Here the Coast Guard is trying to ask how the masters are supervised at TOTE
Mr. Kucharski: Thank you. Continuing on that, the question was asked earlier of you about oversight of the nautical operations…
just need to be clear when we asked you the question on nautical operations and who is their oversight and you said you rely on the expertise of your excellent mariners. But is there no oversight of nautical operations? Is there any supervision by a shore side personnel, of those decisions?
WIT: No. The responsibility for, in a sense that you’re referring to it, where the imminent level of expertise, accountability and authority rests is for nautical expertise and operations of that vessel is with the Master. With respect to supervision and so forth here, we have Port Engineers that are remotely located here that – in various locations around the country that report to a Director of Ship Management. You know there’s all kinds of levels of supervision in terms of support for readiness of the vessels. But that would be where my assessment of this discussion on the loose notion of how operations is referred to.
Mr. Kucharski: Are the Master’s decisions on board the vessel, are any of the personnel, are they reviewable?
WIT: The Master is in supreme control of that asset and has overriding authority for the safety of that vessel and its crew. So that is a very important element of the authorities that are vested in the Master of that ship.
Mr. Kucharski: I don’t know if I got an answer to the question. Are the decisions reviewable of the Master’s decisions?
WIT: What do you mean by reviewable?
If the ships are using too little margins on tropical cyclones is anyone in the office going to have a look at that?
The answer is no, but it made to sound as if it’s illegal for the company to keep an eye on what the masters are doing
Mr. Kucharski: You have a review – any review process you have, near misses, when you get misses at safety meetings, they come in ----
WIT: We’re talking about nautical, we were talking about nautical topical area moment ago. As opposed to a near miss which is completely different item that’s submitted from the ship as a substantive and positive element of improving safety consistent with our safety management system.
Mr. Kucharski: So would nautical not be considered in the safety management system or in a near miss reporting system?
WIT: I would view that the authority for expertise, and you were referring to the Master, that the Master has the overriding authority for the safety of his ship, for the crew. And he is the ultimate decision on board that vessel. And it’s just not my opinion, Captain. I mean this is the opinion that’s, I want to be clear about that. This isn’t Phil Greene’s opinion, this is the opinion of our long standing international treaties, regulations, protocols, regulations that are laid out as a result of those long standing treaties, protocols and laws. So that’s where I derive my view from, not just solely on my own thought.
MBI asks if they are inside the SMS to see if company polices are followed. - Again the answer is no.
Mr. Kucharski: Thank you for that. The safety management system you have audits, you make sure that the vessel crew including the Master complied with the company polices, is that correct?
WIT: Well the safety management system provides the guidance and frame work that the Master is to implement.
Mr. Kucharski: Okay. So that is not a form of making sure that they are - or oversight to make sure that they’re doing what’s in the safety management system including heavy weather preparations?
WIT: Say that again.
Mr. Kucharski: So was that not a form of oversight, the safety management system —
WIT: I think the safety management system as we’ve all discussed is an element of our safety, quality, environmental program. It’s a frame work that’s established by ISM.> It provides guidance and for the Master to implement across the fleet. Not just in one ship.