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Forum Home > Mates orals > Greig Wilson - Tyne Dock - K Insan (May 2012)

greig wilson
Posts: 1

Date/Time: 18th May 2012 0900hrs

Ship Types: Dive Support/Offshore Construction

Exam Centre: Tyne Dock

Surveyor: K Insan

Result: Pass


Arrived at 0845 and sat in the waiting area outside the exam office. On the hour, Insan appeared from the office and invited me in. He went through the usual stuff like what to do if the fire alarm goes off etc.

He then took my discharge book and checked my ID. He did not look at the type of ships I had been on but instead just asked me to tell him what I had been on. He said that the exam would take place based on my last ship unless otherwise stated.

He then asked how many times I had sat the orals before and what I had failed on the last time. When I told him that I was weak on the Rules last time he said we would be doing a lot of them. Oh great!


The exam started by him asking me to describe what I would be looking for when joining a vessel as a new Chief Officer. This took up about half an hour of the exam as it lead on to other topics and covered a lot of the syllabus. I started by saying that I would expect to present my ID at the port gate and the gangway as required by ISPS then I would be looking at the outside of the ship to get an indication of the condition it was in and whether it was well maintained. I then went on about the gangway and the condition of it as well as the angle of 30 degrees that it should not exceed. I stated that COSWP has information on this. I mentioned that it should be 5 yearly test for its maximum working load.

Then I said that I would expect to receive a safety induction and be given a tour of the vessel. He stopped me and asked me about lifeboats and what I would be looking at there. I stated that we had 100% capacity either side and that I would be looking to see that the lifeboats had suitable Fall Prevention Devices. I described the hooks and the FPD pins that we use. He then asked what testing would take place of the lifeboats. I went through the fact that it is in the planned maintenance system and therefor periodical inspection is carried out then told him in detail about the annual tests and 5 yearly overload tests. He then went to life rafts and I again told him that we had 100% capacity per side. He specifically wanted to know how I would know if they were legitimate and the only thing I could come up with was that they would have a wheel mark stamped on them to confirm that they are Solas approved. He asked if that meant they were IMO approved and I said yes as Solas was an IMO convention.

Back to the handover topics and I started by saying that I would hope to have a reasonable length of time for a handover and the main things that I would check would be the certificates and see if there were any surveys due. I also mentioned any conditions of class that may be in force. He said nothing to this and I continued down the line of garbage management plan, garbage record book and ballast water management plan. He straight away asked what sections D1 and D2 were. I told him this and that we conformed to the convention on my previous vessels but the UK currently hasn’t ratified the convention.

The next thing I mentioned was the cargo securing manual and he dug deep on this until I said that I would check that the front had been stamped by class.

He asked me about the sewage criteria and after telling him this I said that it was in marpol and there was a quick guide in the COSWP. I briefly mentioned the oil record book but he didn’t ask any detail on this.

Again, he didn’t want much on LOLER and after I had told him that it was all covered by our planned maintenance system and that there were annual thorough examinations as well as a 5 yearly proof load test he moved on.

The last part of certification and records that I mentioned was hours of work and rest. I mentioned the ILO regulations and the new amendments that allow for it to be broken down into 3 periods but not for longer than 2 weeks. He wanted the criteria for under 18s and I ran out of things to say here. I just mentioned about how they should have 2 consecutive days off per week and that ILO 180 covered it as well as COSWP.

He said anything else in a handover that you would want to know and I said that I would like to be shown the planned maintenance system he then immediately asked if the fresh water tanks would be included in planned maintenance. I told him that we inspected them annually and we super chlorinated them. He asked for the criteria and just said that there were ILO regulations on this from where he moved on.

He asked for how I would plan and conduct an enclosed space entry for the fresh water tank inspection. I went through everything from risk assessment, permit to work, toolbox talk and then the safety equipment and measures for recovering a casualty. He really just wanted to know that you would do it safely and once he heard EEBD and O2 analysers he was happy.

He moved on to emergency situations and gave me the scenario of a burst hose on deck while bunkering. He was looking for making sure the emergency stop was activated and mustering the emergency team to contain the spill on deck. I went into more detail about subsequent actions but again after I’d mentioned SOPEP he was off on a different route.

Next he said that I was on duty as navigation officer. The electrician wants to change a lamp on the mast head lights. What considerations would you have? I again started with risk assessment, PTW and toolbox talk. I told him how a job like this would be done in my company and he seemed happy enough. I told him that the Radar scanners may be required to be isolated and that whether or not the work could take place would depend on various factors including the weather and the traffic density. He asked for anything else and I couldn’t think what I had missed. He asked where the funnel was? I said down aft then it twigged that he didn’t have any idea what the boat I was talking about looked like. I just said that on a ship where the mast is near the funnel then flue gas could be an issue to someone working aloft.

He then said that the master died on board 3 days from port. What would be my actions. I mentioned that I would assume command and inform the company and nearest coastal state. I would inform the port of arrival for port health reasons. I said that I would make a record of the death in the relevant section of the official logbook and would conduct an investigation without disrupting evidence if possible. As we were 3 days from port I would have the body put in the freezer.

This appeared to be an unlucky boat because he then went into a crew man being injured and requiring a helicopter medevac. I just went from risk assessment to checking the area was free from obstruction and making sure everybody was briefed. He still wasn’t getting that my ships have a forward accommodation with helideck and wanted the headings that I would want for the helicopter transfer to take place. I told him the pilot would like to fly into the wind as much as possible and he moved on. He wanted the highline transfer method explained which was fine.

This lead on to the definition of sea Area A2 and what equipment would a vessel carry there. Once I had told him a list of GMDSS equipment and mentioned EPIRB he asked what I would do if my EPIRB had been accidentally activated. I just went with not turning it off until told to do so and reporting it to the nearest coast state, company and flag state that it is registered to.

He asked what my actions would be if I received a distress on MF. I just said that I would expect the nearest coastal station to respond but if not then I would relay the message on 2187.5 and contact the distress vessel verbally on 2182. He said there was still no reply from either so I said I would try the 4khz frequency and proceed to the distress vessel.

This moved onto search patterns and which type to use. It was really a discussion about datums and when I started mentioning IAMSAR volume III he wanted top know my preferred search pattern for a person missing from the vessel for about 3 hours. I just went with a parallel track using the assistance of other vessels.



He first gave me an east cardinal with no top mark. There was a compass rose on the desk and he asked what I saw in front of me. I went in too quick and said that it was a west cardinal and gave him the whole lot including the action I would take. Then I realised that it was an east cardinal. I thought I’d blown it but he carried on and asked what I would do now that I had corrected myself. It was an east cardinal and I was heading east so I told him that I would stop the vessel, call the master, check the chart and if possible the ship would be brought out of the danger the way it came into it.

He then asked me to navigate through a set of buoys. Again I was heading east and against the buoyage. It was region B and I got an isolated danger, preferred channel to starboard, starboard hand lateral mark, starboard hand special mark, south cardinal and a safe water mark. He wanted the type, the light and the action.


As the barograph was on the same table as the buoys he then asked how it could help me to detect a TRS and specifically tell him how I would know the path of it. I told him of the increasing pressure drop and what you would see on the barograph. He wanted buys ballots law as when I mentioned that the mariners handbook tells you that if you face the wind then the storm would lie to your right in the northern hemisphere he moved on. He asked what action I would take to get out of the dangerous semicircle in the northern hemisphere. I was taking too long for him obviously and he asked if I would like to draw it. Once I had done this I had the answer straight away. I would recommend if anyone gets stuck on anything like that, then don’t panic and give him some made up rubbish but ask to draw it.

While we were on weather he asked what I could tell him about the Stevenson’s screen and how it could help me predict fog. I had gave him the brief outline of how Mason’s Hygrometer could be used to get the dewpoint and using the table in the mariners handbook we could predict the on sought of fog.

Next was anchoring in a narrow channel. He asked for a running moor using two of the smarties from the smarty board as anchors. I first told him that I would avoid anchoring in a narrow channel as rule 9 states. But if I had to then my preferred method would be the running moor as it gives good control. He put the current from the bow and the wind on the starboard beam. I started from the top with risk assessment, company SMS and anchor party toolbox talk then told him the actual order of anchoring. He asked about transvers thrust if the engine was used astern whilst conducting the moor. He just wanted the standard single screw right handed prop answer.

The next scenario was what to do if the anchor chain was bunched up in the chain locker. I said drop the other anchor. He said that one’s stuck too. I said go back out to sea and request tug assistance for an escort into port. He was pushing me to making a decision about putting people in the chain locker. I said the option of putting people into a chain locker would depend on the design and space available in the locker. I said that in my view I would not put anybody inside at sea and the work would be conducted alongside where a full enclosed space entry procedure would be conducted. He just said yes so probably not a good idea to put anybody in. He asked me to tell him about the bitter end and how it was released.

The last thing before the rules was securing and preparing the forward end of the vessel when expecting heavy weather. Not much time was spent on this and after mentioning sealing over the spurling pipe he moved on.


Radar plotting.

The first two he gave me were using smarties from the smarty board. He placed one down and I said that I would commence systematic plotting. He then put another down and I said complete the plot. Once the third one was down I said that it was parts ‘O’ to ‘A’ and I would need to plot ‘W’. He told me to place it in the correct place if I was faster than the target vessel.

The plot was as follows;

O ‘o’


O ’a’

O ‘w’



After explaining the all parts of the plot he asked me to move ‘W’ to where it would be if the target was a fixed object such as a buoy.

O ‘o’


O ‘a & w’



He then gave me a plotting sheet and drew the original overtaking scenario on it. He asked me what I would want as a reasonable CPA in restricted visibility. I said two nautical miles. He asked me to just draw on the alteration of course required to have a CPA of two miles. I did this and nearly transferred the wrong line. He saw me doing this and said to take my time. As soon as I finished he took the sheet away and said good. I also told him that under rule 19 I could have overtaken the vessel to port of starboard.


ROR Situations

Open water;


Sailing Vessel (Head on)


Power Driven Vessel

He wanted the wind considerations.


Sailing Vessel (On my starboard bow)


Power Driven Vessel



CBD (On my port bow)


Power Driven Vessel


Narrow channel;


Fishing Vessel (Following the channel on my starboard bow)


Power Driven Vessel (Crossing the channel)



Sailing Vessel (Following channel ahead of me)


Power Driven Vessel

I told him that I would overtake it.


Traffic Separation Scheme;


Sailing Vessel (On my starboard bow about to cross)


Power Driven Vessel (Navigating within the lane)



CBD (On my port bow about to cross)


PDV (Navigating within the lane)



NUC (On my starboard bow about to cross)


CBD (Navigating within the lane)


He asked me what was wrong with the NUC vessel that he gave me. I said that the two black balls were on the foremast but I could see he was looking for something else. I said that there should be a space between the two shapes and he was fine with that.


Lights and Shapes

He had four smarty boards set out and told me to take my time and if any of the lights he showed me could mean more than one thing then to tell him both. He wanted the characteristics of the vessel and their sound signals.

I got;

Sailing Vessel showing additional lights (Viewed from the port side)

NUC (Viewed from astern) or Vessel Aground

Power Driven Vessel pushing ahead another vessel where the length of tow was less than 200m (Viewed from the starboard side)

Vessel Engaged in Mine Clearance Operations (Viewed from right ahead)

Vessel Trawling, shooting nets (Viewed from starboard side)

Fishing vessel with outlying gear, not making way (Viewed from port side)


That was it. It was near enough an hour and a quarter. He seemed a fair enough examiner. There were a couple of mistakes I made that I think he could have failed me on if I had been weaker on other stuff. He seemed to move on when he heard key words as I was giving my answers.

What helped me was to take the syllabus and write out short answers for each point. Then at least there were no major surprises.


Thank you to everybody that took us for orals prep classes and to the rest of the class who passed on what they got asked in their exams. All of it was a great help.










September 6, 2016 at 8:42 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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