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Each officer should see his subordinates as a team of which he is the team leader. Every officer has the professional responsibility of striving to obtain the maximum performance from his team. A high-performance leader applies the following basic principles of human relations to gain respect and motivate performance:

  • He is supportive, friendly and helpful (not critical, hostile or remote).

  • He shows confidence in his subordinates, which leads both leader and subordinate to have high expectations of their performance.

  • He sees that subordinates are well-trained; whenever possible he helps them to get promoted.

  • He periodically assesses crew proficiency and coaches and assists personnel whose performance is below standard.

  • He is a leader who develops his subordinates into a working team with high group loyalty. He achieves this by using participation and other group leadership practices.

  • Two keys to becoming a high-performance leader are:
  • Recognising that information includes knowledge of opportunities to develop human resources.

  • That instruction is preferred to directing.

  • The question, 'What motivates personnel to work effectively?' is tied to job satisfaction. Designing a management strategy to enhance performance means considering the extent to which the jobs provide opportunities for meaningful achievement, recognition and advancement. Enjoyment of the work itself, as well as the existence of opportunities to assume greater responsibility are key factors related to job satisfaction. Thus, effective leadership involves motivating individuals to work cooperatively as a group.

    Leadership is essentially an interactive process that requires continuous nurturing of the followers to achieve four goals:
  • To get the group to accept and understand the limitations of the framework within which it is functioning.

  • To get the group to identify itself with the goals set by management.

  • To further the development of the individuals within the group.

  • To encourage frank communications and sharing of information relevant to the group's activities.

  • Each officer in the course of his assignment to a ship is part of two or more 'groups'. He is the leader of his watch. He is also a member of a navigation team as prescribed by company procedures under some condition of visibility and traffic. He is a member of the group of officers of the ship. In each group, one of his objectives will be to gain respect, but if he thinks of this as personal respect he will be on the wrong track. The respect sought is professional in nature. While personal respect might be sought in a number of ways (depending on the group), the means of gaining professional respect is common to all groups and is directly related to the level of professionalism with which the individual conducts his work and his personal affairs. Those who are sloppy in their work and ignorant in their conduct toward others cannot obtain the respect needed for effective leadership.

    To build an effective team from the individuals a new officer finds on his watch, the officer must:
  • Encourage a relaxed working relationship among the watch members.

  • Develop trust and confidence within the watch.

  • Identify the proper conduct of all watch routines as an important value.

  • Set clear goals for the watch members.

  • Make problem solving a group effort by encouraging suggestions from the watch.

  • Help each member develop to his full potential.

  • Encourage frank and full communications concerning the conduct of tasks facing the watch.

  • Listen to recommendations and suggestions by watch members and implement them whenever possible.

  • Encourage watch members to make decisions appropriate to their routine responsibilities.

  • These practices build motivation and result in more effective group action.

    1.9.1 Management as a team member
    Most of the above principles apply equally to the relationship between the ship's senior officers and shore management. If shore managements leadership technique is directive rather than interactive, development toward the cooperative situation essential to producing a rise in performance can not occur.

    Results of an action appear (if at all) only in monthly operations or financial reports and cannot be individually assessed.

    Results of an action appear in the form of immediate/early feedback, permitting realtime development of the most effective way of carrying out an instruction. Results of individual instructions become quickly known, often in the form of: 'The suggested procedure didn't work, but the following procedure did.'

    To increase productivity, ship owners and operators must commit themselves to long-term human resource development programs. The effort must be genuine, continuous and non-manipulative. Owners who have invested in such programs have realised substantial benefits at the expense of their competition. For example, on average, oil-bulk-ore carriers (OBO's), require approximately 112 hours to prepare to load a dry cargo after transporting a liquid cargo. Some companies have reduced this preparation period to 36 hours which nets them 31 additional earning days each year. Equally important however, is the fact that improved performance in this sector has been accompanied by significant reductions in loss ratios (including personal injury, cargo damage and hull damage).

    1.9.2 Taking over the watch
    The basic guideline for relieving the watch is to begin in sufficient time to become fully aware of the situation before offering the relieve. In the case of relieving a cargo watch in port the following steps are recommended:

  • In the cargo office, read the chief officer's cargo orders and initial them.

  • Read the deck logbook or cargo logbook, as applicable, to determine the status of the cargo program.

  • Check the predicted tides. If these are not available in the cargo office, then do the necessary calculations to determine them.

  • Check the cargo status board to verify cargo operations progress.

  • Tour the vessel, checking the condition of the gangway and moorings, tank levels in tanks filling and shut off, position of critical valves, the position and support of the cargo arms/hoses, and the water around the ship for signs of oil.

  • If the ship is loading or discharging, inspect the pumproom.

  • If the ship is loading, verify the location of the terminal emergency shut down button (if provided).

  • If the tour of the vessel indicates conditions contrary to those required by the cargo orders, or if a hazardous situation is discovered, immediately report this to the watch officer but do not relieve the watch. It is a watch officer's duty to have the watch in good order for his relief. If it is not correct, then he must make things right before expecting to be relieved.

  • If all appears to be in good order, report to the watch officer and ask him to describe the loading cargo program status as he understands it.

  • The following checklist items should be covered:
  • State of the tides.

  • Draft of the ship forward and aft.

  • The anchor(s) or moorings in use.

  • The depth of water in the berth/anchorage.

  • Marks or objects used for anchor bearings.

  • State of readiness of the main engines.

  • Bunkering operations underway.

  • Ballasting operations underway.

  • Cargo operations underway.

  • Officers and important crew members ashore.

  • Visitors on board.

  • Applicable night or cargo orders affecting the next watch.

  • Ask any questions that seem necessary to clarify points of confusion. Ask what events the watch officer expects to occur during the next four hours.

  • If all appears to be in good order, the relieving officer indicates that he is ready to relieve the watch. The watch officer then indicates that he is surrendering the watch to the relieving officer.

  • Do not relieve while topping off tanks. Offer to assist the officer who is topping off, but wait until the operation is complete before offering to relieve him.

  • After relieving the watch, make the appropriate logbook entry.

  • The pre-relieving tour of the deck is particularly important on those ships where the cargo operation is controlled from a cargo control room (CCR). On CCR ships, the watch officer should be relieved by the chief officer or pumpman every one or two hours so that he can make an inspection of the cargo deck to verify the prevailing conditions. However, conditions can change quickly when loading or discharging cargo and the relieving officer must not assume that the officer on watch is perfectly up to date.
    At sea, relieving a navigation watch properly also requires an early start. If the watch begins in confined waters, with heavy traffic density, or with the ship navigating under any watch type other than 'normal steaming watch', it is particularly important to start early.

    The following procedure is recommended:
  • Tour the deck of the ship and the accommodations prior to proceeding to the bridge; note any unsatisfactory conditions.

  • Read the night orders and initial them. (It is also a good policy to reread the standing orders at frequent intervals)
  • .
  • Read the deck logbook to review the conditions during the previous watch.

  • Read the weather report and radio notices to mariners received since previously going off watch.

  • Examine the chart for the progress made good during the previous watch and the courses set out for the impending watch.

  • Verify that the speed made good and course made good are 'reasonable'. If they are not reasonable, suspect that an error has been made and examine the navigation position closely.

  • Verify the courses and dead reckoning positions are correctly plotted.

  • Check the proper function of all navigation fixing equipment to be used during the watch; verify the ship's position using the most used navigation aid.

  • Check the heading by the master gyro compass; comparing master gyros (if two are fitted).

  • Enter the wheelhouse; if it is dark, wait for night vision adaptation before proceeding.

  • Verify the traffic situation by sight and by radar.

  • When confident that the traffic and navigation situations are fully understood, offer to relieve the watch officer.

  • If the navigation or traffic situation is contrary to the navigation orders or otherwise unacceptable, the relieving officer should indicate his concerns and advise the watch officer that he is not prepared to relieve him until the situation is remedied.

  • Do not relieve in the midst of a manoeuvre to avoid traffic; wait until the ship is again clear and back on its base course before relieving.

  • After relieving the watch, make the appropriate logbook entry.
    In both cases (cargo and navigation watches) the first priority is to continue the safe operation of the ship. This is only possible if the relieving officer fully understands the situation at hand and what is expected of him during his watch. Many cargo and navigation incidents and accidents occur shortly after the change of the watch. In most cases, the cause of these incidents is inadequate preparation by the relieving officer.
  • 1.9.3 Cargo watch organization
    A navigation or cargo watch runs best based on a formal structure. The duties of each position of the watch team must be clearly set down and clear assignments made to those duties. In the case of a cargo watch, the pumpman, deck watch officer, able seamen and ordinary seaman should each be assigned specific tasks to be performed. The watch officer's principal job is monitoring the performance of the watch. If necessary, duty assignments are rotated to provide for even workload distribution (ie. the mooring winch duties and cargo tank watch duties may be exchanged between seamen at mid watch). Where cargo activity is heavy, the chief officer and any other necessary personnel should be called to assist. At some terminals (Drift River, Alaska), the requirements for tending moorings are so extreme that extra watch personnel are assigned exclusively to that task. On modern ships with reduced manning, the Cargo Watch officer may have only himself and a seaman (loading), or pumpman (discharging), for cargo watch duties.
    The watch officer must assess the watch situation and call in time for any assistance required to adequately control the situation. If additional personnel are not available, then he must reduce the loading rate, the number of grades of cargo being handled, or stop cargo operations altogether to regain full control.

    1.9.4 Bridge watch organization
    At one time, the organization of the bridge watch for differing situations was left entirely to the discretion of the master, who might use a formal structure or ad hoc decisions to structure the watch tasks according to conditions. Most tanker operators now provide a set of required watch structures, each intended to be implemented according to the prevailing navigational situation. The master is free to enhance these structures, but cannot make fundamental changes without the approval of the owners. The basic watch arrangements are designed to provide a team structure, with each member assigned specific duties. The intent is for each team member to know exactly what is expected of him and to improve the accuracy and efficiency of the navigation work.
    The three basic watch modes are Normal Sea Watch ('normal steaming'), Modified Sea Watch and Manoeuvring Watch. An example of a set of watch organization types to be used in differing weather, navigation and traffic conditions could be:

    Normal sea watch
    In conditions of unrestricted sea room and good visibility, with no traffic having a CPA less than two miles a Normal Sea Watch is set:

  • Watch officer - conning; duties as per STCW requirements and standing orders.

  • Helmsman - maintains bridge lookout (nights), or is immediately available nearby (days).

  • Modified sea watch
    In conditions of restricted visibility, or good visibility with heavy marine traffic, or good visibility and light traffic in confined waters, a modified sea watch will be set:
  • Master - takes the con; responsible for Convention on the international regulations for preventing collisions at sea compliance, vessel course and speed, observes traffic radar, coordinates watch activities.

  • Watch officer - operates navigational radar, reports traffic with close CPA to master, prioritises targets (earliest CPA has highest priority), maintains navigation plot at each course change, navigation mark, or as directed. Operates engine control/ telegraph, maintains bell book, observes rudder indicator and tachometer for correct response. Coordinates bridge to bridge and ship-to-shore communications.

  • Helmsman - operates the ship's wheel in hand steering mode in response to master's orders.

  • Lookout - is posted as required by Convention on the International regulations for preventing collisions at sea. Maintains lookout by sight and by hearing.

  • Manoeuvring watch
    In confined waters and reduced visibility with heavy traffic or under pilotage, the manoeuvring watch will be set:
  • Master - coordinates watch activities.

  • Pilot - (with the permission of the master and as an advisor only), takes the con. Responsible for International regulations for preventing collisions at sea (Rules of the Road) compliance, vessel course and speed, observes traffic radar.

  • Watch officer - radar watch - operates navigational/traffic radar, reports traffic with close CPA to master and pilot, prioritises targets (earliest CPA has highest priority). Provides radar based navigational data to navigation watch officer. No other duties!

  • Watch officer - navigation watch - maintains navigation plot at each course change, navigation mark, or as directed. Ensures that vessel is proceeding on a safe track. Operates engine control/ telegraph, maintains bell book, observes rudder indicator and tachometer for correct response. Coordinates bridge to bridge and ship to shore communications.

  • Helmsman - operates the ship's wheel in hand steering mode in response to master's orders.

  • Lookout - is posted as required by Rules of the Road. Maintains lookout by sight and by hearing.

  • Normally, the master will indicate the kind of watch to be set, however, reduced visibility or heavy traffic may be encountered at any time. In such cases, it is up to the watch officer to call the master, advise him of the conditions and 'recommend setting watch type'. Actions necessary to set the indicated watch should be started immediately, without waiting for the master to arrive in the wheelhouse.
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