The Commanding Officer has full responsibility of the vessel, while Navigation Officers are responsible for the safe navigation of the ship. It is their responsibility to keep the Commanding Officer informed of all events that might impact the vessel's mission, and the vessel's or crew safety.
Navigation Officers must know how to pilot a ship in order to ensure safe transits in sometimes restricted or ice covered waters, no matter what kind of weather or visibility prevails. They must have good navigation technics and a good knowledge of navigational equipment operation such as radar, electronic charts, gyrocompas, etc. They execute the route planning as per the Commanding Officer's directions. They plot and follow the routes on charts, verify the available water depths, as well as ice charts, and do the radio communications.
They supervise the activities of the weelhouse crew. On the other hand, the Chief Officer is responsible for all cargo handling by the ship's installations or by helicopter, including the storing of merchandises, properly secure equipments, charges distribution and calculation of the ship's stability. He is also responsible for safety standards concerning the take-off or landing of helicopters on the ship. He directs the boatswain and deckhands.
The Chief Officer is responsible for the safety of the ship. He ensures proper operation and handling of firefighting systems and the familiarisation of the crew members.
Navigation Officers also participate in search and rescue operations and operate small crafts during resupplying operations.