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Murdo Morrison - Chief Mate Unlimited Orals
Ship Type - Wind Turbine Installation Vessel (previously AHTS, PSV and Container)
Attempt - Second attempt after previously passing Mates orals in 2007 (failed writtens that time and let orals expire), and failed attempt with Simon Alletson in December 2012.
Examiner - Capt Fletcher
Time - approx 50 mins
Result - PASS
Exam was due 0900, arrived about 0835, and waited. Capt Fletcher came out and excorted me to the examination room. Asked what type of ships I was on (told hime Wind Turbine Installation Vessel) and had a look through my discharge book. Asked what I'd failed on last time, told him pretty much a combination of everything, and basically admitted that I was just chancing it the last time and wasn't really ready.
Seemed very interested in the type of ship I was on, chatted about that for a while. He then asked what size of cranes I had on board. Told him 1200T main crane and 35T auxiliary crane.
What inspection criteria is required on your lifting gear? Mentioned LOLER regs, and annual inspection by competent person, etc - nothing leftfield.
Is chief mate responsible for lifting gear on your vessel? Said yes, but not directly, we have deck supervisor and lifting department who look after that. Asked if they were permenant ship's crew? Yes they are.
Chatted more about my vessel, about the jacking process, error margins we work to whilst positioing on DP, whether we can ballast when we're jacked up, whether we are 24hrs and whether bridge always manned, critical moments during jacking (e.g. zero airgap, soft-pinning, sequence of lowering/raising legs). Spent a lot of time just chatting about it all, I was never really sure whether he was actually testing me on it, or was just interested.
What lighting do we display at night - told him morse "U" light and morse "U" fog signal in restricted vis. Wanted me to confirm meaning of "U" (running into danger).
Fire in the laundry - initial actions, subsequent actions, how do I fight fire, who is in charge of fire parties, does that change to 2/E if fire in machinery space. Answered all that fairly confidently, he soon moved on.
What do I understand by critical equipment on board? Told him any piece of equipment the failure of which could result in disastrous consequences. Spent a little while on this, I was bumbling a bit trying to remember which items were "critical" equipment since most companies these days consider all their equipment critical due to cost (he agreed with that himself). How is it highlighted in my PMS? Basically wanted to hear that any critical equipment is either duplicated or has spares on board, and that in the case of the latter if something is used, another spare is ordered immediately.
What do I know about MLC 2006? Ya beauty, was desperate for him to ask me this! Forth pillar of maritime convention, level playing field, stop unfair advantage to companies cutting corners going to flags of convenience. Had my 14 points all lined up, but he stopped me there and moved on.
Gave me 4 buoys. Put me on a ship and put them in front of me one at a time (against direction of buoyage each time). Region A port hand, Region B stbd hand, Region A prefered channel to stbd (outbound, already in preferred channel), heading south, east cardinal dead ahead.
Then took out models.
You're a PDV with another PDV on your port bow - action?
You're PDV crossing TSS, CBD in lane on port bow - action?
You're PDV crossing narrow channel, CBD in channel - action?
Restricted visibility. PDV underway and making way - sound signal?
One target port bow same course & speed, on on stbd bow crossing stbd to port, and one on stbd quarter overtaking. Action? What would I expect each other vessel to do. What would I do if one of them wasn't there (he asked for both).
Sound signal for a vessel aground?
Then, the magic words "you've passed"! Didn't get asked anything about the things I thought I'd be guaranteed to be asked, i.e. Compass, ISM, ISPS and ECDIS.
Chatted about the offshore wind industry, seemed very interested in it. Then he shook my hand, I thanked him and left, delighted!
Special thanks to Vinil Gupta and Murdo Macleod of Glasgow Maritime Academy for getting me through it. A fantastic new establishment in Glasgow, I can't speak highly enough of it.