DPA is the link between the ship and the shore. DPA is legally bound to provide all the legitimate support to the ship.
Let us see what ISM code says about the "Designated Person Ashore"...
To ensure the safe operation of each ship and to provide a link between the Company and those on board, every Company, as appropriate, should designate a person or persons ashore having direct access to the highest level of management. The responsibility and authority of the designated person or persons should include monitoring the safety and pollution- prevention aspects of the operation of each ship and ensuring that adequate resources and shore-based support are applied, as required.
If you notice, responsibilities of DPA are related to the safety and pollution prevention.
Master must contact DPA if he feels that he is not getting enough support from the shore staff for any safety and pollution prevention issues.
I will list few of the situations where Master must contact DPA.
- Issues with any MARPOL or safety equipment and the superintendent is unable to provide shore servicing of the equipment.
- Master finds the ship to be unseaworthy
- Master feels the commercial pressure from shore staff, which in his understanding can lead to unsafe conditions. One real example I know is where a Master was being pushed by shore staff to berth the vessel with very less under keel clearance. Master felt this is unsafe and informed the DPA and used his authority to wait for 2 days for the suitable tide.
- All the cases where Master has to use his over-riding authority
Master must not hesitate to call DPA whenever he feels he has an issue related to safety and pollution prevention.
There is no big deal in calling DPA. And Masters must understand few things in relation to the DPA.