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Gard Guidance Masters


The Master and his officers should never underestimate an incident. It may look trivial, but its consequences can be serious.

The Master may be of the view that his vessel is not responsible for the incident or that any damage to the vessel or her machinery is minimal; however, this may not turn out to be the case. Alternatively, things may not turn out to be as they seemed at the time of the incident – a concerned or involved party may initially not complain or may play down the incident; a cargo with only slightly damaged packaging may have badly damaged contents; and the structure or foundations of a pier wall may be damaged even though the wall itself shows only traces of chafing. Any available evidence must therefore be collected and preserved immediately after the incident has occurred, even before assistance arrives from ashore.

The Master should always consider

  • contacting the correspondent or a surveyor via the correspondent
  • making notes and taking photographs or video of the incident or affected area
  • keeping a record of the sequence of events
  • reporting the incident as soon as possible
  • record any eye witness accounts.