Collision Regulation Posters
The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs) have been in existence for 41 years, and must be understood by all seafarers before they can pass an examination to become a bridge watchkeeping officer.
Unfortunately, the analysis of a number of collision claims handled by the Britannia Club shows that, the infringement of one or more of the COLREGs is the single most common cause of collisions. This is despite the advances in electronic assistance for mariners on the bridge. These claims demonstrate an apparent lack of understanding of the COLREGs by the officer of the watch (OOW) and certainly a failure to apply them properly.
The Britannia P&I Club is producing a series of posters, over a period of twelve months, to remind bridge watchkeeping officers of therequirements of COLREGs. Each poster will focus on common scenarios, played out daily in the busy and congested seaways of the world, highlighting the appropriate COLREGs.
COLREGs rules: 1 (a & b), 2, 7, 8, 16 and 18 (Appendix 1)
The first poster depicts a scene where a power driven ship is making way and has a fishing boat on a steady bearing. The master of the ship is reluctant to alter course despite a close quarters situation developing with the fishing boat, as he is under pressure to maintain a tight schedule.
Safe navigation being paramount, the fact that the ship is late - say, due to an earlier break down or delay - does not allow the master to deviate from these rules and he is obliged to keep clear as directed by the COLREGs.
A substantial alteration of course to starboard that will be readily apparent to the fishing boat crew and made in good time will allow the ship to pass clear and resolve the situation,with minimum disruption to the ship's schedule.
COLREGs rules: 2, 13 and 17 (Appendix 1)
In the second poster, our ship appears to be getting into a complex situation by overtaking close down the port side of another ship, and also running into a close quarters situation with a crossing ship on the port bow. The OOW would like to relinquish his responsibility to the master by casually asking if he has the con. Good bridge procedure should have made it clear who has the ship con. The appearance of the master on the bridge does not necessarily mean that he has taken control of the ship's navigation - he is possibly just after a cup of tea. The OOW of the overtaking ship should be confirming that they are in fact passing clear of the ship being overtaken,and also observing - by radar plot and visual bearings -what type of ship is crossing and whether it is in a close quarters situation. It is preferable, given adequate sea room, for the overtaking ship to pass down the starboard side of the overtaken ship allowing sufficient scope for an alteration of course to starboard for the crossing situation.