Shouldn't legal risk be treated the same a operational risk?

Doesn’t the basic concept of force majeure apply in general to all questions of legal vs operational risk?

In the COLREGS it’s written explicitly in Rule 2, good seamanship overrides strict compliance with the other maneuvering rules.

What happens when strict compliance with regulations conflicts with safety in the short run? On the margin that is, not as a underlying doctrine.

Master uses overring authority?


Yes, I hadn’t thought of that but it seems to be a good way to think about it.

Some Masters think overriding authority means that they can routinely override anything and everything they find inconvenient in the company ISM book.

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You just need to remember you will be explaining yourself to a Judge one day, that thought should cross your mind everytime you take a decision.


And the lawyers will be arguing about the Pennsylvania Rule.

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How is that different from operational risk? In both cases there is a possibility for loss. In both cases doesn’t the risk analysis work the same way? Probability, consequences, mitigation strategies; aren’t they similar in both cases?

Perhaps similar but a risk analysis to prevent anyone from making a decision and the paper work proves it. Who to blame?
A Captain making a decision when required is all about their experience and if it goes wrong you are held to task, meaning explaining your decision at the time.

Experienced captains came first, paperwork risk assessment came second for those that cant think through and make good decisions.

In my experience there is more time spent getting the paperwork correct ( passing the buck) than studying the job especially when 2 PTW’s are issued that are linked but nobody realized they are.
The smart guy in the room always trumps a paper based risk assessment.

You’t talking about formal vs informal risk assessment. Principles are the same in both cases.

99.99% of the time the assessment of risk is going to be informal but it’s really irrelevant either way.

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I reckon that depends on whats about to happen and the urgency?
Humans make risk assessments all day every day in a small way.
Once you need to get the paper out doesnt the legal risk move from the individual to nobody?

You’re right, that is an example of how legal risk and operational would be treated differently. In the case of legal risk, part of the mitigation would be to avoid putting anything in writing.

Here’s a mundane example.

You’re late for work and you’ve already been given a warning. If you’re late again the risk is you lose your job, your car and house gets repossessed and your spouse leaves you.

In practical terms most people would try to balance the two risks. Maybe don’t exceed 10 mph over to reduce both the risk of getting pulled over and of having an accident.

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Yes that an individual making a risk assessment

Move that to something on a boat, where company assets and possibly lives are at risk.

Then run that risk via the company risk assessment system

That reads more like a litany of failures to mitigate risks over a longer period than a trip to work.

How many times do you have to be late for work before you’ve earned a formal warning?

How long and why have you been living literally from paycheck to paycheck?

It reads like your life would be better without a spouse who is ready to bail.

It’s all rhetorical of course but the point is risk assessment isn’t a one-shot deal.

Yes, exactly. It’s a summary of a novella I’m working on. After publication critics will compare it to Leo Tolstoy’s greatest.

I’ll send you copy when I’m done. :upside_down_face:

Don’t know what your getting at here but the risk assessment system in the SMS is for use by the crew. For example the C/M fills out the SMS paperwork, identifying hazards and so forth. prior to any deck job.

As captain I’m not required to carry out any formal risk assessments and I never have.

Would that be “Special Military Operation and Peace?”

More like “Liberation and Peace” Ukraine needs to be freed of the yoke of political choice and the freedom to question government actions. Kind of like what the Tallahassee Taliban are gifting the citizens of Florida.

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What I was getting at was Captains making decisions on navigation, perhaps when a pilot is on board etc.

I’ve never had to explain things in front of a judge but I have been at a deposition with a company lawyer, opposing lawyer and a court reporter.

One issue was the risk assessment paperwork. It wasn’t a matter of whether the chief mate had dotted all the i’s and crossed the t’s, he hadn’t but it didn’t matter.

The question was had the C/M followed the instructions correctly for filling out the form. In that case he had so that got me off the hook.

The basic issue was did the C/M understand the company’s risk assessment procedures? The fact that the form was filled out correctly was evidence that the C/M did in fact understand the principles that underlie the procedures and the form.

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