The captain of a merchant ship qualified by the appropriate certificate of competency who is appointed by the ship owner.
He has the responsibility to efficiently prosecute the voyage and an overriding responsibility to ensure the safety of his passengers, crew, ship and cargo with the duty generally to save and preserve life at sea. In the event of his death or incapacity command descends to the second-in-command who is the senior deck officer and then through the other deck officers in order of rank. (The Nautical Institute on Command, chapter 1)
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