A much further reaching responsibility than held by most of his shore-based counterparts. The days may be long gone when the Captain could order a crew member to be flogged for insolence or even hanged for mutiny but the fact remains that, while the ship is at sea, there is no police force to be called in to remove the problem person. Except on passenger ships, there is not even any medical help to call on and the Master may often have to treat quite serious medical problems with only a telephone link to a doctor to help him. So the Master is truly in charge of all those on board. His third duty is that of the Manager of a commercial enterprise. Again this duty has changed enormously with the developments in telecommunications but there are still a host of situations where he is the man on the spot and has to make decisions based on his judgement and his alone. For example every country has different Customs and Immigration regulations. Some may appear so bureaucratic as to seem grotesque. Time will be lost if the Master fails to anticipate what will be required in the way of documents, lists etc. It is a sad fact of life that the Master even has to be expert in knowing how to deal with the foibles of officials in some parts of the world where ‘brown envelopes’ are the order of the day. Masters also have to have a comprehensive knowledge of the major charter party clauses. No matter how conscientious the agents may be it is for the Master to make certain that Notices of Readiness are given in good time. To do this, of course, he has to ensure that the ship complies with all the appropriate requirements so that she is indeed ready to load or discharge without delay.