If they’re DP boats with “divers down” that implies they are NOT making way? Or even underway to pick up a Pilot?? Different situation, yes?
A Captain standing on the bridge all alone on a ship inbound through the waters of a Pilot Station Boarding area, trying to manage manual steering, voice comms on handheld radios to the rest of the deck crew, engine controls, lookout duty with surrounding traffic in the boarding area, comms with the Pilot Boat coming alongside … and maybe the poor guy is a foreigner where english is a second language … even in broad daylight and everything is working perfectly … is a recipe for disaster. Common sense of any minimally educated/trained mariner will tell you, that is NOT a safe practice.
Now throw in an alarm or two, for some innocuous thing, a faulty smoke detector maybe … or something significant? A main engine control alarm? That’ll make things even more exciting, eh?
The response of “We have always done that” doesn’t hold much water these days either.
I’ve walked on the bridge on small feeder box ships and found myself standing in the dark, wondering where the Captain is (anyone, really?) while the ship is plodding along towards the sea buoy on her own. Suddenly a man jumps out from behind the curtain of the chart table and begins to speak in broken english to me. I find that situation incredible. Sadly, it’s NOT unusual.
Given the minimum manning “requirements” of various flag states, it’s no wonder we have as many accidents at sea as we do. Its about bottom line profits. The ‘Safety Management System’ of many ship operators is simply another piece of paper to file and box to check on a form. Thats all.