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Just passed OOW Orals!!

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  • Just passed OOW Orals!!

    Here's a little report for anyone if you want it:

    Captain Keep, Liverpool
    Duration: 1 hour
    Result: PASS

    We drove down to the nunnery the night before the exam and stayed overnight, cramming in some last minute revision whilst we could. Decent digs and a cheeky fry up is included which went down a treat. I drove to the Coastguard Office and signed in around 10 minutes prior to my appointment time then waited patiently with my workbooks and TRB in hand. I tried to read a Seaways magazine to keep calm but it wouldn?t have anyway. Around 13:15 Captain Keep opened the door and introduced himself as the examiner. Captain Nowshad Jobair was also introduced and I was told that he would be observing the exam as he will be an examiner in the future. We entered the exam room and I handed over all of my documents including Discharge Book and passport (which I thought I left in my car!). He asked about the vessels I had worked on whilst flicking through my DB and then told me we would follow the exam syllabus.

    Have you read the exam syallabus?
    Yes, MGN 69.

    It says that you are applying for OOW Unlimited II-1. What does Class II-1 mean and where does it come from?
    STCW Code.

    And what is the STCW Code?
    Outlines the general standards for the certification of seafarers, training of seafarers and requirements for watchkeepers.

    Who made it and what do they do?
    The IMO and that they are the governing body for all things Merchant Navy (along those lines).

    What other conventions are there?
    ColRegs, MarPol, STCW, SOLAS, MLC, Loadline (with some brief explanation about all of them).

    Tell me what is contained in the Loadline Convention?
    All about stability, loadline zones, markings on vessels etc.

    What?s the distance between the summer draught marks and the deck line called?
    Summer freeboard.

    Tell me a bit about the ISM Code.
    Talked about objectives, certification, DPA etc. He asked about the DPA and if they are a requirement. Yes? Nope, turns out they?re just mandatory for UK-flagged vessels.

    Who audits and inspects the vessel?
    I said flag and port state and the company, which he agreed with.

    How old is SOLAS?
    Titanic, so about 100 years old.

    Where can I find information on LSA in SOLAS?
    SOLAS Chapter III.

    Ok let?s say you?re on a large vessel. What LSA should you carry?
    Bit of a general question but I talked about lifeboats, liferafts, lifejackets etc. I also mentioned that on my tanker we had a liferaft fwd as well as 2 aft and 2 TEMPSC. He asked why and I said something about a SOLAS regulation but I can?t really remember (100m springs to mind).

    What is the abandon ship signal and general emergency alarm as per SOLAS?
    Abandon ship given verbally by the Master and 7 short 1 long on ship?s whistle or PA for GEA.

    Alright then if you joined a vessel as third officer, you may be expected to launch a lifeboat yourself.
    Started to talk through the launching of a lifeboat on my last vessel, when I was stopped at the loading of the passengers. Wanted me to talk about bowsing tackles and tricing pennants and how they worked but I never had them on my last 2 vessels so answered as best I could. He seemed happy and I continued until I was stopped at the hydrostatic interlock part of lowering. How does it work? Gave a brief explanation and moved on.

    Now let?s talk about fire-fighting. What fixed and portable fire-fighting installations could you find in a machinery space?
    I talked about the different systems as well as the SOLAS requirements and he asked me about foam systems briefly. I continued with the fire-fighting equipment and he asked me how you would use a foam spray using AFFF concentrate. I answered that a tube sucks the foam up and it mixes with the water spray, as well as being aerated when using the foam lances on some vessels.

    But how does that work?
    It creates a vacuum in the tube as the water rushes past? I wasn?t sure what he wanted and mentioned the Venturi effect, which is what he was after.

    Where else can the Venturi effect be found or applied on vessels?
    I knew from my basic tanker experience that eductors incorporates this effect but he wasn?t too interested in this. He wanted me to mention squat (due to the movement of water under the keel) and I readied a lengthy explanation in my head about squat for the next question.

    On your tanker how do you keep the tanks from exploding?
    No squat then. Generic IG answer including different parts found in the IG system and atmosphere regulations.

    You?re the officer in charge of an entry into one of your cargo tanks. What precautions should you take?
    Another long-winded answer including RA and PtW, personnel competent and prepared, tank ventilated PPE, emergency equipment and procedures, communication and checklists.
    Let?s move on to navigational equipment shall we? What?s ARPA and how does it work?
    Spiel about systematic radar plotting aid, what it works out, limitations, inputs and performance standards.

    Ok then you?re on the Bridge and you?re carrying out pre-departure checks. What checks would you for the steering gear?
    General spiel about steering gear tests and regulations on my last vessel.

    And now you?re on a general cargo vessel. You are to load large drums of a substance on pallets. As the OOW, what preparation should you do prior to loading?
    Talked about IMDG Code, markings, emergency procedures and equipment to deal with procedures and stowage and segregation requirements.

    Let?s say you?re loading a large heavy load, such as steel coils. What is that going to do to the stability?
    Initially messed this one up. He then asked me about stiff and tender vessels.

    What?s GZ?
    Oh dear, brainfart. And after a lengthy pause: it?s the righting lever isn?t it??

    It is indeed! Now I?d like to move on to GMDSS. What is DSC?
    Digital Selective Calling. He wanted to know about how it worked so I answered with a simple explanation of it. Wasn?t too impressed with my answer, so he then wanted me to tell him how I would call up Liverpool CG on DSC. ALRS Volume 6? Nope, he just wanted MMSI.

    Let?s say you wanted to call up another vessel using DSC. How would you find out his MMSI quickly?

    And how does AIS work?
    Talked about inputs and the different types of data. He wanted me to say it worked by VHF radio signals. Hmm.

    You?re on the Bridge and someone from the galley wants to discharge food waste. Can he?
    Went into MarPol Annex V regulations and said comminuted and disinfected food waste, which I how realise was a mix-up. He didn?t pick up on it and moved on.

    You?ve been sent to the mooring station for departure. How would you care for synthetic mooring ropes?
    Don?t know why he was leading me towards mooring but I gave a nice descriptive answer for him which he was happy with.

    You?ve also got anchoring equipment down there. What anchors and shackles did you have on your last vessel?
    Two anchors at 14 tonnes each with 14 shackles port anchor and 13 shackles stbd.

    How are anchor cables marked?
    Red painted kenter joining shackle and number of links painted white based on number of shackles with additional seizing wire on the last link.

    He seemed happy and stood up, picking a little warship and a little cruise ship out of his box of tricks. RoR time!

    Does a warship have to comply with the ColRegs?
    It does indeed sir.

    Placed it on the beam of my vessel at the other side of the table. What situation is this and what are the responsibilities for each vessel?
    Crossing situation, I give way as she is on my stbd side.

    Ok then. He moved the warship closer to my ship and further back. He?s now 23 degrees abaft your beam. What situation is it and what will you do?
    It?s an overtaking situation and I should stand on in an overtaking situation (quoting Rule 13). Series of compass bearings anyway etc. etc.

    What are the actions of the OOW when approaching restricted visibility?
    Slow down to appropriate speed and standby engines, call Master, sound signals, set up radars appropriately, open Bridge windows, post extra lookouts, close WTDs, SMS checklist.

    When else would you call the Master?
    Restricted vis, as per standing orders, emergency, nav equipment not working, sighted landfall when not supposed to or not sighted when supposed to, when in doubt.

    He placed a yellow buoy on the desk in front of me with a thin black line in the middle and a south cardinal topmark. He looked at it for a little while and muttered something while he changed the buoy body. It?s now a south cardinal mark. You?re on a course of 265 degrees and you spot it ahead, what is it and what do you do?
    South cardinal mark, white light + rhythm and I would alter to port and leave to stbd side.

    Port hand lateral mark preferred channel to stbd region B. You?re heading into New York and see it ahead, actions?
    Told him about buoy and light and that I would alter to stbd and leave on port side.

    You now see a white light flashing one short followed by a long flash. What is it?
    Safe water mark.

    Tell me about a safe water mark.
    Marks safe water, red sphere topmark, white light flashing isophase, occulting, Morse Code Alfa or one long flash every 10 seconds.

    What?s isophase?
    Equal periods of flashes and darkness.

    So what are isobars?
    Equal lines of atmospheric pressure.

    What?s the UK?s mean annual pressure?
    I confidently said 1013mb, to his delight.

    You?re navigating in a TSS now. Who approves them and how would you know if it were approved?
    IMO and I would check in the Ship?s Routeing.


    PDV Over 50m on my stbd bow.
    ? What is it
    ? Responsibilities
    ? Actions

    Single red light on my stbd bow.
    ? Identify
    ? Responsibilities
    ? Actions

    RAM under 50m on my port side, open water.
    ? Identify
    ? Responsibilities
    ? Actions

    What other vessels could be RAM?
    Listed majority from Rule 3.

    Tell me about Rule 17.
    Worded it as best I could.

    • Relative Vectors, True Trails, 6 mile range
    • Target on my port beam with rel. vector pointing at me, RoC exists
    • Should not alter course towards a vessel on the beam so alteration to stbd or slow down.

    And that was it, he said ?well done, you?ve passed your examination? and signed my NOE. Best. Feeling. Ever.

  • #2
    I'm a long, LONG way away from this, but I was thrilled that I was familiar with the content of at least half of the questions!
    Thanks, and well done.


    • #3
      Thank you for the very detailed summary, makes for interesting reading!
      "Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out" ~ John Wooden

      Deck Cadet on Product Tankers.


      • #4
        Excellent report and many congratulations!


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        • #5


          • #6
            Congratulations! Wow there is a lot to learn! Cant wait to start though! thanks though as this is a great report!


            • #7
              Thanks for this and well done!
              'Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans'


              • #8
                For me this is equal parts relieving and worrying! Cheers!
                CM(U) on Superyachts
                SSTG Cadet 2015-2017
                Ex Royal Navy Navigator.