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The abstract possibilities of the collision reg's.
Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013 10:00 PM
Joined: 30/07/2013
Posts: 2

Hello all, 

Here I am, my first season, in Turkey and a night off. So what to do on a night off? Yep, you've guessed it! Stay in and study the collision regulations ( I can already feel the enthusiasm for this post building). But reading though there seems to be a few grey areas surrounding sail yachts and if the readers could help me understand, great! So sit down get comfortable and prepare to be bombarded by a series of abstract situations in which you never hope to meet at sea. 

So armed with a copy of the collision regulations 1996/ MSN 1781? If not, I'm continuing regardless and shall start with the more mundane.

1. The organised chaos, the traffic separation scheme and the interpretation of the line "safe passage" (rule 10,j). Let's have a scenario to help picture this. A Small vessel under 20m crossing at a right angle and large container ship following the lane. There is plenty of safe sea room for both of the vessels, which are on a collision course.  It appears to me that the give way vessel is the container ship following lane, because the small vessel is not impeding "safe passage". Agreed?

2. Now cast your thoughts to sailing vessel. Towing. Whilst under sail. Now Imagine out at sea a motor boat has lost the use of its engines and the only other vessel around is a sail yacht with limited fuel. The best option would be tow it under sail to point where the yachts engine could be switched on, or another vessel can take over. In which case is this sailing vessel not classes as (RAM) restricted in her ability to manoeuvre?
(I accept that if there are no other vessels around, no one can take note it is RAM, but maybe as they get closer to shore other vessels do appear, and thank various deities its not them). 

Another similar situation, would a sail yacht be classed as RAM if it was carrying out work (rule 3, g)? Let's say, caught up in nets and it was training for a life boat team. It's restricted and working, so yes.

3.Can they also be considered a vessel constrained by draught? 
"The term “vessel constrained by her draught” means a power-driven vessel which, because of her draught in relation to the available depth and width of navigable water, is severely restricted in her ability to deviate from the course she is following." 
Any sensible yacht when navigating shallow water will have their motor on, which means it is now defined as a power drive vessel and there -fore should show the appropriate lights or shapes (carrying them is a different matter).

I accept that the situations presented here are entirely Hypothetical and In some cases unlikely (and because I've brought them up they're going to all happen. Probably a week on a Tuesday, around lunch time). But discussing them will help give a better understanding to me and hopefully other readers as well. I also understand that there is a degree of interpretation surrounding the rules, but it is nice to hear what others think about it.  

Many thanks

P.s. My contract ends late September and I shall be looking for work. 


Posted: Monday, August 12, 2013 1:19 PM
Joined: 28/04/2011
Posts: 56

1. The Power Driven Vessel will remain the give way vessel, regardless of whether the smaller craft impedes its safe passage. That relationship is pre established in other rules, such as Rule 15 and Rule 18. When it comes to considering a Traffic Separation Scheme you need to appreciate they are established in areas of high traffic density and generally manage the flow of large traffic effectively, a smaller vessel may not appreciate that the manoeuvring characteristics of large vessels could mean that manoeuvring for small craft could have severe knock on affects to the flow of traffic and severely disrupt the large vessels passage. The rule exists for a reason but establishes a relationship whereby the vessel following the TSS must still take avoiding action within the limitations of the steering and sailing rules.

2. A vessel can either be a Sailing Vessel or a vessel Restricted in her Ability to Manoeuvre within the meaning of the rules, it cannot be both. Rule 18 clearly talks about them as separate entities. If a sailing vessel is able to exhibit the signals for a vessel Restricted in her ability to Manoeuvre then that is how it shall be treated by other vessels. 

3. A sailing vessel is unlikely to be in a situation where it is under sail and constrained by its draft, once it is under power, it becomes a power driven vessel. The rule is generally there for very large deep draft vessels approaching ports such as Rotterdam where alteration of course or reduction of speed may have devastating effects. The few times I've seen vessels with CBD signals they have been large VLCCs. The effect of a 20m sailing vessel running aground is probably inconsequential to the wider environment and safety, and if the 20m vessel is CBD the its likely every other vessel navigating in those waters is also, thus the quasi- privilege becomes obsolete.

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 9:15 AM
Joined: 30/07/2013
Posts: 2

Thank you for that.