A captain's pain points in everyday operations

Ulstein Bridge Vision was introduced in 2012:

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Be nice if instead of using the VHF to call port control with the “stupid questions” (ship’s name, IMO number, last port, next port etc) it was done using some other standardized method.

Same with calling the pilots, for example the channel used for calling Singapore pilots, Have to be ready when one call ends to jump in before the next ship. At the same time while dealing with heavy traffic.


As an engineer I hate those SAM panels.

That is probably why it is not popular with Italians. :rofl:

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Why do they not already know all that? It’s not like we’re showing up unannounced. Why do they need to hear it from us over the radio?


HongKong pilots have a printout of all ship movements over a 24 hour period. Ships arriving at say 06:00 are given an order to arrive at the pilot station. Approaching the Lama Chanel ships formed an orderly queue with minimal conversation on VHF.

Seems like radio communication and annoying alarms are the biggest issues here


Not sure if it is off topic but here is my 2 years old rumbling on issue that really pissed me off after reading an article and IMO text.

If not to your liking , then flag it or delete pls.

Shipping Industry Missing Important ECDIS Upgrade (maritime-executive.com)

LETS MANAGE ALERTS ON THE BRIDGE. LETS do some bridge alert management course /training , lets issue BAM proficiency certificate and in addition let us think about bridge light switches and how to train officers and captains how to use them and issue " lights on/off bridge management certificates " -basic und advanced.

Lets develop a lengthy procedure and design a comprehensive check list and incorporate both into our SSMS( Ship safety management system manual) . We do not need to worry about the size of SMS as in electronic format only the sky is the limit.


Already in 2010 the saturation of the bridge alarm generating equipment was so high, that IMO MSC resolution was required to address the Bridge Alert Management issue.

And the heat keeps on coming. It is common knowledge and practice, that the use of cell phones or music players or other noise generating toys is prohibited as distractive.

So is the loud and growing louder symphony of " important" alarms, which equipment peddlers hail as necessary innovations, tasked with preventing maritime disasters by alerting the OOW. Strangely enough a navigator with license in accordance with STCW and ARPA certificate and a huge pile of other certificates, that occupy half of his hand luggage needs to be alerted about risk of collision.

Same fella with ECDIS generic and specific cert having state of the art working echo-sounder at hand, needs to be alerted about imminent grounding. Why does he need to be alerted about WP approach, increased density of traffic, fixing position or scores of other things. If this fella must be alarmed to perform such routine tasks, then two causes are most likely: 1) his apprehensive faculties are inadequate for the job- absent mindedness , 2) his training was not rigorous enough.

So lets alarm him about reduced visibility, heavy rolling, clouds forming, rain raining and wind blowing. Do not stop here!!! and lets alarm him about sun rising and going down, land ahead and temperature rising or falling.

If this is the way we are heading here, then why not introduce other certificates in addition to already existing and i am just spitballing here: Radar, echo-sounder, ais , vhf, gyro, autopilot, nautocon, navtex , weather facs, gps , logs, nbwas- lets make generic training cert and then type specific and add management to it- why not??? !!!

Where is this madness going and when is it going to stop and where?, May be it is time to go back to the old classics where ch/eng nd masters were whispering to owners ear what is needed to safely get the ship from A to B instead of salesman and lobbyist.



Check the expiration date on some of those old chiefs and captains. Some are past their 'best by" dates. At least as far as how best to adapt to using changing technology.

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It is often better not to reinvent the wheel. Go to eagle.org and download this.

Has anyone sailed on a ship that had ABS notation NIBS? Because that sure seems to require a “central alarm panel” where any audible can be silenced from one place(s) and where the visual indication remains to be acknowledged only at the appropriate work station. I imagine this results in a great alarm history log and multiple views of active alarms, acknowledged alarms etc. Similar to any bog standard ACCU automation system.

My point is that while this is an owners decision (at the moment) to get this notation, it looks like many of the functional requirements for such a system already exist.

Is there any appetite to make NIBS a flag or class requirement for say vessels of a certain size? Or are these features to be delivered only to operators that want them because they perceive them to be safer and mitigate hazards across the board in any risk assessment of bridge operations?


I was an AB on watch and we were on autopilot. I glanced at our track line on the screen, when all of a sudden it made an arrow straight line 45 degrees backward, then continued in a parallel track to the original.

“Uh, Mate? Mate? Can you take a look at this?”

The Mate stared at the screen and got a funny look on his face. Our ship had not deviated an inch from her course. The Mate phoned the Engine Room.

“Chief? You got anything unusual going down there?”

“Yeah. Our track line just went screwy. What are you guys doing up there?”

The Mate called IT and asked if they were messing around with anything. Nope. So the Mate and I speculated and finally came up with: we really had altered course, but during a time warp, so no one was aware of it and only the track line showed what had happened.

What the IT guys hadn’t been able to figure out (great high tech smarts, guys) was that our GPS sattelite link had had a glitch and lost the connection to our ship, causing our weird track line, and when it picked it back up the new track line came up. It was years later that a more knowlegable techie explained the matter.

P.S. We were in the Bermuda Triangle.

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VHF use is probably not many mariners biggest issue, it just that it seems relatively easily solvable, at least from a technical point of view.

The pilots, port control, VTS, the agent, the terminals and other various port authorities each want the information when and in the format that’s most convenient for them.

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The old deckie versus snipe argument. :grin: Deckies have claimed for years they really don’t need snipes and the snipes reply “without us, you ain’t going nowhere”.

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Both could not survive without the other. Reality that alot of Officers don’t want to admit to.


done in jest - good fun, done for real - plain stupid

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LOL We were getting ready for Operation Deepfreeze and they were letting the crew take 48’s. The deckies had the ship painted all pretty and white while us snipes were down below working on 30 year old equipment. THEN just a few days before getting underway, the XO (of course it was the XO) announced there would be no more 48’s. Just as we had everything working right and looking forward to a break before seven months of blood, sweat, and tears. Needless to say the EO said “Not no, but **** no”.

Alarms on the bridge coming from a cabinet somewhere but takes hours to find them…
Imo should mandate no alarm without light
But when it comes to anything technical the IMO is lost just look at ecdis

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"Be nice if instead of using the VHF to call port control with the “stupid questions” (ship’s name, IMO number, last port, next port etc) it was done using some other standardized method.

Same with calling the pilots, for example the channel used for calling Singapore pilots, Have to be ready when one call ends to jump in before the next ship. At the same time while dealing with heavy traffic."

All of this could be easily automated using Routine priority DSC messages. Could even be programmed to give an automatic response on query by port control. The system was designed decades ago to provide for just such functionality but for some reason is hardly used for anything except distress.