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Risk of collision by strictly following the initial voyage plan

  • Description of scenario: Vessel A: Power-driven vessel
    Vessel B: Power-driven vessel
    Vessels C: Vessels engaged in fishing sailing almost with zero speed
    Area: Coastal waters
    Visibility: Good (Vessels in sight of one another)
    Vessel A and vessel B are approaching the bend from different directions
    There is no risk of collision between vessels A and B when they sail between their positions 1 and 4
    When vessel B follows her voyage plan and alters her course at WP, vessel A and vessel B are meeting on nearly reciprocal courses so as to involve risk of collision
  • Rule(s) to be applied: Rule 8 (Action to avoid a collision)
    Rule 14 (Head-On Situation)
  • Applying the Rule(s) and comments: Head–on situation (Vessel A and vessel B):
    In accordance with Rule 8 (a) (Action to avoid a collision) any action taken to avoid collision shall be taken in accordance with the Rules of this Part and shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, be positive, made in ample time and with due regard to the observance of good seamanship.
    In accordance with Rule 8 (c) (Action to avoid a collision), if there is sufficient sea-room, alteration of course alone may be the most effective action to avoid a close-quarters situation provided that it is made in good time, is substantial and does not result in another close-quarters situation.
    In accordance with Rule 14 (a) (Head-on situation) when two power-driven vessels are meeting on nearly reciprocal courses so as to involve risk of collision each shall alter her course to starboard so that each shall pass on the port side of the other.

    Comments:
    Vessel A first identifies vessels C engaged in fishing and later she also identifies vessel B visually and by radar while approaching the bend. There is no risk of collision between vessel A and vessel B when they sail between positions 1 and 4.
    Following the course alteration of vessel B at WP in accordance with her voyage plan, both vessels would meet on reciprocal or nearly reciprocal courses as to involve risk of collision. In accordance with Rule 14 (Head-on situation) each vessel (vessels A and B) shall alter her course to starboard but there is no sufficient sea room for vessel A in order to alter its course to starboard due to the coastal line and shallow water neither sufficient sea room for vessel B due to the area occupied by vessels engaged in fishing (vessels C).
    In accordance with Rule 8 (Action to avoid a collision), one of the most effective actions to avoid head-on situation (vessels A and B) and avoiding risk of collision or close-quarters situation with any other vessel in the vicinity, vessel B may shift her WP which is stated in her voyage plan to WP1 (a new WP further on her initial course to leave vessels C engaged in fishing on her port side). Shifting of WP is an example of good seamanship.
    Complying with COLREG rules is more important than strictly following the voyage plan.
  • Actions: In accordance with the ordinary practice of seamen, vessel B may take the following actions to avoid collision or close-quarters situation.

    a) Vessel B may shift her WP to WP1 and proceed in her initial course until WP1 to avoid head-on situation with vessel A and leave area occupied by vessels C engaged in fishing on her port side.

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