In this topic we shall come across few interesting ROR situations and shall state the best possible actions within the purview of COLREGS (International Regulations for Prevention of Collision at Sea). These situations are commonly asked in the Nautical Examinations and also very much encountered at sea. I assume that you have a good understanding of COLREGS as it will help you to understand the situations better.
Before we begin kindly go through the following abbreviations which we will use in the topic –
OV: Own Vessel, which means the vessel which, supposedly, you are navigating
TV: Target Vessel. It is the vessel with whom the Risk of Collision may or may not exists
ROC: Risk of Collision , PD: Power Driven Vessel
FV: Fishing Vessel
CBD: Vessel Constrained by her Draft
RAM: Vessel Restricted in her ability to maneuver
NUC: Vessel Not Under Command
Situation No 1
Description: Own vessel Navigating in dense fog ahead, with Radar NOT operational.
Action: As per the application scope of Rule No 2: Responsibility, the vessel can safely drop anchor (if in anchoring depths) and wait till the visibility improves. This is in light of good seamanship. Additionally, additional lookouts shall be posted, including sight and by hearing and frequency of sound signals shall be increased. Moreover, the deck lights (normally switched on during anchoring) will give an early indication to the other vessel of the own vessel’s presence.
If not in anchoring depths, the vessel shall proceed at slow speed with engines on maneuvering RPM and kept standby all times. (More discussion on this in Situation No 12:Restricted Visibility)
Situation No 2
Description: Own vessel navigating in a Narrow channel “upstream” , i.e. Tidal flow against the direction of the Own vessel. Target vessel approaching from ahead as shown.
Action: Own vessel shall wait for the Target Vessel to pass as OV is heading into the Tidal Stream and it will be much easier to handle OV (wrt steering etc). This, again is and example of good seamanship as required in accordance with Rule No 2: Responsibility.
Situation No 3
Description: Own vessel in head on situation with the Target Vessel. ROC exists. Shallow water on the starboard side.
Action: As per Rule No 2 “Responsibility” which permits to “make a departure from the rules in special circumstance to avoid immediate danger”, the OV is permitted to alter course to her Port Side. Note that this situation consists of both “special circumstances” and “immediate danger”.
Important Note on Vessel NUC
The following vessels are also considered to be NUC –
Situation No 4: On Narrow Channels
Description: TV is a Vessel less than 20mtrs in length (or a Sailing /Fishing Vessel). She is head on with OV in a Narrow Channel.
Action: OV in this situation is a Stand-On vessel and TV is a Give way vessel.
Here it is important to note the following points –
Situation No 5: Application Scope of Rule 10 (Traffic Separation Schemes)
Following points are required to be kept in mind with respect to Rule 10
1. The other rules of COLREGS continue to apply even when the vessel in is in TSS
2. A vessel navigating inside an Inshore Traffic Zone, is NOT using the TSS
3. Separation zone in TSS can only be used by –
a. Vessel crossing TSS
b. Vessel engaged in Fishing
c. Vessel avoiding immediate danger
4. YG Signal: This signal means that “you are not complying with the TSS”
Situation No 6: Application Scope of Rule No 13 (Overtaking)
Situation No 7: Application Scope of Rule No 14 (Head On situation)
Situation No 8: Narrow Channel (figure above)
Description: OV navigating through a Narrow Channel. TV position as shown. Both vessel navigating inside a Narrow Channel
Action: This is NOT a Crossing situation. Both vessels have the responsibilities to keep clear from each other.
Situation No 9: Crossing Situation – Scope of Application
Following points to be remembered in Crossing Situation (Rule No 15)
Action: Avoid crossing ahead of the Target vessel. ‘Wake-up’ signal (5 short blasts on the ship’s whistle) to be given to seek attention of the Target Vessel. Pass by her stern after altering your Course hard over to starboard. The Own Vessel is the Give-way vessel and Target Vessel is the Stand-On vessel.
Situation No 10 : CBD Vessel crossing
Description: Own vessel (Power Driven) involved in a crossing situation with vessel Constrained by her Draught (Target Vessel) as shown above. ROC exists.
Action: Very important to note that in this situation OV is the Stand-On vessel and TV (CBD) is the Give-Way vessel. ‘Wake-up signal’ shall be given (5 short blasts on ship’s whistle). If no action taken by the TV, OV to give wide alteration to Starboard and pass by stern of the TV.
Situation No 11: Responsibilities between Vessel – Application Scope
Following is the degree of responsibilities between the different types of vessel
Situation No 12: Restricted Visibility – Application Scope
Restricted Visibility is one of the most important rules of COLREGS. Its importance lies in the fact that many decisions of the courts have come against the vessel where the Master and/or OOW were confident that they have taken action as specified by the Rule 19. Therefore, OOW shall be well versed with the action he shall take in order to avoid Risk of Collision in cases of RV. I will break down the Restricted Visibility Rule into 2 parts stating in a simplified manner, that what probable actions shall be taken and what actions shall not be taken. Note that this explanation is strictly in accordance with the Rule 19, which applies to vessel navigating in or near areas of Restricted Visibility.
On the basis of above key points, many situations can be derived and answered accordingly. I am not explaining any situation here. However, if you have any doubt with any ROR situation you can put it in the comment box below and I will try answering them.
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