NavyRegs Article 0847.
Responsibility of a Master of an In-Service Ship of the Military Sealift Command

Responsibility of a Master of an In- Service Ship of the Military Sealift  Command0847.  Responsibility of a Master of an In-Service Ship of the Military Sealift Command

1.  In an in-service ship of the Military Sealift Command, the master’s responsibility is absolute, except when, and to the extent, relieved therefrom by competent authority.  The authority of the master is commensurate with the master’s responsibility.  The master is responsible for the safety of the ship and all persons on board.  He or she is responsible for the safe navigation and technical operations of the ship and has paramount authority over all persons on board.  He or she is responsible for the preparation of the abandon ship bill and has exclusive authority to order the ship abandoned.  The master may, using discretion, and when not contrary to law or regulations, delegate authority for operation of shipboard functions to competent subordinates.  However, such delegation of authority shall in no way relieve the master of continued responsibility for the safety, well-being, and efficiency of the ship.  

2.  All orders and instructions of the master shall be in accordance with appropriate laws of the United States, and all applicable orders and regulations of the Navy, the Military Sealift Command, and the Office of Personnel Management.  A master who departs from the orders or instructions of competent authority or takes official action contrary to such orders or instructions shall report immediately the circumstances to the authority from whom the prior orders or instructions were received. 

3.  The master has full authority to enforce appropriate laws of the United States and all applicable orders and regulations of the Navy, the Military Sealift Command, and the Office of Personnel Management.  In furtherance of the master’s authority to enforce the laws and maintain safety on board his or her ship, the master may:

     a.     conduct periodic inspections and surprise inspections throughout the ship to include messing and berthing areas; and

     b.     conduct searches throughout the ship, including messing and berthing areas, when there is reasonable suspicion that an offense has been committed and the evidence of the offense will be discovered by the search.  

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