Who’s In Charge? Further Comment

31st October 2007

Who's In Charge? Further Comment

Initial Report

Report Text:

You gave the standard explanation per UK Sector of the North Sea and as the HSE regulations do not apply anywhere else, I thought the following might be interesting. [See MFB15] The comments made are personal and not necessarily those of the company.

We had exactly this problem a few years ago regarding diamond mining off Africa.

Under the relevant National Law the Mine Manager is responsible for everything. They do not differentiate between onshore and offshore.  Having canaries and helmets with safety lamps and mine rescue equipment on board was amusing.

Under International Law the Master {Northern European Flag} was responsible for everything.

It therefore appeared that the Master could go to prison for decisions made by the Mine Manager, without having any say in the matter and relations could be somewhat strained.

The compromise, which was accepted by everyone including the relevant Government was as follows:

  • When the ship is moving or anchoring – the Master is in full charge.
  • When anchored or Dynamically Positioned, the Mine Manager is in charge of mining operations BUT the safety of the ship and the personnel on board is the responsibility of the Master. The Master therefore retains effectively a veto over the Mine Manager where safety is involved.

CHIRP Comment:

The CHIRP comment in MFB15 on the report “Who’s in Charge Here” emphasised the importance of absolute clarity on lines of responsibility.  This new report illustrates how this was achieved in an operation off Africa.

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