MAIB: Officer Watched Music Videos Before Going Aground

Making light of it but it is a serious subject and being brought up in a dysfunctional family, I had similar thoughts at that age when feeling overwhelmed.
I was a DOD civilian when many young soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan were committing suicide. The most important advice in training we were given was this: Don’t apply a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Help is available.

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Two watch standers should be used at night. Otherwise the stress of boredom.

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Since we’re there – the national suicide hot line 800 273-7100 has a special section for veterans in any sort of crisis, not necessarily suicide. Press 1 as soon as it answers and you’ll be speaking to a veteran. How much practical help they can be I can’t vouch for, but that number is all over the VA.

This is another case of ignoring procedure with predictable results. From the Maritime Executive article:

Though it required an AB be assigned as a lookout at night, there was no lookout on duty, as Priscilla’s officers only used a second watchstander during conditions of restricted visibility as a matter of practice.


From the Investigation Report:

Use of mobile phones

Mobile devices such as phones and tablets, particularly where there is internet access available, can provide a useful additional source of information. However, they can equally be a significant distraction to those assigned critical safety responsibilities such as keeping lookout.

On board Priscilla, there was no restriction on the use of mobile phones and the maritime officer was able to watch music videos when on duty as OOW. At a superficial level, this could be seen as a method of staying alert when alone at night on the bridge; however, the reality is that using a mobile device for recreational purposes is a significant distraction from the critical safety task of monitoring the vessel’s position.

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Down goes your insurance policy/payout… :hot_face::hot_face:

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A transit like that is the kind where as the OICNW I’d be making sure my lookout isn’t screwing around by the coffee pot and the music is turned completely off. The only thing I want to be hearing are my VHF radios and the lookout calling things in, if applicable.

I find that them choosing to include that, as written, is odd. In my opinion they are only distractions, as phones and tablets really have no place on the bridge. Sure, I plug mine in and use it as an iPod but that is little more than plug 'n shuffle. MLL has phones on the bridge for logging in voyage data (because they are redundance-obsessed jackoffs in the office…) but even those don’t get used until more than enough folks are on the bridge to safely do so while someone responsible has the conn.

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The quote as mentioned by you is from the Investigation Report and also surprises me. I concur with what you are saying. I wouldn’t know what important information could be gotten from a phone or tablet, certainly not navigational warnings. Viewing and listening to music on the bridge is dangerous and totally unnecessary as sounds like another ship’s horn is probably not heard. A wheelhouse should be a quiet place where there is no room for disfunctional sounds.

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Times have changed unfortunately in ship design from your days at sea. I have to keep the doors closed even without music to hear myself think. The sounds outside on the wings with auxiliary diesels, fans, etc. are almost too much to bare. Hearing another ships whistle is likely not going to happen either way.

I doubt you’d hear it anyway, but if I suspect or know someone is out there then both myself and my lookout will take routine trips to the wings to listen. In my case, specifically, I would go between my radars and the wings until I was sure it was either a false echo or we were past and clear.

My music NEVER plays loudly. Sometimes it helps me to relax having it play faintly in the background, but the second things start to get busy it gets shut off completely.

For the first two weeks aboard any ship I have never been on before I like a quiet bridge so I can hear her “speak” to me (knowing and identifying what certain noises are as well as beeps/alarms and how or where to silence them.)

I sailed mostly on Shell tankers with a midship, far away from engine noises. The bridge was, that is when the wind wasn’t howling with bad weather, a whisper quiet place so I must admit I am somewhat spoiled in that respect.

I had a German chief engineer who had a combined ticket and after one trip as second mate he decided to remain in the engineering department. He was one of the few who combined a very good knowledge of theory as well as practical ability.
I went through the Pentland Firth as second mate with 27 knots rung on and 11 knots up the arse and I can assure you that music, porn or coffee was the last thing on my mind.


Things could have turned out worse. The Priscilla was refloated, repaired and subsequently returned to service. Albeit with several new crew members I would assume.

Just looking at the modern STCW requirments seems like it’s nearly impossible (or at least totally impractical) to do it in the USA anymore. I’ve heard that back in the day, the academies offered dual tracks that were not much extra work and one graduated with 3rd mate/AE unlimited. What I call regulatory entropy has eliminated that, LOL.

Thank you for this information, as few of us here would even know such a thing exists. It’s appears to be a completely differently philosophy from the ground up, almost like the US Navy does it, (an officer is an officer).

Of note, ECDIS and technology in general has made the primary function of deck officers safer and less time consuming (I doubt any will debate this). What once required considerable effort, now takes 0.02 seconds to look at some electronic gizmo (or a phone/tablet with GPS).

But on the engineering side, systems have become more complex and more confusing. Just look at the increase of procedures and operating manuals on a ship. The increase in electrical schematics. It’s become, overall, more complicated in the daily life, not simpler. The argues for more specialization, not generalization.

When a ship becomes like a car or an airplane and the pilot just hops in and pushes the start button, then the job functions of the two officers (and thus license) can be fully combined.

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I would not debate this point, but would like to point out the regulatory burden has grown exponentially and fills the gap for time consumption for most deck officers. Also, all those bells and whistles on the bridge require lots more training to operate effectively.

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Sure, more specialized etc, but with comms the way they are today the expertise is no longer needed to actually be aboard ship.

I have done trouble-shooting on the sat / internet system recently installed by following emailed step-by-step instructions. Worse case have to make a call. Tech on the other end can see what I am doing and has diagnosis ablity his side for the most all common issue.

I’m seeing more and more chiefs going for the phone early when confronted with an issue.

With the plane the flight engineer was the first to go.

Most of the chiefs work now is clerical, can be done ashore.

I’m no longer sailing under Dutch flag, but I understood the maroff courses have been split again as it never really worked?

From my own experience, graduated 2000, neither me or any of my old class mates worked in dual roles except maybe in very junior positions (2nd officer/2nd engineer on 4000 tonners).

Edit to add: things on the Dutch fleet have gone way downhill from the good old “grote handelsvaart” days with shell tankers I think! (Tho that was already ancient history when I started).

This ship had only two ABs on board, one of which was also cooking. With maintenance on deck, very regular port calls on short sea routes how could you have an AB on the bridge without going way in the red on overtime? It is bizarre that the NL authorities sign off on a minimum manning cert like that (though at least they had 3, nominally, qualified deck officers, seen quite a few with 2 on 6/6).

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Things have changed since then. I checked a number of websites of maritime training schools and most of them have indeed programs for single and dual (Marof) certifications. I will try to find out how this works out in practice, I still have some contacts.

Didn’t the report say the STCW timesheet showed the AB’s watching standing time? Maybe not showing the daywork time.