Ship Master Ashore

In this very litigious enviornment we work where the ships master will get convicted for manslaughter due to shaft generator kicking out. Do jail time for spilling oil after seeking a safe harbor and refused. More time for not knowing what is in the myraid containers aboard when one conatiner is found to contain 1-2 kilograms of drugs. Then more jail, when time did not allow getting underway while anchored but slacked anchor chain to avoid collision with a runaway barge to no avail.

Question came up if the Master is not aboard the CM must remain. Besides the rule of good seamanship where does it say in the CFR’s or anywhere the CM or Master must remain aboard if the other is not? Company policy?

I remember a Captain turning around upon berthing said, “I got you here, now get us out.” Proceeded to go ashore.

Where does the liability end? Sign off?