A misunderstanding when changing over the control position for a bow thruster.
What the Reporter told us:
I was recently piloting a vessel and experienced an issue whilst changing over the bow thruster control from the central station to the starboard bridge wing. The Master and Chief Officer (of different nationalities) had some misunderstanding as to the correct procedure to transfer control. This resulted in the Master becoming flustered, and running from the bridge wing to the wheelhouse whilst the vessel was approaching the berth.
I had to intervene and ask the Master to stay at the bridge wing control for engine movements. Two tugs were made fast, so the bow thruster was not crucial for the manoeuvre. Eventually the problem was resolved and thruster control was made available should it have been required.
The Maritime Advisory Board commented as follows;
The report demonstrates a lack of understanding of the bridge equipment and changeover procedures. It is essential that changeover procedures are clearly understood and implemented. Testing of the changeover procedure should form a part of the pre-arrival checks. In addition, the design of the changeover of controls should provide for a simple, unambiguous process, with appropriate operational instructions.
Human element issues can be noted in the lack of situational awareness and communication between the bridge team members.
Since two tugs were made fast, the bow thruster might not have been needed. Nevertheless, as a generic learning bow thrusters should be tested prior to arrival so that they are available in case of any emergency.