and safety policy of a good Company.
The Master must regularly report to the Company the position and the ETA of his vessel :