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  • Orals Reports

    The purpose of this thread is to group all the Deck Oral reports made by our members together in one place to make it easier for our members to find. In order to keep it organised please follow the below rules!

    • Do not post comments or replies to Orals reports in this thread.
    • Do state which examination level the report is for (OOW/Chief Mate/Masters/etc)
    • Only post reports for Deck Examinations in this thread
    • Please only post your own reports

    You can either post the full report here or place a link to your report on a public ally available blog or web site that you have posted it to.

    It's probably benefitial if you include the date of examination and examination centre, anything else you include is at your discretion.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

    – Mark Twain
    myBlog | @alistairuk | flickr | youtube Views and opinions expressed are those of myself and not representative of any employer or other associated party.

  • #2
    Masters (Unlimited)
    MCA Tyne
    June 2016

    The exam started on time, after introducing himself he told me to take a seat, confirmed I was there for the masters unlimited and gave me a piece of paper with a question on it (“You have an MLC Audit today what documents will you prepare for the auditor?”). Asked for my discharge book and told me to write on the sheet and disappeared for 5-10 minutes.

    When he returned he asked me about my last ship – I started going through the usual items, when I mentioned 4000 passengers he asked where would I find the passenger capacity. I mentioned Passenger Ship Safety Certificate – he wanted to know its validity and he asked what certificates do cargo ships have instead and what is their validity.

    He then went through the sheet of paper I had written on, looked at it – said he didn’t care about all the statutory certificates (I had written about 10 that I could remember) and started asking questions about what else he would want to inspect. This went on for 5 – 10 minutes and was interrupted by other questions;

    Your crew are rigging a pilot ladder, what Health & Safety Legislation applies?

    Masters Inspection of Vessel (when is it required, what is required to be inspected, where is it recorded) What temperature are fridges and freezers required to be? What are the requirements for fresh water system maintenance? (I went through all the requirements for cleaning and super-chlorination and he eventually stopped me)

    A new Chief Engineer is signing on today, you know him and have worked with him before, what do you do to sign him on? What else should he have under MLC in addition to the SEA?

    Why do you as master care about fuel onboard? (Probably because I mentioned discuss ROBs with C/E during his sign on part). What is ECA? What type of fuel does your ship burn? What sulphur content does it contain?

    How do you know if your ship is under UMS? What are the principles of a safe engineering watch? (He didn’t want actions, etc. he seemed to want where the regulations were and to do with manning levels etc. for various parts of the voyage).

    You have a new 3rd officer joining, how do you prepare him for the watch and how do you know he is competent?

    You’re on the bridge, ready to depart and port officials come on board saying you’ve submerged the load line mark – what do you do? Said I wouldn’t sail, would check if the vessel is listed, would check water density, would check draughts against onboard stability system… I eventually ran out of things to talk about and he asked me to draw the load line mark on my last ship.

    How many compartments was your last ship? What does this mean? What do you have to prevent flooding onboard (went on about Damage Control Plan, Cross Flooding System, WTD’s, Bulkhead deck, margin line, etc.) What is cross flooding? Why do passenger ships have cross flooding valves and cargo ships don’t? (I struggled on this and was kind of waffling – until he asked “What are the LSA requirements for lifeboats on a cargo and passenger ship)?

    What does the Damage Control Plan Contain?

    He then took a radar plotting sheet, put a heading line on it and a dot right at the edge of the sheet, then said you’ve come through to the bridge for a cup of tea, your new 3rd officer is on watch, you see he has just seen this target on the radar screen, what would you expect him to do that would give you confidence in him? After I had rhymed off a bunch of stuff (acquire the target, visually identify, ensure bridge team are aware of it, EBL, ARPA, etc.) he asked, What does Rule 5 say? So is he using all available means?

    What fixed fire fighting systems did your last ship have? What do you mean by drencher system?

    Tell me about the Hi-Fog System? Is it the same system in ER and Accommodation, how is it activated, what pressures does it run at, temperatures for glass bulb automatic activation, activation from fire detection system, manual activation, what is a pre-action valve?

    You get a call at 2am, OOW says there’s a hi-fog activated in a passenger cabin? I took this to mean there was a fire alarm and just went through our shipboard emergency procedures, he wrote a load of stuff down as I was explaining the different stages of response, I just kept talking and he cut me off eventually.

    Rule of Road:
    Smarty Board – Lights: Red Light – what is it, what additional lights could it show, what’s its sound signal?

    Smarty Board – Pilot Vessel – On Port Bow – what is it, what actions will you take?

    Enclosed Space Entry – Requirements for drill? You’re conducting a drill what will you do? What is a gas analyser? How does it work? What readings will it have? What is given as % and what is in ppm?

    He then gave me a laminated radar plotting sheet with 6 targets on it, told me to take a few minutes and when he came back he wanted to know all about them, he then left the room. The sheet had relative vectors and the CPA, Course and Speed of the targets was given on the sheet. When he came back, I told him what each was doing, he asked me what my actions would be and then asked what one of the other ships was required to do – I roughly quoted “not alter course towards a vessel abaft its beam” and he took the sheet away.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

    – Mark Twain
    myBlog | @alistairuk | flickr | youtube Views and opinions expressed are those of myself and not representative of any employer or other associated party.


    • #3
      Chief Mate (Unlimited)
      MCA Glasgow
      March 2013

      After being called in there was the usual discussion about fire procedures and he asked to see my CoC, Passport and Discharge Book. He spent some time discussing the company I worked for and the trading areas.

      He then told me that for the purpose of the examination I will be on a well manned, UK flagged passenger vessel, unless he states otherwise while asking the question I am to be chief officer and the master is always available.

      He then discussed my last ship which led into the first question of what is GRT? What do I understand by Displacement? What is Deadweight?

      What is residual deviation? How could you check for residual deviation? How could you remove it?

      What certificates are required under SMS? What does the ISM code mean for you onboard? I talked about being a framework for the SMS and what was in it then mentioned PMS.
      What types of job would you expect to have in your PMS system regarding the mooring deck?

      MLC 2006, what is it? Has the UK ratified it? What are some of the changes? How does it affect your contract of employment?

      You are proceeding to a dry dock, its the first time your ship has docked at this yard, what information would you expect to provide the yard / receive from the yard?

      What is the critical point? how do you minimize upthrust?

      He then said, we’ll come back to dry docking in a minute, discussed how a ro-ro ferry was in a dry dock nearby due to berthing with the stabiliser fin out. As master how would you ensure that doesn’t happen?

      Your nearing the end of the dry docking, the dock is to be flooded in 6 hours time, what would your duties as chief officer be? Would you keep the bottom plugs or let the shipyard keep them?

      How long is your ISPS certificate valid for? As SSO what drills would you want to carry out? How often? He mentioned one of the common deficiencies was to do with trading areas? What is a declaration of security? When would you expect to have to produce one?

      How long are you required to hold the records of drills and DoS for?

      TSS, what vessels are permitted in the separation zone?

      PDV crossing from port (TSS), actions?

      PDV crossing from starboard (TSS + I am CBD), actions?

      Towing Vessel – what shapes would it show if length of tow is less than 50m, what shapes would it show if length of tow is greater than 200m? What shapes would it show if it was severely restricted by its tow? At night what lights would be exhibited?

      Towing Vessel (RAM) crossing from port (TSS + I am CBD), actions?

      Buoyage: Region B: Preferred Channel to Starboard. Lights? Proceeding against direction of buoyage what side would you pass it?

      What is a safe speed? Restricted visibility, what is a safe speed? (He didn’t stop me talking so I started quoting the rule) What rule refers to this?

      Lookout reports a sound signal coming from ahead, nothing on radar, actions? What rules apply in restricted visibility?

      What does Rule 19 say regarding your actions?

      Radar plot, complete the plot, actions?

      Smarty Board: (Wanted to know, what it was, what it’s doing, day shapes, sound signal) – NUC
      – Pilot Vessel
      – Vessel Aground

      In between each of the smarty board questions he asked some other questions about what statutory certificates you’re required to carry.

      There may have been other questions but these are the only ones I can remember. It turned out it was the same examiner who had examined me for my OOW, I got one or two questions wrong but he pointed me in the direction of the answer he wanted. At the end he spent 5 – 10 minutes going over the questions he asked that I didn’t answer quite right.
      “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

      – Mark Twain
      myBlog | @alistairuk | flickr | youtube Views and opinions expressed are those of myself and not representative of any employer or other associated party.


      • #4
        Existing Posts from Elsewhere on the Forum

        Blondie Nov 2016 Crosby OOW link
        Adam7 July 2016 Southampton OOW link
        Fox June 2015 Liverpool OOW link
        “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

        – Mark Twain
        myBlog | @alistairuk | flickr | youtube Views and opinions expressed are those of myself and not representative of any employer or other associated party.


        • #5
          11th Dec 2011
          OOW, Liverpool
          Examiner: Hiliard

          This is what I can remember of the exam, I may have missed bits out, most of what I can remember is the parts when I thought it was going badly! The examiner was very fair, and threw me a lifeline on more than one occasion, it wasn't the quickest exam ever but considering he is the examiner who's got the reputation for being the most stringent, I'm very proud!

          I stayed in the nunnery (Park House Guest House) the night before, everyone who stays there passes apparently, they're very sweet and there's one nun in particular who's tiny and promised to light a candle and pray for us, which was lovely of her. We went down the road for food, there's lots of restaurants to choose from and we ended up having a really good Mexican meal, along with a couple of beers. I fell asleep easily enough but woke up at 0430 and then at 0630, and had some super-weird dreams that I really want to forget!!I spent the entire morning waiting while my two coursemates went in and came out after 30 minutes with Leggit, they said it was easy, more like a chat and half the time they weren’t sure they were being examined. I felt better hearing this from them and then my heart sank when Hiliard came out, I’d brought my books in a crate and he asked me to bring them in. He explained the fire exits, fire alarm and the muster point outside and offered me a glass of water, which I jumped at. He then had a flip through my nav work books, he had a look at my first sea phase ops workbook and didn’t bother looking at the second one (I did have half a rainforest!) then the exam began, he gave me a small model ship and told me that was my ship.

          Started out with Rule of the Road, I was so nervous, first he gave me a fishing vessel other than trawling on my port side, I took a series of compass bearings (did this in every case) and then I said I’d sound two short blasts (made the sound signal every time as well) and go to port.

          Then gave me a fishing vessel over 50 m trawling on my port side, again, said I’d go to port.

          Then I got a towing vessel less than 50m length of tow less than 200m, and I had a total brain fart and said I’d go to port. I realised almost immediately that I’d screwed up and he let me have another go at it and I said I’d stand on with caution. At this point I thought I’d failed and spent the rest of the exam wondering how I was going to tell everyone I’d failed.

          He carried on asking me questions though, he put me in a TSS and put a red can buoy in the middle of it and asked me what the light was (red, flashing any rhythm other than composite two plus one), then asked what I would do when I saw it, I said that if I saw it right ahead I’d alter to starboard and leave it on my port side.

          Still in the TSS he told me that it had a course alteration coming up, with an 18m vessel on my starboard side outside the TSS heading toward it that wasn’t impeding me at the time, but was going to start impeding, I said I’d stand on, then he said it was impeding now, and I said I’d stand on, then it got closer again and so I said I’d alter to stbd. I then wanted to beat my head on the desk as I realised I should have given 5 or more short and rapid blasts before altering. I told him I knew what I’d done wrong there and told him I would have done the 5 or more before altering, he didn’t say anything but carried on. This only served to convince me further that I had failed. He did ask me who was the give way and who was the stand on vessel in that situation, I took ages to answer but said I was the give way vessel but would expect the small vessel not to impede my passage.

          He then put an arrow on the table and told me that that was North, put a red dot to symbolise a danger in the middle of the table and an arrow to show which way the danger extended. He then gave me a west cardinal buoy and told me to put it in the right place. I put it on the west side of the danger, he asked me what the light was on it (9 quick in 15 secs, 9 very quick in 10 secs) and that was it for buoyage!

          I then got a ship one point abaft the beam on my starboard side, and I said I’d make a broad alteration of course and pass around her stern, he asked me which light I’d show the other ship, and I told him I’d show them my port light.

          He gave me the lights for a vessel aground and asked what I’d do, so I gave him the stop, take all way off, call the master, turn the echo sounder on, plot my position, plot the other vessels position and assess where the deep water was, he stopped me there and said “You’re on a paperless ship, how would you do that on ECDIS?” I told him I’d use the radar overlay, and select the ship with ARPA on the radar. He asked how I’d assess the chart, so I told him I’d increase the amount of soundings the chart was showing.

          We then went onto Restricted Vis, he asked me to tell him about going into RV, so I said reduce speed, call the Captain, turn on nav lights, start sounding the appropriate signal, get a man on the wheel, extra look outs. Then he gave me a sheet of paper with a radar plot on it showing several vessels, he told me it was in true vectors and relative trails, that there would only be one vessel that had a risk of collision and to take my time in deciding which was which and what action I would take. I started to answer but he told me to take my time so I stared at it for a couple of minutes! He also gave me a straight edge and a pair of dividers to help me work out what was going on. He said that in RV situations I wouldn’t have to worry about things too much because I’d have the Captain on the bridge but he just had to make sure I had an understanding of the rules.

          The first one had a vessel ahead of me that was causing a risk and I said I’d go to starboard (not sounding any signal), after the vessel on my starboard side that was overtaking me had gone ahead and was out of the way. He asked me what else I could do and I told him I could go to port as I was overtaking it.

          The second one had two vessels with relative trails that pointed directly at my ship, and I used the dividers and edge to try and figure out which was more of an immediate problem, there was another vessel on the stbd side which would pass astern of me. He said that there was only one option open to me and I agreed because I couldn’t alter toward a vessel abeam or abaft my beam so went to starboard. He said “Ok, but you wouldn’t make a very broad alteration and cross the other vessel would you?” I told him I’d make a trial manoeuvre first which made him immediately move on.

          Mooring fwd, what preparations I would make? I told him I’d have a briefing on the bridge first with the Captain and find out how many lines we would be using, then brief my team ensuring they had the right PPE and PPC and ensure there was power on deck by calling the engine room. On the deck I’d ensure there was adequate lighting, that the deck was clear of obstructions and debris, get the lines flaked out, grease round and warm through the winches (if necessary but I’d expect that the winches were greased as part of regular maintenance), get the heaving lines rigged so that the lines would run without catching on anything, and then position myself where I could see the quay and the deck so I could give distances off via radio.

          He asked what would I do if I couldn’t see the man on the winches from where I was so I said I’d position another competent person who could relay my hand signals to the winch man.

          What kind of stopper would I use on a polyprop mooring rope? I told him for a polyprop rope, I’d use a polyprop stopper.

          Fire in the galley, what would be the best way of fighting a deep fat fryer fire? I told him about the wet chemical extinguishers that I had on the cruise ships, he asked how it worked and I told him that it solidified over the oil and smothered it, I think he was looking for me to say “fixed system” but he left it and we carried on.

          Steering failure, I said I’d call the Captain and try switching to non-follow up, he asked me to explain how non-follow up worked so I told him about that and then he told me that the steering had failed again and the rudder had locked over to port so I said, eventually after some pushing on his part, that I’d use the emergency steering gear in the steering flats.

          He possibly asked me what I’d do in a MOB situation, but I can only remember the pain of the next question, it was like pulling teeth!-It’s a nice calm flat day in port, the Chief Officer tells you to launch the rescue boat, How would you prepare the rescue boat? I started off ok, telling him I’d muster, call in to the bridge, check everyone had the right PPE and PPC, check the condition of the boat and the gear in it. I knew I needed to check the limit switch so I said with the boat in the cradle I’d lower the wire and then heave it back up to test the limit switch, he wasn’t keen on this and I tried to re-explain what I meant, and he asked if I’d lift the boat, so I changed my answer and said I’d disconnect the wire, test the limit switch and then reconnect the boat, he seemed happier with this and told me to carry on. I then said I’d launch the boat with people in it. He gave me a funny look and said “There was an M-notice about that recently wasn’t there?” I jumped on the lifeline he had just given me and said Yes I would lower the boat to the water line without anyone in it first. He left it at that, but I think he was looking for FPDs.

          Passage planning on ECDIS I started with Appraisal, and he stopped me and said “You’ve done all that, what would you do before you start putting stuff into the ECDIS? I said I’d make sure the charts were all fully updated, and then I was stumped, he started talking about alarms and parameters, and I was still lost, I told him I’d check all the feeds going into the EDCIS were right- GPS, Gyro, Radar, speed log, AIS and then he asked what else do you need to do? I said make sure there’s power? I was utterly lost and told him I was sorry but my mind had gone blank and at that time I didn’t know. I realise now he was looking for me to clear all alarms and reset all the layers on the chart.

          Port state controller coming on what instructions will you give your crew? I told him I’d tell them to answer his questions and give him any information he asked for.

          What’s the difference between port state control and flag state control? Told him the only difference was that flag state inspected ships that were flagged by their state and port state inspected any ship that came into their port.

          He asked how I would know what they were looking for so I told him about the Paris MOU website, that I’d look on that to see what ships had been detained and for what, he asked if I’d looked at the website and I told him I had (Thank god I did just a week before!)

          He then said “Well you’ve passed” I nearly cried! He took my NoE to photo copy it and then gave some feedback, I need to look at Passage planning on ECDIS and to take my time when assessing situations- he had obviously realised how nervous I was and that my mistakes had been down to trying to answer too quickly, overall though, he said it was a good exam. He gave me my books back which I had to put down again to shake his hand and then left, thanking him profusely and in shock!


          Blog tWitterings Flickr Tumblr Faceache


          • #6

            Date: 10th March 2016
            Time: 1400 start, exam lasted 1hr.
            Examiner: S.Akthur – fill in examiner from Norwich

            I had to have a chaperone, so once she had turned up he brought me into the room, made sure I was comfortable and went through all of the formalities. He asked me about my previous experience and said that for the purpose of the exam I will be a C/O on a RORO ferry. He didn’t give much away but did prompt for an answer when it was required. It all went really fast, while also feeling like it would never end, and I may have forgotten some things…

            – You’ve been employed by a roro company and are joining a new ship as CO, what would you expect to receive before joining a ship? (SEA and information about the company, joining instructions)

            – So what’s in your SEA? I talked about payment of wages, the MN Code of Conduct, Drug and alcohol policy and Onboard Complaints Procedure

            – So if you have a complaint and it can’t be dealt with onboard, who do you escalate it to? I said the DPA and the company.

            – What if the Company can’t deal with it? I said the MCA.

            – Which part of the MCA? I didn’t know and he told me there is a MLC department in the MCA.

            – What certification do you need under MLC? MLC cert and DMLC part 1 and 2.

            – So you’ve joined the ship now, how will you know what your duties are? I said I would expect to get a full set of detailed handover notes and there to be a handover checklist in the SMS.

            – Contents of the SMS

            – Roll of C/O – Stability, safety, maintenance, PMS, crew hours..

            – Passage planning – I mentioned the Bridge Proceedures Guide and APEM, loadline zones, weather/need to ballast, security…

            – OK, so the 2nd officer has done the passage plan but doesn’t know how to put on the wheel over points, what advice will you give him? I’d advise him to look at the ships manoeuvring information which would have been put together during sea trials and get the advance, transfer and distance to wheel over point from that.

            – Planning a Drill for a totally enclosed LB? Risk assessment, crew briefing, disengage power supply and put plug in, down to embarkation level, check hooks, FPDs, check over the side, lower to the water with no-one in it first…

            – Ok so you’ve launched it safely, what about recovery? When the boats away from the ship’s side get the crew to reset and check the hooks.

            – Would you launch the boat with crew in it or put the boat down without crew and get them to go down the embarkation ladder? No, if it was a normal drill I’d launch with the crew onboard.

            – Put a piece of paper on the table and drew a box, weight 200 tonnes, 3m by 5m. Deck strength is 12t/m. He said that a shoreside crane is going to load this, can you load this weight? 200/(3×5)= 13.3t/m so no you can’t load it unless you spread the weight with dunnage, he asked if I’d done that on my previous ship, yes we did, not only to spread the weight, but to protect the deck surface as well.

            – How I would find out about deck strength? Load Density Plan.

            – Now you are loading it what do you need to take into consideration? I talked about it as if we were loading it with a ships crane, so angle of list, press up tanks, tend mooring lines, brief crew, risks assessment, secure loose items, inform everyone, take in gangway… Anything else? I drew a blank here

            – What do you need to think about when loading your RORO? Security, stability – talked about when I was on a RoRo and when loading constantly checking the stability computer.

            – What orders will you leave the 2nd officer when loading overnight? When to call me – if anything unexpected turns up, if anyone unauthorised tries to board, if the plan changes… Anything else? Errr….

            – RoRos have their doors quite low down, what if waves started coming in? Ok, yes they should call me if the weather changes – if water gets on to the cars deck its very dangerous because there’s no internal subdivision and therefore lead to FSM.

            – How do you know what you can load? IMDG DoC

            – What other documentation would you carry ? IMDG Code, cargo manifests for all and for DG…

            – How would you ensure everything was secure? I referred to the Cargo Securing Manual being the basis for lashing, but would add extra lashings if the weather was going to be bad.

            – What’s the requirement for ships to carry the cargo securing manual? Every ship that carries cargo that may need to be lashed…

            – He moved on to stability, asked me to explain an angle of loll with diagrams, so I drew the GZ curve and then a box diagram, talked about G being above M..

            – What could cause an angle of loll? I thought we were still talking about loading a RoRo so I said loading the top decks first.

            – What about at sea? If you use up too much fuel and water?

            – Well all ships use up fuel and water, what else could cause it? Ice accretion.

            – How will you deal with it? Remove ice from the high side/ballast on the low side so you make sure you don’t fall over.

            – Ok, you’re going to go to anchor now, tell me why you’d do a running moor and show me how you’d do a running moor with this model. You’d do a running moor in a river or channel where the tide/ current is going to change, or if you’re anchoring in an area where your swinging circle is restricted. Stem the tide, drop windward anchor, run on paying out cable, drop leeward anchor, pay out on that and heave in on windward cable until they’re even.

            – You’re at anchor and the 2nd officer is on watch, during the night you start to drag anchor, he can’t get the engines up and running in time and you go aground on a reef. The general alarm is sounded. What do you do? Get up to the bridge, make sure the master is up there and has the con and then go down to assess damage, get the fire party going, damage control team is I have enough crew, sound tanks…

            – What else? Sound round outside the vessel, try to establish what kind of ground we’re on and consider options for refloating if there’s no damage.

            – There is damage down aft, what else are you going to do? Assess the damage to the rudders and props, contact company and class with a view to Salvage with Lloyds open form…

            – What else? Well my main priority is the safety of the crew and the ship…

            – Ok But what else? Who would you tell? Flag, company, security message to all vessels in the area…

            – What else? You’ve got a damaged tank down aft…. I realised he was after pollution reporting and control, so nearest coastal authority by the fastest means possible, within 10 minutes, get booms out etc..

            – Finally we moved on, there was a line of buoys on the edge of the desk which I’d clocked right at the start, region A. He got me to stand up and told me the direction of buoyage and the direction of north and asked me to approach each buoy, identify what it was and which side I’d pass it on. He didn’t want the light characteristics. I was going against the direction of buoyage. I turned around a few times to look at it from the direction of buoyage to ensure I passed the lateral marks the right way, saying going with the direction of buoyage I’d leave it on my xxx side, so going against I will leave it on my other side. Isolated danger mark, port and stbd lateral marks, east and west cardianals, a preferred channel marker, (I asked if I could assume I was in the main channel – I was) and a fairway buoy.

            – Gave me a radar plotting sheet and put an arrow on to show my heading (190) He then put two magnets on different points of the outer range ring. Asked what I’d do. I said that’s scanty information I’d continue to plot. Gave me two more plots for each and told me they were 6 minute intervals and asked me to put on W, I said I needed my own ship speed, he said 6 kts. That gave me 0.6’ per interval, so 1.2’ for the full plot. I used a pencil to measure off 1.2’ on the range rings and put on W for each. One was crossing from stbd, one was overtaking me on my port quarter so I said, I shall avoid an alteration of port for a vessels fwd of my beam and avoid an alteration of course toward a vessel abeam or abaft the beam so I will make a substantial alteration of course to stbd and put the vessel ahead of me on my port bow. He asked who’s responsibility it is to take action, In restricted vis – everyones!

            – On to the smartie board – wanted to know what it was, day signal and fog signal and actions

            – VSL engaged in towing tug under 50m tow over 200m on my port side, Diamonds on both vessels, sound signal one long, two short. Said I’d stand on. It then didn’t alter for me so I said, as it’s apparent he’s not taking action I may take action, Sounded 5 short and rapid and then altered to stbd sounding 1 short. Would you go to port? No as he may still alter to stbd.

            – RAM vessel engaged in underwater operations seen from astern. Safe to pass on his port side, Balls and diamonds, one long two short. I will sound 2 short and alter to port to pass on his safe side.

            – Vessel probably over 50m aground, 2 black balls, 3 strikes on the bells, rapid ringing of the bell for 5 secs, 3 strikes on the bell and if over 100 rapid ringing of the gong in the aft part of the vessel. Stop, call the master, plot position on chart, APEM to safe water.

            He then said that the exam was now over and asked how I felt it had gone. I said I felt that my nerves had played a big part and I was disappointed in myself for not thinking of the pollution aspects of grounding sooner, especially as I’d been smashing Marpol when revising. He said I’d done very well and he thought I’d make a very good chief officer. And you have passed by the way!


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            • #7
              Ticket: Chief Mate Unlimited/Master 3000GT
              Centre: Southampton
              Date and Time: 21st December 2016 at 1400
              Examiner: Cpt A Brar
              Duration: 1 Hour including introductory talk and debrief
              Result: Pass

              ​I was invited into the exam room around 1405, Cpt Brar was very friendly and did his best to calm me down. During the introductory talk he asked me what my experience was and where I had traded, he then held out two model ships and explained that I was to answer as a Chief Mate when the larger vessel was in front of me and a Master when the smaller vessel was in front of me.
              I have decided not to write my answers in this report as I found this to be more useful during my own revision.

              What is Parametric Rolling?

              As a Master sitting in your cabin, how
              would you recognise the signs of Parametric Rolling?

              As Mate on a container ship, how would you ensure standard cargo is adequately lashed?

              What information can be found in the Cargo Securing Manual to assist you with the loading of standard container cargo?

              If the CSM gives instructions to lash cargo after loading 6 tiers, can you use less lashing on a bay loaded to 3 tiers?

              What would you take into account with regards to the oncoming voyage when instructing your officers on how the cargo should be lashed?

              If there is a discrepancy between a lashing text book provided by the Nautical Institute and your CSM/SMS, which should you follow?

              You are at sea and your vessel hits an unlit derelict, what are your actions as Mate?

              You’re now Master in the same situation, the E/R has told you the main engine is not operational, what are your actions?
              What type of message would you send with regards to GMDSS? (I should mention here that I said I could send a distress if I thought the vessel is in danger as I could always downgrade it to an urgency)

              Another vessel has come to assist you and the Master does not wish to risk leaving a vessel in distress, what are your actions?

              How would you downgrade the distress to an urgency?

              The 2nd Mate is testing the EPIRB and has accidently activated it, what are your actions?

              How would you deactivate the EPIRB?

              Do your ships always carry the manufacturer’s instructions for the EPIRBs?

              How many EPIRBs did you carry on your last ship?

              The EPIRB secured to the hydrostatic release is no longer operational, would you leave it where it is?

              As Mate, how would you check your last ship complied with MARPOL annex I?

              Do these discharge requirements apply to cargo hold bilges on container ships?

              Explain the Chief Mates duties towards safety onboard

              How can you check your company SMS meets the requirements of the ISM Code?

              A first trip cadet has joined your vessel, what would you tell him during his sign on talk with regards to MLC? The cadet is 18.

              Is the cadet entitled to overtime payment?

              If the cadet goes over his hours of rest due to an emergency, should he still log the hours?


              Overtaking situation with another PDV in open sea, risk of collision exists, actions?

              Same situation in a TSS, actions?

              Overtaking another PDV in a narrow channel, actions?

              Still in a narrow channel, placed a vessel right ahead on a reciprocal course, asked me what kind of situation this is (this wasn’t a situation we’d ever been through in the lectures or our own study, I asked if it was ok that I touched the ships then moved each vessel to their respective starboard sides of the channel explaining that rule 9 states that vessels should be as close to the starboard side of the channel as is safe, he seemed happy with that)

              Talk me through this situation with regards to ship manoeuvring (Interaction)

              (We then went back to legislation, no radar plot or buoyage)

              As Mate, how would you ensure your vessel is complying with the Anti-fouling Convention?

              Does this apply to painting the draft marks?

              At what draft mark does anti-foul start?
              What part of the IMDG Code can you find information on segregation of Dangerous Cargoes?

              Can you stow two containers of class 7 cargoes next to each other?

              How about two containers of class 3?

              How should they be segregated?

              He then said that that was the end of the exam and that I had passed. Cpt Brar is very friendly but will give nothing away during the exam, I actually thought it had gone very badly until he gave me the result! He said in the debrief that my preparation had obviously been very good and he was particularly impressed that I could reference a lot of my answers to M-Notices.
              Hope this report proves useful, best of luck to everyone!


              • #8
                OOW Unlimited
                MCA Southampton
                07/12/16, 15:30
                Exam lasted 50 minutes including brief and debreif

                1. You have joined your first vessel as a Third Mate. You are currently standing on the quayside about to board. Tell me what you expect to see.
                2. Where can you find information about your duties as a Third Mate?
                3. Your vessel is about to depart and you’ve been assigned to take charge of the forward mooring station. What will you do?
                4. Captain gives you the order to ‘Single Up’. Actions?
                5. You have a spring line on a bitt. It’s getting very tight, what will you do?
                6. How do you stopper off a mooring line?
                7. Your unmooring is complete, how will you transfer a loose line onto a drum?
                8. You have departed the port and the Captain orders you to lower the anchor. Tell me how you would do this.
                9. Now you’re on the bridge while your vessel is leaving port and transiting a narrow channel. Suddenly your vessel starts vibrating violently. What are your actions and what could be the cause of this?
                10. What is squat?
                11. Now your vessel is in open water. What are your duties on the bridge?
                12. X and S band radars. Which one is better for coastal navigation and why?
                13. What are the advantages of the S band radar?
                14. Explain the difference between ground and sea stabilisation.
                15. Which one do you use for collision avoidance and why?
                16. Tell me how you would take a celestial position fix
                17. What are the correctable errors on a sextant and how would you correct them?
                18. Read off the index error on this sextant
                19. How do you calculate a compass error by azimuth?
                20. What is amplitude?
                21. What will you do different if obtaining a compass error by amplitude?
                22. Your gyro compass has failed. Actions?
                23. Tell me the chart number and edition of this chart.
                24. Calculate the variation for the current year using the information in the compass rose.
                25. What are these and how will you use them? (pointed out a tidal diamond and the different sectors of the Bill of Portland Lighthouse)
                26. Fire alarm in the paint store. Actions?
                27. Where can you find information on the maintenance of your LSA and firefighting appliances?
                28. Your vessel is now loading dangerous goods. What publications and documentation will you consult to learn more about the hazards of dangerous goods?
                29. The IMDG category for your intended cargo is category 7. What does this mean?
                30. A crew member has been exposed to this cargo and requires medical attention. What sources of medical information are available to you?


                The examiner informed me that I was northbound and following the direction of the buoyed channel. He then gave me a model of the following buoys without topmarks. He wanted me to tell him what the buoy was, what it indicates, topmark, light and what side I would pass it on. Each buoy was shown to me one at a time.
                1. Safe Water Mark
                2. Isolated Danger Mark
                3. Emergency Wreck Marker Buoy
                4. East Cardinal Mark
                5. Preferred Channel to Port (IALA Region A)
                6. Spherical Special Mark

                COLREGS- Lights

                These were given to me on a Smartie board. The examiner only wanted me to identify the vessel. I was not asked for day shapes, sound signal in restricted visibility or my actions upon encountering
                1. PDV possibly over 50m, starboard side
                2. PDV possibly over 50m, towing, length of tow less than 200m, starboard side
                3. Trawler, less than 50m, making way, port side

                COLREGS- Situations

                The examiner put a model of a bulk carrier in front of me and told me this was my vessel and wanted my full actions in the following situations:
                1. PDV head on
                2. PDV crossing on my starboard side
                3. PDV dead ahead. I am overtaking
                4. CBD on my port side

                Restricted Visibility

                For each situation I was required to complete the radar plot, state my actions and quote the relevant part of Rule 19 I was taking action in accordance with.

                1. Single point. Told him I would not make assumptions based on scanty radar information and would require at least two more equally time spaced observations of the target
                2. Target on my port bow. Risk of collision
                3. Target on my starboard quarter. Risk of collision
                4. Target on my port quarter. Risk of collision
                5. Target dead ahead (I was dead astern of her and faster). Risk of collision
                6. Target dead ahead with same range and bearing for all three observations
                7. Target dead astern. Risk of collision
                8. Target on my starboard beam. Risk of collision


                • #9
                  Orals Report

                  Crawf121 v’s Munir
                  31st March 2017
                  45 Mins

                  I got there 15 minuets prior to the exam and had turned my phone off he walked past me and because I had stalked him on facebook I knew what he looked like and **** myself as I knew he was notorious. Because I turned off my phone I had no idea of the time but it seems like after he walked past it was around half an hour before the exam started ( I even heard him say to the secretary ‘I don’t care I’m keeping him waiting’)

                  There wasn’t really an introduction as he was clearly running late or busy so he said about fire drills and dived straight into it, the following Is as best representation as I can remember and from memory all in the correct order.

                  1. Responsibilities as an Officer in port and at sea
                  2. Setting the bridge up for departure
                  3. Steering gear
                  4. Radar set up
                  5. Arpa errors/ limitations
                  6. What would be the difference in the picture with log error (aspect)
                  7. Unlashing anchor prior to anchorage
                  8. In charge of forward anchoring party…drop the anchor for me.
                  9. Make the ship ready for sea on deck (watertights, no loose cargo, all ropes stowed, anchors home etc.)
                  10. Carisbrooke recently had 3 deaths in the same enclosed space at the same time so he asked me what I thought had happened here and why it went wrong (I mentioned complacency etc…)
                  11. Enclosed space entry procedures
                  12. Testing the atmosphere
                  13. What gases we test for and the limits
                  14. What are the four toxic gases in COSWOP
                  15. Name the solas chapters
                  16. Whats in solas V
                  17. What is IMDG tell me about it
                  18. Ship veering off course- actions (forgot to mention call the master he pushed me for this)
                  19. AIS
                  20. Under solas how often do you conduct TRAINING on the davit launched liferaft ( I didn’t know about training so I mentioned drills and I would look in solas III)
                  21. How often would I start a lifeboat engine
                  22. How often would I check the lifeboat inventory
                  23. How often would I maneuver the lifeboat on the water.

                  We then moved onto rules without me even knowing it as he likes to walk around the room while asking questions so suddenly he just put a model ship infront of me.

                  1)PDV on port side NO risk of collision. He told me the bearing is opening up, this threw me big time (I actually picked up the other model and moved it at increments of 5 degrees with him giving me a funny look until I understood that bearing was changing and no risk of collision existed)
                  2) PDV port side, risk of collision not taking action
                  3)Fishing port side, no shapes (he then asked me what shapes it would show if fishing)
                  4)Fishing vessel from port with shapes
                  5)CBD from port (can you go to port? He also wanted me to quote rule 17c)
                  6) I was now on CBD and had a PDV stbd side (if not taking action why would you? He wanted rule 8f iii)
                  7) PDV on port side and a vssl on stbd quarter overtaking (doesn’t take action what could I do? Slow down.)


                  Region B against the direction preferred channel to port take secondary channel

                  West cardinal heading south (where is the danger)

                  Lights topmarks and what way I would pass for both.

                  I got no lights, no restricted vis and no TSS rules. I think this is because I answered well on the general knowledge/ he was running out of time. Over all it was a good exam but I got more rules than a lot of other reports and wasn’t expecting rules with more than one ship at a time. He is a fair examiner and doesn’t give anything away I think however if you have a good understanding of general knowledge and where to find things out then just concentrate on Rules ETC. I spent 3 hours with Barry saddler and cant recommend him enough.

                  Good luck.


                  • #10
                    MCA OOW Oral exam report 01/03/2017
                    Aberdeen MCA office.....
                    Examiner: Shivakumar. B
                    Result: Pass
                    1505 – 1555

                    I was waiting for around 20 mins before hand and it was the most nervous 20 mins I think I have ever had. We went into the examination room and he asked to see my discharge book and my TRB Workbook. We spent about 10 minutes talking about the ships I did my cadetship on.
                    He found a 3 star sight I had done in my Workbook and he asked me explain to him how I planned the sight and how I had done it.
                    He gave me the sextant, asked me to tell him about the errors and how to correct them, asked me to tell him the reading on the arc at the moment. He took the sextant off me and put a reading ‘off the arc’ and asked me what the reading was, he was surprised and looked happy and said Mr Macleod you are right. Then he asked how I would apply this error to a reading.
                    There was a line of equipment on the table and he asked me to him through each 1, hydrometer, precision aneroid barometer. Then he asked me to move onto the magnetic compass, name the parts and run through the checks. Then take a brg of a building outside, I knew how to do it but had never actually used an azimuth ring before so I judged it as best I could and hoped he wouldn’t come over to check which he didn’t thankfully.
                    Moved onto passage planning, asked me to explain the principles. He stopped me as soon as I mentioned execution and asked me what position fixing methods I would use in coastal and ocean passage navigation. Put a chart in front of me and asked me if it was corrected, had no correction numbers in the bottom left corner so I said I would check cumulative list of NTM for the latest chart edition and all relevant corrections in last 2 years and also Annual summary of NTM for T’s & P’s in force for that chart. He was happy with this and moved on. Asked me what the tidal diamond on the chart was and asked me to explain how I would make use of it.
                    He then gave me an Admiralty Tide Tables and asked me if the times were local or UTC. He then asked about the time zone on the pages, I wasn’t sure what he was asking and I said I didn’t understand. So he asked me if I was on a passage from UK – Canada how would I adjust the ships mean time when crossing each time zone. I got this wrong!! He then asked me how I would adjust the time if crossing the international date line....I got this right so he moved on.
                    He moved onto cargo securing, how we secured the cargo on my ship? What publications could I refer to for this? Then he asked me to name some other cargo lashing codes? Bulk, grain, timber. He said this is an unlimited ticket so he expects me to know basics about other cargo lashing also. So I talked about everything I knew about grain cargo lashing and TML.
                    He moved on very quickly and asked me if I was carrying dangerous goods what publication would I consult? IMDG Code. He then asked me what I would I would find in each part of the IMDG code. He then asked me what MARPOL was and name the annexes. When I mentioned the first annex he asked what documents are required under this annex. ORB part 1 and 2, I started naming the other annexes, when I reached garbage he asked what documents are required as per annex 5. Garbage management plan and Garbage record book.
                    He gave me an HRU, asked to me to explain how it works and where would I find them on a ship. He put 2 ropes on the table, polyprop and manilla. Asked me the differences and how I would inspect and care for each rope. I mentioned manilla was used for pilot ladders so he asked me for some points on rigging pilot ladders, equipment at the pilot embarkation etc.
                    Asked me to list off known distress signals. He stopped me after about 6 and said you are OOW and you have sighted a parachute flare 2 points of your port bow. What’s your actions?
                    He cleared the table and started putting ships in front of me, told me I was a PDV in open sea and wanted my actions, who was give way, stand on and which rule applied
                    • PDV on port side
                    • PDV stbd side
                    • CBD on port side, can I alter to port? Asked me to quote the relevant part of rule 17
                    • Head on situation, what should I do and what should the other vessel do? Quote the relevant part of rule 14.
                    • Vessel overtaking me, actions?
                    • Vessel exactly 22.5 abaft my stbd beam. Actions? Quoted when a vessel is deemed to be overtaking. He then asked if the other vessel is in doubt as to the situation then what should she do?
                    I’m now following a TSS.
                    • Ferry crossing on stbd side. Can he cross? Who is give way? After I altered I was now outside the lane, can I do that? Then he asked how I would rejoin the traffic Lane.
                    • FV crossing port side, actions? Quote the relevant part of rule 10
                    • SV crossing port side but in opposite Lane and I am now CBD. Quote relevant part of rule 10 and actions.
                    As soon as I said call the master he asked what would I expect the master to do?
                    I have now encountered restricted visibility, whats my actions? He started radar plotting, the first plot I had to complete and he asked how I would know if this was a reliable plot. It was forward of Port beam, actions? Abaft port beam? On starboard beam? abaft stbd beam? Actions?

                    He moved onto buoyage, 2 buoys in front of me preferred channel to starboard region A and B. Asked to explain the difference.? North cardinal mark, isolated danger, safe water mark, stbd hand special mark. He just asked for lights and top mark.
                    Then he moved onto vessel lights, he wanted type of vessel, size of vessel, nav status, fog signal and day shape.
                    • Tow vessel <50 tow <200
                    • Tow vessel >50 town <200
                    • Tow vessel seen from ahead tow <200 or PDV possibly more than 50m
                    • Vessel aground
                    • NUC underway not making way
                    • CBD
                    • Sailing vessel
                    • Trawlers more than 50m and less than 50m
                    • Fishing vessel with outlying gear making way
                    • Pilot vessel underway
                    He gave me another pilot vessel showing masthead lights, this confused me and then he had a wee laugh and said he was trying to confuse me as he has seen this in New York and explained it was a type of mother ship that pilots use.
                    Anyway he wasn’t counting that as part of the exam and as he walked back to his seat he said Mr Macleod I am pleased to tell you that you have passed. Big sigh of relief. He kept the questions coming and stopped me mid sentence sometimes and moved on to the next question.
                    At the end he said I was answering the questions confidently, I was giving the right answers and he was happy with the answers so that’s why he was moving me on and that he hoped I wasn’t taking offence to that. He also said that I got the time zone question wrong but it would be difficult for me to understand since I didn’t serve on foreign going vessels.
                    All in all he was very fair and did a great job at putting me at ease. A very pleasant man also. Had a wee chat about my future plans and I was on my way.


                    • #11
                      OOW Unlimited
                      Date: 16/10/2018
                      Time: 15:00
                      MCA Office: Hull
                      Examiner: Cpt. A. Tyson
                      Duration : 1 hour 15 mins

                      I typed this up on my phone whilst running after my two young un's so please excuse any grammar / spelling mistakes! I have tried to remember everything that was asked however, inevitably I remember the negatives more easily than the positives. I will say that it probably felt worse than it actually was.

                      As a note on actually booking the exam there was a bit of confusion initially as Hull have only just started running Deck Orals again but for anyone interested they are currently running 4 per week on a Tuesday.

                      I arrived early as I was informed there was no onsite parking. There is however a Tesco 5 minutes walk away with a very large car park and 3 hours free parking (and a fairly well stocked booze isle for after the exam!)

                      I found the center easily enough and had to ring to be admitted. I was immediately shown to an anteroom and asked if I needed anything. I made a quick trip to the toilet and oddly enough met the examiner there. On returning to the room Cpt. Tyson took me straight through the the examination room. The room itself was quite cramped having just enough space for the two of us, a desk and a set of filing cabinets.

                      After initial introductions, Cpt. Tyson informed me that he had to fill in some paper work and asked me a few questions to check I was here for the right exam etc. I was asked for my passport but he wasn't interested in my TRB or Workbook at this stage. After this I was informed of the exam procedure and that all results for be final although he would happily discuss anything pertaining to the exam at the conclusion. I was then asked if I was ready to begin and told that for the purposes of this exam I was on a British merchant cargo vessel unless told otherwise. I was also told that if he said yes, ok, ahem or anything else I was not to take it as an indication of correct or wrong as it was just a colloquialism and that he would try not to say them.

                      1. A yellow light flashing 7 times every 15 seconds dead ahead. What is it?
                      2. What do special marks indicate?
                      3. 3 bouys were then placed in front of me along with a ship model, I was on said ship and proceeding into port: safe water mark, preferred channel to port, IALA A, and a west cardinal bouy. He wanted to know the lights and how I would pass them. Asked where I would find information on lights if I didn’t know what a bouy was.
                      4. I was then asked about my knowledge of Rule 1. I cannot stress enough how important it is to know all the pertinent points of the rules. My examiner was not looking for a word for word recitation but he did want all of the important bits. I was told at this point that he would prompt me if needed but only for the start of the exam.
                      5. Following on from this he asked about rule 3 and again wanted everything contained in it.
                      6. I was then shown a smarter board showing a power driven vessel, possibly more than 50m dead ahead. I was asked to in all cases identify the vessel and what action I would take. I informed him of the vessel type and that I would make a bold alteration to starboard to pass port to port as it was a head on situation. At this point he reminded me that he wanted a complete answer and that I needed to tell him everything I would do. I then panicky remembered to sound one short blast and monitor the situation until past and clear. I was also asked to expand on rule 14.
                      7. Fishing vessel crossing from port. Asked to expand on rules 15 and 18.
                      8. PDV crossing from port, risk of collision exists, it fails to take action. What do you do?
                      9. Vessel showing two mast head lights and both side lights seen 4 points of the starboard bow. I messed up a bit here, seems my mind was on railroads about a vessel seen in that aspect being dead ahead. Thankfully I was given a chance to redeem myself at the end.
                      10. Fishing vessel with gear extending over 150m crossing 4 points of the starboard bow with direction of gear to the port side of the fishing vessel. Again, little hiccup here as I needed to pay attention to where the fishing gear was when taking avoiding action. I will say that at this point I thought I had completely screwed up, however I decided not to give up and just power on through.
                      11. RAM vessel with obstruction on the port side. Identify and actions.
                      12. A series of grey tracks was laid down on the desk in front of me along with the ship model I had before and I was informed I was in a TSS proceeding in direction of travel. I was asked to explain everything I knew of rule 10.
                      13. In the TSS a vessel CBD dead ahead proceeding in the wrong direction of travel. Identify and actions.
                      14. A fishing vessel crossing from port. Identify and actions.
                      15. Ram vessel dead ahead, obstruction on the starboard side.
                      16. I was now informed that I was in restricted visibility and the captain had ordered me to perform manual radar plots to keep me in practice. I was given a plot showing two vessels ahead in my starboard quarter with relative vectors described. Actions.
                      17. Still in restricted visibility, you sight a vessel crossing about 3 points of my starboard bow. Actions. (As I was now in sight, rule 19 no longer applies and rule 15 does)
                      18. Still in restricted vis, a vessel shaft the beam on my starboard quarter. Actions
                      19. I was told I had just joined the vessel as a new 3rd officer. We’re preparing to leave port. Tell me everything you know about passage planning.
                      20. Cpt Tyson then pulled out a chart showing hull (can’t remember the number) and asked if I could use this chart for navigation. I checked for corrections and said no as it had not had any recent corrections. He asked what I would do. I said I could check the cumulative notice and he stopped me and asked if would like to check again when the last correction was. When I looked closely I saw that it was 1999 so I told him I would order a new chart from the local hydrographic office via the agent.
                      21. Looking at the chart, tell me what you would pay particular attention to and your route out. I talked about clearing distances, UKC, the pilot stations, lights, parallel indexing references, tidal diamonds etc. Even though this was outward bound he still wanted me to mention abort points and contingency plans and asked me two explain what they both were.
                      22. You are now preparing to leave port and are sent down to the aft mooing station to prepare to make a tug fast on the starboard quarter. Tell me all your actions between leaving the bridge and securing the tug. I started talked about risk assessments, toolbox talk, communications, PPE and heaving lines at which point he stopped me to ask if I had read the most recent guidance about heaving lines.
                      23. Explain how you would make the tug fast. He wanted to hear all about how you would use the messenger line on the drum end to heave up the tugs line between the bits, stopper it off then put the eye over one of the bits at all times keeping communication with the tug and bridge. Wanted to know what my immediate concern would be if the messenger line broke (towline is floating on the water at the aft - talked about propeller fowling) I messed up a little heat as I forgot what the messenger line was called - hand on head moment - but luckily he accepted that I knew what I meant!
                      24. You mentioned risk assessments, what is a risk assessment and how would you carry one out - talked about risk assessments in general, hazard and harm and mentioned COSWOP.
                      25. On carrying out a risk assessment with the C/O you come out with a moderate risk with moderate harm, would you carry out the job? - I said no as it needed to be lower
                      26. What other measures could you put in place? - I talked about making the job safer, finding a different way of doing the job, additional control measure, etc.
                      27. What’s the best was of mitigating the risk? - I said don’t do the job which he seemed to be happy with.
                      28. Have you read the newest guideline about working at height? What does it say?
                      29. You are to load a cargo of bauxite. You have been at anchor for a week and it has been raining heavily the whole time. You arrive in port and they want to start loading straight away because of the delay. What documentation would you expect to have received. - I talked about cargo declaration, pre stowage plans, loading plans. He stopped me here and told me that we had a cargo data sheet showing a TML. What concerns might I have. - I explained that due to the rain I would insist on the moisture content being retested before loading.
                      30. I was then asked what other concerns I might have loading bauxite. I explained that I had never loaded bauxite but told him I would look in the IMSBC and CSS code and for some absurd reason I mentioned the imdg code at which point he asked me if that would apply and why - I back-pedaled rather quickly and said that that was for packaged cargo. He then asked what the classes of cargo were under IMSBC.
                      31. I was asked what the rule of thumb was for lashings.
                      32. I was then asked about stability - what is the minimum recommended safe GM? (0.2m)- what is it for a timber ship? (0.05m)
                      33. You have developed an angle of loll, why might this have happened, what’s its effect on your stability and what is the danger
                      34. What is the formula for FWA and what is FWA?
                      35. You are on watch on the bridge and you notice the look out has fallen asleep, what are you going to do? - I talked about fitness to keep watch, calling the master and getting a new lookout. I also talked about fatigue and the concern that he may not be fit for duty for other reasons.
                      36. You are approaching the end of the 20:00-00:00 watch and the 2/0 comes up to relive you. It’s been his birthday, he arrives 20 minutes late wearing dark sunglasses and slurring his speech. What do you do? - I said I would not hand over the watch as he was impaired and that I would call the master. - he then said the the 2nd officer stops me from picking up the phone and says don’t call the master, I’m fine, I’ve just had a couple of drinks. What do you do? I said I would still insist on calling the master and not hand over the watch.
                      37. Give me all the situations you would call the master? - he stopped me after about 7
                      38. Give me all of the distress signals listed in annex 4 of the IRPCS - I was stopped after about 10
                      39. You are now on a tanker at sea and are to engage in COW. How would you discharge the washings? - I talked about discharge requirements as per marpol annex 1 although I did mention 15ppm and he said are you sure? I then said no, I’m an idiot, that’s for bilges and talked about discharge limits.
                      40. I was then asked a bit about Annex 1 but I don’t remember what exactly.
                      41. You are arriving at port and going along side port side. You are on the aft mooring station again. You are told that you will be mooring 32 what does this mean?
                      42. You are told by the captain to send out two spring lines first but the bosun says no, that’s rubbish, he’s been to this port a hundred times before and it’s always two stern lines first. What do you do? - I said I would clarify with the bridge what was exactly wanted.
                      43. He stopped me here and said that whilst you were waiting on a reply the bosun has ordered two ABs to send two stern lines, what do you do - I said I’d immediately stop the AB’s and insist on waiting for orders from the bridge.
                      44. You are back at sea, you have come off watch and are just getting ready for bed when the fire alarm goes. What do you do? - muster station, check everyone is present
                      45. The chief cook is missing, actions? - I mentioned asking about his last known where abouts
                      46. The chief cook was last seen in the galley. You are now informed that there is a fire in the galley. You are leader of the reserve team, what would you expect your actions to be?
                      47. You are told by the bridge to get two of your team ready to go in BA sets. What checks would you make?
                      48. What are the newest requirements regarding BA sets - talked about the new enhanced communication requirements
                      49. There is a problem with the emergency teams BA sets, the bridge tells you that you are now the acting emergency team. You send your team in and they report back that they can see the chief cook collapsed in front of the deep fat fryer. They also report that the deep fat fryer is the source of the fire. They say that their intention is to fight the fire first before rescuing the chief cook. What do you do? - I said that as I was not actually inside the compartment I was not best placed to decide the safest course of action but that I would call the Master for advice.
                      50. He asked how old I was and what I would personally do in the situation - I told him that my own personal priority would be to rescue the chief cook first depending on the severity of the fire, however if the fire had been burning for a considerable time it may be safer to tackle the fire first as I would be risking my own / teams lives.
                      51. At this point I was shown the power driven vessel 4 points to starboard of my bow and the fishing vessel 4 points off my starboard bow again and asked if I would like to think about my answers. I knew I had made an arse of it the first time around and was very thankful for a second shot which I got right now that I didn't have my head up my backside!

                      At this point he told me that the examination was over and he had made his decision and that I had passed. He told me that he could tell I was nervous for the first part of the exam and that even though I had messed up at the start, I had corrected myself when presented with the situation a second time and that he could tell I knew what I was doing and that it was likely down to nerves. He said that the rest of my exam went well and that my overall knowledge was very good. He highlighted the importance of knowing the rules literally inside and out and that I would need to make sure I knew them like the back of my hand when I come back for chief mates. He also told me to make sure I read up on the new guidelines for heaving lines and working at height.

                      Overall I found Cpt. Tyson a very fair and approachable examiner who did his best to put me at ease. I was nervous when starting the exam and rushed into a few answers without fully thinking things through. There were definitely a few awkward silences and a couple of idiotic mind blocks. What I will say though is that I really did think I had screwed up at the start and decided there and then that I had probably failed. Instead of giving up though I decided to power on through and do my best and I am ever so glad that I did. He really took the time at the end of the exam to talk through where I hadn’t been strong but told me that he thought I would do well at sea and not to let the negatives take away the shine of passing as overall I hadn’t killed anyone, and had done very well.

                      As a side note, it turns out that Cpt. Tyson had been part of the team from the MCA who handled the flag change for two of my previous vessels! Very thankful that I actually remembered my ship-specifics!

                      One big price of advice I can give you is if you feel something has gone horribly wrong, don’t just give up and resign yourself to hopelessness. Just keep going, try to stay confident and show that you really do know your stuff. It’s amazing what you remember when your backs against the wall!

                      I hope this helps and best of luck to all in your exams!


                      • #12
                        Below is the orals report for "The Hatchling"

                        Exam: Chief Mate's Unlimited / Master 3000
                        Date: 29th October 2018
                        Time: 14:45
                        Location: Liverpool
                        Experience: Container Ships
                        Examiner: A.Keep
                        Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
                        Result: Pass

                        I arrived 15 minutes early at the MCA Office and waited about 20 minutes before I got taken into the room by the examiner. As usual we went over what to do if the fire alarm went off and where to muster. He then asked me what sort of ships I had been on and in what capacity. He had MGN 69 in front of him and the exam started.

                        The below questions are in a rough order and some questions may be missing. He was very quick to jump into a question and would then stop me after less than a minute of me talking. Below is the list of questions he asked me - the answers would make it too long!


                        What parts of the passage plan are for the Chief Officer?
                        Loadline zones, why do they exist?
                        How thick are the lines on a loadline?
                        What is freshwater allowance measured in?
                        Loadline survey - How would you prepare?
                        Who does the survey?
                        What changes are there on the certificate after the survey?
                        What surveys are done regarding loadlines?
                        How do you test weather tight integrity of a hatch cover?
                        What's the difference between weather tight and watertight?
                        What does IALA stand for?
                        Port lateral mark region B - Describe top mark and lights - going against buoys which side do you pass it on?
                        Safe water mark - lights, top mark - describe occulting.
                        South cardinal mark - steering 080 - which side would you pass it on?
                        What are the intact stability criteria requirements?
                        Does any other vessel have a different minimum GM requirement?
                        What is GZ?
                        How is GZ calculated?
                        Loading cargo, containers: How would you find out if you can load flammable liquids next to corrosive substances?
                        What are the different separation requirements, and where can you find them?
                        How would you know if a container has DG in it?
                        What are the requirements for DG symbols?
                        What is a barometer and what does it measure?
                        What pressure do you expect to see with blue skies, low wind and small amounts of cloud?
                        Wind NE in UK - what weather do you expect?
                        Describe Polar Continental.
                        Radar plot: Vessels on starboard quarter and starboard bow - Relative vectors, no trails, clear visibility, what are your actions?
                        What are their likely courses?
                        What are the carriage requirements for radars onboard?
                        How many did you have on your last ship?
                        Difference between X & S band radars?
                        Why is a target wider on the S band?
                        Difference between ground and sea stabilised?
                        What are the different inputs into both?
                        What info does ARPA give you?
                        What inputs does ARPA need?
                        What's required for sailing with no paper charts?
                        What are the mandatory inputs into ECDIS?
                        GMDSS: What are the different sea areas?
                        Where is A4?
                        How would you know if you were allowed to operate in A3 area?
                        What are the different ways of communicating via VHF?
                        What info is transmitted in an undesignated VHF DSC?
                        How does Sat-C work?
                        What regions of Inmarsat are there?
                        What is the MCA?
                        What is the IMO?
                        What organisation is the IMO part of?
                        ISPS: Your vessel is entering a port in Yemen, What additional measures are you going to take?
                        How did your vessel comply with MARSEC level 2?
                        What ISPS certificates are required onboard?
                        How is your ship security plan made?
                        Who is responsible for the SSP?
                        What are the responsibilities of the Ship Security Officer?
                        How many SSAS buttons were there on your last ship?
                        Where were they?
                        Who is contacted when the SSAS is activated?
                        Lifeboat: Annual - What checks are done?
                        Who is present?
                        Who issues the certificate?
                        Describe how on / off load systems work?
                        Lights - 1 green light on my port side - actions?
                        Lights - Towing vessel on my port side - actions?
                        What lights would you see from astern?
                        What's a towing light?
                        Radar plot on table: Zero CPA - Restricted Vis - actions? Why?
                        Models: Vessel on beam. Almost same course but closing range - Actions?
                        Why is it crossing?
                        TSS: How should you enter?
                        How should you cross a TSS?
                        RIB on starboard side crossing TSS - Actions?
                        Why should he not impede?
                        What information is passed in a Master to Pilot and Pilot to Master exchange?
                        Models - interaction. Small ship on port bow - You are overtaking - How would the vessels act due to interaction as you overtake?

                        He finally told me I had passed and congratulated me. Mr Keep is a very fair examiner and did his best to put my nerves at ease. He asked many questions but I would barely get the chance to finish an answer before he’d move on to the next one.

                        Thank you to all of those at Fleetwood and at home for all your help and support.

                        Good luck!

                        "The Hatchling"
                        "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester.
                        "Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear." - Buzzy Trent

                        "Careers at Sea" Ambassador - Experience of General Cargo, Combo ships, Tanker, Product Carrier, Gas Carrier, Ro-Ro, Reefer Container, Anchor Handlers.


                        • #13
                          Exam: Chief Mate <3000gt
                          Date: 10/09/2019
                          Time: 15:00
                          Location: Aberdeen
                          Experience: Multi-Role ERRV’s/Fishery Patrol
                          Duration: 1 hour
                          Result: Pass

                          Questions probably not in the correct order, will try and remember as best I can.
                          Usual chat before starting the exam, had an examiner sitting behind me also assessing the guy doing my exam as he was in the process of qualifying to full examiner.

                          Started by asking me the name of the ship owner, and used this to talk about the DOC for ISM code, and asked me what I know about the ISM Code, my duties as chief officer on board.
                          I had mentioned in my answer making sure company checklists and procedures were adhered to and so he asked me for examples of checklists on board. When I mentioned checklists for bunkering he stopped me there and asked for how I would prepare for bunkering, and what I would have in place.
                          Wanted to know what info SOPEP manual contains.
                          Asked about getting vessel ready for sea, how I would go about this. How I would setup my radars.
                          Asked me for the fundamental requirements for carrying out a watch at sea.
                          Asked about pros/cons of ECDIS.
                          Moved on to cargo, asked if we carry any cargo/dangerous goods. I said no but he insisted maybe one day we might and said he was a shipper wanting to put a container on deck, what info would I need from him? He then asked me to show him how I would use the volumes of the IMDG code and find the UN number for compressed gas. I showed him the UN number and he asked me to tell him about the segregation for compressed gas.
                          Asked about cargo securing manual, what it contains. What would I do if I found defective equipment.
                          Preparations for heavy lift.
                          Wanted to know intact stability criteria, then asked about the hazards associated with grain cargoes. After this he asked for the max angle of heel of bulk carrier.
                          Difference between loll and list
                          Enclosed space entry – talk him through my actions.
                          On watch as chief officer, fire in the galley reported – actions? (not a bad question to be asked seeing as we've had one for real)
                          How does last ship meet requirements of MARPOL annex V?
                          Launching/recovery of daughter crafts (work boats), asked about maintenance of davits and how I would ensure launching/recovery is done safely
                          How would I make sure trainees/cadets are looked after on board. Asked about hours of work/rest and how these change for young seafarers.

                          He had a load of buoys and model ships on top of a cabinet at the side of the room and would pick them up and place them on the table and ask me various questions.
                          For buoys he wanted, light colour, how it flashes and what side I would pass.
                          Gave me a CBD on my port side and asked my actions.
                          Then after that he gave me various situations between different ships and asked what my actions would be, and then wanted to know fog signal for each ship. Couple of situations in TSS.
                          He asked what the fog signal 1 long 2 short was in morse and I said I couldn’t remember (didn't revise my morse code!) but saw he had a copy of code of signals at the back of the room so said I would look in there. He gave me it made me look up that it was morse for D and then asked me to tell him what it meant.
                          Gave me a couple of situations in restricted vis with the model boats but no plotting with the buttons. Asked me what my actions would be if someone came to the bridge from outside saying they had just heard a fog signal apparently forward of the beam.
                          Gave me a few lights on the smarties board and wanted to know what ship, arc of visibility of lights and from what aspect I was looking at it.