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UNIT 1 Masters Standing Orders UNIT 2



UNIT 3 Weather Routeing UNIT 4 Navigation Safe Practices 53 39


Operating of ships is a complex activity, which often come out hundreds of miles away from land in an unpredictable environment.

Ship operation entirely, depends on optimum use of available manpower resource in a safe manner whether it is on the bridge or the engine room, while navigating the vessels or while working cargoes having different characteristics. Safety, therefore, must be considered as central to all operations. In the aftermath of the attack on world Trade Centre and Pentagon, USA, in 2001, possibility of the terrorists making ships as targets is on the increase. The international maritime, organization has brought about a legislation for the safety and security of the ships, passengers and crew. This course aims at making ng you aware of the safety and security measures which must be strictly followed for prevention of accidents. First block deals with the watch kec ping and procedures which are required to be followed on the ship for safe naviga-ion. Block 2 deals with the general aspects of safe practices to be followed on ships ani I in detail, contents of ISPS code as applicable on ships. A substantial part of this self learning module is extracted from an article from the seaways of the nautical institute by Captain Eric Beetham FNI, FRfN.


The purpose of watch keeping and good operational procedures. is t0 ensure that human error or omission on part of an individual may not put the ship in da,.-r. This Block comprises four units which deal with the safety involved in navigation of a ship and watch keeping practices and operational procedures which should be followed strictly on board ships. Unit 1 describes in detail as to why masters of ships need to write their intention in writing and processes involved in implementation of the Master's standing orders. Unit also deals with the heading control systems and precautions which one requires when handling the steering of the ship. Unit 2 deals with the Bridge procedures and responsibilities of an officer on watch. This unit deals extensively with precaution required when determining the composition of the world, fatigue and fitness for duty, checks which are required on the navigational status at all times and importance of working on the bridge of a ship as a team. Unit 3 will make you aware of processes involved, introduction of routeing system, description of routeing measures, ship position, reporting systems and the all important weather planning for the safe execution of the voyage. Unit 4 deals with 'Safe Practices in Navigation' particularly related to passage planning, use of VHF, need to take timely action and in Radar Watchkeeping.


Structure 1.1 Introduction

1.2 Why Do Masters Need to Write their Intention in Writing? 1.3 How Should the Masters Standing Orders be Followed? 1.4 Process for Implementation under Varying Conditions 1.5 Use of the Automatic Pilot 1.6 Heading Control or Track Control System 1.7 Heading Control Systems (Auto Pilot) 1.8 Steering Systems

1.9 Cautions and Recommendations when using Auto-Pilots 1.10 Summary 1.11 Answers to SAQs

The Master or the Captain of a ship has the overall charge of the ship and is therefore responsible to ensure that every one on board understand the Master's plan of navigation and other operations carried out on the ship. It is with this intention that master puts his orders in writing so that there is no confusion in implementing the same. Objectives After studying this unit, you should be able to state the reason for the Masters standing orders, discribe the process of informing all and obtaining its acknowledgement, and explain various stages in the process of implementation of Master Orders.



Various conventions, codes and guides provide the framework within which officers' duties shall be performed in nearly all cases of routine and many extraordinary circumstances. Operational procedures are based upon the owner's navigation policy and these should work without conflict within the safety management system. The master should provide his own standing orders which will be supplemented on a daily basis by night orders to spell out to his officers his own personal requirements. This may be with regard to the particular ship, her trade, the bridge team and their experience. These standing orders may reflect points that have caused him concern in the past and lessons he has learnt and will set the standard that he requires from his watch keepers. Among the mass of written guidance on board, this is the opportunity for the master to set down quite simply the ground rules for exactly what he expects the officers to do in different circumstances, to reinforce practices that he expects to be followed and to create a relationship in which a mutual confidence is established. The officers will know 'when the master wants to be called and the master will know that they will do so._ 5

Watch keeping and Procedures

SAQ I (a) (b) Check the Master's night orders on your ship when the vessel was altering a course to enter a VTS and indicate its meaning. The company has a normal printed set of orders, why then the master needs to write separate orders in addition'?


The Master considers carefully the special circumstances, which exist every time he takes over command. These aspects relate to the particular ship and to the officers and crew serving in her. There is a temptation to use just one set of tried and tested master's standing orders without any adjustment for each ship. This is not a good practice. Preparing orders taking into account the ship and its operation provides the master a good opportunity to address the special needs and the circumstances of each different command. The purpose of good operational procedures is to ensure that a mistake be it an error or an omission by one person does not put the ship into danger. It is human to make mistakes and this applies as equally to the master as it does to everybody else on board. It is the duty of the officers to check their own work and to verify the work of others at handover. When a pilot is carried he must, equ.11y, be.told if you think he has made a mistake which might adversely affect the safety of the ship. As a part of a good bridge team, nothing stops you from bringing an error of a senior officer to his notice politely but firmly. In fact, that is the essence of the Bridge team management.


In Port Though the Master is overall in charge of all operation it is a common practice for the Master to brief the chief officer on the loading and discharging operations and repair and other maintenance work that is being carried out in that port. It, therefore, becomes necessary for the chief officer to prepare his m~ n standing orders so that his intention regarding cargo operation,.,, repair of maintenance work being carried out is understood by all concerned. All concerned include all cargo watch keeping officers and the Chief Engineer and Sec9nd I engineer too. Cadets while keeping watches on deck should also sight the orders and sign them. Every such person should therefore follow the instructions of the chief officer with regard to ballast, cargo being worked, repairs carried out, etc. This supports the chief officer's authority with the ship in port. In addition, he shall (a) Ensure that access to/from the ship is kept as safe as possible, well lighted and the gangway net properly rigged; make sure watchmen are on deck and shore people do not smoke in unauthorized places. The chief officer will see that the gangway and safety net are set up on arrival but it is then up to the OOW to keep it that way. Keep the ship alongside and moorings tight; replace any ropes that break and call the Master or the Chief Officer if the ship starts ranging or weather becomes adverse. Some officers don't appreciate that mooring winches have much more holding power 'on the brake' than they do 'on heave' and if the ship comes off the berth in strong winds, it can make things worse by trying to heave her back alongside.



Never hesitate to call for shore assistance (tugs, pilots, fire brigade or ambulance) in any emergency and keep engineers advised. In practice, the captain or chief officer will be on the ship if cargo is being worked but it does not mean that OOW does not have any authority. As there are many thefts from ships in port and stowaways are a major problem for checking on people coming aboard, that they do have business on the ship and, if in doubt, take them to the person they wish to see or send the watchman with them. The ISPS code instruction in this respect must be followed strictly. The co-operation of everybody on board is necessary to minimize thefts and stowaways but the example of a duty mate who takes this task seriously motivates others on duty.

Masters Standing Orders


Before Arrival and Sailing Normally the arrival and sailing instructions are clearly indicated in the procedures specified in the ISM code. Very often, you are also provided with checklist to ensure every aspect is checked. Following are a few of importance (a) Test all the bridge gear in accordance with the checklist; switch on both steering motors, radars and check alignment of radars, gyro repeaters and course recorder. Prepare pilot information card. Give the engine room 'one hour notice' meaning that at the end of the one hour on arrival we shall want to manoeuvre; and likewise one hour before 'stand by' on departure. This is best defined to avoid confusion and of course, the engine room has to be advised of this. Checking of stowaways is an important aspect of sailing duty and must be carried out methodically. As part of the arrival processes the provisions of the ISPS code relating to sealing of unnecessary entrances and securing of gangways and other accesses to the ship with watchmen is important.


(c) (d)

Log Books All operations on board ship are always recorded in appropriate logs. Sounding logs to record the sounding of tanks and bilges, Mates log book which shows important happenings and cargo books are only some of the logs maintained on board ships. In maintaining such records, following should be kept in mind : (a) Entries must be clear and accurate; names of all persons involved in any incidents must be given fully and he must sign entries by the OOW or duty officer. This' is invaluable a few years later if there are any claims made. If the wind is force 7 or more, log the weather every two hours and the barometer every hour if it is changing. In addition record whether ship is shipping seas and whether they are moderate/heavy' as the case may be. In port, ensure that weather remarks continue to be made in the log book. In cyclone areas or adverse weather, further detail would be given in the night orders. , While the log book only needs the important times, keep a complete movement book with details of tugs, whose lines, moorings used, fendering of the quay, which side alongside and number of the berth. Routine again, but so often records are incomplete.



At Anchor Quite often, time at anchorage is considered a time to relax. The master shall order whether the anchor watch is to be kept on the bridge or on deck. In any case, the If OOW is responsible for the safely and he shall 'ensure to 7

Watch keeping and Procedures


Keep a good check on position of his ship and others close-by ships may drag soon after anchoring, when the tide changes, when the weather freshens or when the brake won't hold with a lot of yawing. The danger is not only of his ship dragging but of others drifting down to us. The bow stopper must always be in use when at anchor. In adverse weather, it is helpful to paint a link on the aft side of the gypsy so it can easily be seen if the brake renders. To check the ship's position at regular intervals. Normally, full anchor watches are kept even if cargo is being worked while at anchor, this may be a problem but deck and bridge have both to be watched. Ensure the lights/signals are correctly exhibited; usually a VHF watch will have to be kept and if you've been away from the bridge for a time check with the shore station that they have not been calling the ship. Try and get the other ship on the VHF or flash them with the Aldis lamp if it tries to anchor too close or starts to drag. Try to get a position on the chart and note the ship's heading at the moment of letting go the anchor that way the swinging circle can best be worked out on the chart. If the scale of the chart is good enough, it gives a circle within which the ship should remain and is handy when weighing anchor in a crowded anchorage.



(d) (e)

At Sea Watch keeping officer on the Bridge is totally responsible for navigation and the safety of the ship in general. Besides using the education and training that you have obtained you have to make use of the experience that you have gained from your seniors and the instructions that they give. In such process : (a) Make sure the navigation lights are on at night and that a good lookout is kept at all times. The seaman on watch is always available to the OOW and should be used as a lookout at night, in rain or in fog. Usually single seaman watches are kept at sea but the OOW must know that a man is available to him if required during daytime. Comply fully with the regulations for preventing collisions with other ships and use sound signals when within two miles. In an emergency, do not hesitate to use the engines but, if possible, warn the duty engineer first and call the Master. Try to avoid close quarter situations by early and substantial course alterations and in open waters give all traffic plenty of room. Nothing is gained by passing too close. When running Unmanned Machinery spaces, it is preferable to have the duty engineer in the engine room first if time permits. Respond to any requests from the engine room to reduce speed and, in the event of a blackout with other ships around, try to get maximum helm on quickly and switch on emergency NUC lights. Not always possible but, if it can be done; this is the best way of reducing travel as running the way off may take the ship over a long distance. On taking over the watch, check the position, check the course to steer and the course actually being steered; check the distance to go to the next alteration, soundings or picking up land. In the night watches, please read and initial the night orders. The routine of using the night orders every night is preferred as it reduces the risk of

(b) (c)



something being missed if the book is sometimes used, sometimes not. Compare magnetic and gyro compasses at least every hour and take azimuths every watch. This is not an outdated routine, but good navigational practice. (g) Change to hand steering and back each watch (tests both) and check the course recorder. Aim for the minimum use of rudder but don't fiddle with the settings unless you think you can improve the situation. Small alterations, of course, may be done on the autopilot but always change to hand steering for bigger alterations. When a helmsman is engaged in hand steering, keep a close watch on him until you are sure of his ability, both in steering and following helm orders. The ability of helmsmen, due to the small amount of experience they gain (both in general and in any particular ship), causes concern, particularly in canals and restricted channels. (It is in this context that it is recommended that helmsmen should be given steering practice when the ship is in open waters.) Use the navigational aids fully (including the echo sounder) but only as a backup to visual position fixing and do not rely on the aids to the point where common sense is ignored. Always check the chart details for WGS details when using GPS in coastal waters and in restricted waters always use visual bearings and radar distances. Ships have passed through the era of 'radar assisted collisions' and may now be into that of GPS assisted stranding. When a 'black box' (voyage data recorder) is fitted, ensure that it is being provided with the inputs. Ensure that the AIS is working and check the data being sent and compare the data being received with the help of the radar when possible. Continue to fix positions on the chart, particularly in restricted waterways. If not already running, always put the radar on in good time if there is rain around or visibility is doubtful. In open waters, the best use of radar is in tracking ships from 12 miles so that 8 miles assess their movement and there is then plenty of time to alter course if necessary and to make sure the alteration is having the desired effect. This clearly spells out the philosophy required by the master to avoid close quarter situations the other ship may be fast, may not be keeping an efficient watch and may unexpectedly alter course. Approaching heavy rain or fog, have a good look around, switch on radar, warn the engine room, call up the seaman for lookout, switch on the navigation lights, fix the position of the ship, switch on fog signal to automatic and call the Master. Extra manning or plotting routines will be arranged then, depending on the locality/situation. Specific arrangement for bridge manning in fog is wise for ships trading to the USA, and a lookout forward may be required. (k) Keep the ship on the course lines laid off on the chart and allow set as necessary to do so (and use GPS for this in open waters). In coastal waters, bring the ship back to the course line and use set to keep her there, rather than simply laying off a new course line to the next w a yp o i n t . T h e p a s s a ge p l a n ni n g n o t e s s h o u l d h e l p w i t h tides/currents. The whole point in laying off courses is fixing the route we want to follow. Laying off new ones when the ship has set inside can take her much closer to dangers than was the intention. (1) Fix positions regularly and continue to do so even when there is a pilot on board to ensure the pilots route is safe. Ensure that pilots instructions are correctly carried out by helmsmen and look after the pilot with coffee, etc. We are still fully responsible for the navigation

Masters Standing Orders



Watch keeping and Procedures

of the ship despite the presence of the pilot. Position fixing and track monitoring should be continued in just the same way as without a pilot aboard. Language difficulties or unusual expressions sometimes confuse helmsmen. The ability of each helmsman must be verified and every order by the pilot must be clearly explained if confusion exists. (m) Never respond to calls on VHF to 'ship on my starboard bow', etc. For any action unless you are positive of her identification (an Aldis lamp may be used for such identification at night). Even then, do not agree to any action that contradicts normal safe practices. This is a frightening habit in some ships but is better controlled rather than banned, as it is going to happen anyway. With the advent of AIS, you are in a better position to know the identity of the ship but even here, do not determine the action to be taken on the strength of a VHF talk. Stick to the rules and if in doubt call the master. (n) All 'cancelled' charts should be removed from the chart room as they are replaced but there is a time lag in getting corrections/new editions. Do check and identify. Buoys can shift very easily so try not to use them for position fixing without using the land as well. In some overseas ports, foreign charts are used for the channels and for these we may receive no corrections. The 'man overboard' response and manoeuvring data are posted on the bulkhead in the wheelhouse; you should be fully familiar with the former to respond immediately and be aware of the stopping distances and turning circles of this ship. The manoeuvring data is posted and available to pilots; the 'man overboard' response regarding release of the bridge wing 'man overboard' and Williamson turn should be detailed if they are not already available. The OOW, particularly at sea, should be aware of the situation regarding cargo ventilation or work being carried out on deck. If weather worsens, the deck work may have to be suspended and a watch should be maintained to ensure the safety of those working on deck. Instructions may be specifically given with regard to cargo ventilation but the OOW should be directly aware of the work being carried out on deck (whether routine or of a specific nature) and must be aware that he is the one person able to keep an overview of such work and the safety of those doing it. Rounds of the decks must be made after securing the anchors on any departure. These include ropes, forecastle doors, deckhouse and superstructure doors and lights, hold/tank access hatches, ventilators, any items stowed on deck being adequately secured and equipment left on deck being collected and secured. Rounds of the decks are to be made each evening at the end of the working day but before darkness and these are to be entered in the log. It is then a matter of naming who shall make the rounds; after sailing it will either be the chief officer or the officer on the forecastle for unmooring and at sea either the chief officer or the 1200-1600 OOW. It is a good practice to involve other officers in addition to the chief officer in these basic routines that are only too often neglected in many ships. Master's presence on the bridge does not mean that he has taken over control from the OOW. Handover to the OOW or takeover from the OOW shall be made clear by the Master on each occasion.





SAQ 2 (a) (b) 10 What do you understand "when in doubt call the Master"? How does the master inform the OOW that he has taken over the watch.

(c) General

What instructions would you expect to be written by the chief officer when the vessel loading hazardous cargoes?

Masters Standing Orders

All the deck officers should be familiar with the steering systems and changeover procedures, with all the bridge gear and with all the lifesaving/fire fighting equipment, regardless of whose duty it is to look after them. All the publications watchkeeping, passage planning, codes of practice and manuals, etc. are there for your guidance. We may all think we have read them, but it is wise to look through them again from time to time. The background of the officers varies and ability to read pages of English may be limited; the deck officers are bridge watch keepers firstly and secondly have their individual duties and responsibilities. If the weather gets bad and we may have to slow down or alter course, call the Master. Solid water washing aboard will damage deck fittings and ships do not slow themselves down in head seas (the power is being used to drive the ship into the seas rather than through the water). If we are losing more than 25 % of our speed (comparing rpm and log), it may well be time to do something about it. The safety of the ship, the crew and the cargo are always the first considerations and are all in your care while you are on watch. The theory that ships slow themselves down in heavy weather is totally wrong. If the officers cannot sense when the ship is going too fast in heavy weather, give them a mathematical guideline to follow. Call the Master at any time if in any doubt whatsoever for navigation, traffic, weather, breakdowns, safety or anything else. The Master would rather be called many times, apparently unnecessarily, rather than just once too late. SAQ 3 (a) (b) (c) What action is necessary by the OOW on the onset of rough weather? Describe the steering arrangement on your ship and the process to change over the motors if one of them fails. What would you expect the masters night orders to be taking into account if the vessel coasting in poor visibility.


Automatic Pilot is a control device that keeps a ship steering automatically on a given course. The automatic pilot contains a set of gyroscopes that provide references for the ship's course. Sensors detect when the ship deviates from this course and send signals to the control surfaces the rudder to take the appropriate action. Most ships cruise on automatic pilot, also called autopilot, for much of the time. The components of the gyroscope are arranged so that the three axes of rotation in any position pass through the wheel's center of gravity. The wheel is thus capable of rotation about three mutually perpendicular axes, and its axis may take up any direction. If the axis of the spinning wheel is displaced, a restoring movement develops, returning it to its initial direction. The possibility of transmitting the indications of the master compass enormously increases the advantage of the gyro-compass. By its means, an automatic steering device can be used to operate the steering gear and take the place of the human quartermaster. These gyro - pilots or automatic helmsmen are now in ships all over the world, and of all types, and once set on their course, they will maintain it with unfailing accuracy for an indefinite period, and in practically any weather. This equipment is so sensitive that it detects departures from the set course before they can be noticed by the human eye, and by applying just the right amount of rudder in each case it uses less helm and steers a straighter course more consistently than the best of helmsmen. This results in a slight increase in speed, an appreciable reduction in fuel consumption, and less wear and tear


Watch keeping and Procedures

on the steering engine. The quartermaster can be relieved from steering and employed on ship's maintenance and routine duties about the bridge.


All ships of 10,000 gross tonnage and upwards shall carry a heading or track control system, or other means, to automatically control and keep to a heading and/or straight track. I The term Heading Control System differentiates the automatic pilot from systems designed to keep a ship on a pre-determined track throughout its passage, which are termed Track Control Systems. Track Control systems have to be interfaced with an electronic position fixing system. There is no requirement to fit a Track Control system to any class of ship. Track Control systems, however, include the functional capabilities of Heading Control systems i.e. the auto-pilot.


The schematic diagram (figure 1.1) is of one of the modern auto-pilot systems. This system as you would observe has controls from both wings for a single rudder in addition to the one from the main bridge itself. Follow-up in the diagram applies to steering by auto-pilot. Non-follow-up pilot means steering by the wheel manually. This type of auto-pilot would allow you to take control either from the wings or from the main bridge. The controls are synchronized and the pilot can be provided corrections for various aspects detailed below. The modern day pilot can steer using the heading provided by gyro or magnetic compass. When interfaced with electronic position fixing systems available it can also be programmed to alter course at predetermined way points. At this stage then it would be a track control system.

Ste e r Mas te r "

Control System with

Double Follow-Up AIM Onotle Noo-totlow-Up IV 110#10 #MMW0?o*KW%

Figure 1.1: Heading Control Systems (Auto Pilot)

Early Auto-pilots Early pilots were more analogue controlled and suffered from reduced sensitivity. Even then the course steered by such auto-pilots was considerably better than an expert helmsman. They were a little sluggish in rough seas as the equipment needed manual corrections on the yaw and rudder angle to be allowed for given deviation of the course. The change over system was mechanical and helmsman as well as watch keeping officers needed to be aware of the process to be followed. 12 In the modern auto-pilots also the change over process, though comparatively easy

is manual and has to be clearly understood. As a requirement of USCG all auto-pilots also need to be fitted with an alarm. When auto-pilot is engaged and the manual wheel is turned more than five degrees the alarm is to ring. Modern Auto-pilots Auto-pilots have the ability to detect changes in the ships heading in real time. A helmsman also detects a deviation in the course steered but it notices the changes after it has happened. However an auto-pilot would detect the changes as they are happening. The Versatile Multipurpose Marine Autopilot L y s

Masters Standing Orders

I =

Figure 1.2: Marine Auto-pilot Control and Display Unit

Marine Auto-pilot Control and Display Unit Marine auto-pilot is a general-purpose, multifunction, microprocessor controlled equipment. Created with the most modern computer programs to provide the highest fuel economy and low operational demands, NAVIPILOT V marine auto-pilot shown in Figure 1.2 is suitable for application on all classes of ships ranging from small yachts to the largest supertanker. The very modern design of the control unit includes a tailor-made and clearly laid out transflective liquid crystal display, which permanently indicates all information required by contemporary marine auto-pilot navigation demands Current heading (digital) Heading difference 10 analogue Set heading (course to steer) Rudder angle (analogue 35) Steering mode (AUTO/MAN/NAV) Adjustmentsare provided for the following parameters rudder limit yaw rudder counter rudder off course alarm magnetic variation 13

Watch keeping and Procedures


Change Over Alarm-autopilot Engaged Alarm The requirement for an auto - pilot alarm or indicator stated above stems directly from the M/T EXXON VALDEZ disaster. Evidence obtained following this incident supports the conclusion that the helmsman attempted to steer the ship with the auto-pilot still engaged, and that it may have taken up to 6 minutes before the helmsman and mate on watch realized that the rudder (or ship) was not responding to the ordered command. The vessel did not respond to the manual helm change because the auto-pilot system was engaged and the helm was bypassed. To prevent such an oversight, ships must be equipped with an alarm that indicates both visually and audibly that the auto-pilot is engaged when an effort is made to move the helm. This requirement is not intended to restrict the use of the auto-pilot any further than present regulations (33 CFR 164), nor should this requirement be confused with the alarm that several auto-pilot manufacturers have installed on their units to sound if the vessel course is lost by a certain set degree. The intention behind this provision is to allow for immediate rudder control in situations where the auto-pilot is left engaged inadvertently. Otherwise, if override control is not available, an audible and visual alarm must activate when the helm is moved. The following factors should assist in assessing compliance with this requirement. The Term "Automatic Manual Override" The term "automatic manual override" does not mean that the auto-pilot must be sensitive to the slightest manual movement of the helm. Since large rudder movements are normally necessary when operating at reduced speeds, it is considered satisfactory if the manual.auto-pilot override is achieved only when a substantial rudder movement is ordered. For compliance purposes, automatic manual override should be achieved with no greater than five degrees of rudder ordered at the helm. If the rudder does not respond to a helm movement of 5 degrees or more while the auto-pilot is engaged, the system should incorporate an audible and visible alarm that activates when the helm is moved and the auto-pilot is still engaged. It should be verified that the auto-pilot alarm, if equipped, is distinct from other bridge alarms. An auto-pilot alarm or override is only required for the standard mode of steering operation at the primary steering station. The override or alarm is not required for nonfollow-up control or other secondary or emergency modes of operation. Vessels are not required to have the alarm or override at bridge wing control stations. The ability to override auto-pilot control by using a separate means of control, such as non-follow-up control, does not meet the intent of this requirement. Autopilot override must be achieved while using the primary steering control (i.e. the ship's wheel).


(a) In areas of high traffic density, in conditions of restricted visibility and in all other hazardous navigational situations where the automatic pilot is used, it shall be possible to establish human control of the ships steering immediately.



(b) In circumstances as above, It shall be possible for the officer of the watch to available without delay the services of a qualified helmsman who shall be ready at all times to take over steering control. The change-over from automatic to manual steering and vice versa shall be made by or under the supervision of a responsible officer. An unmanned wheel also requires the OOW to monitor and correct the steering. This, too, may cause him to overlook other duties. Despite the ease with which modern steering gear can be changed from one system to another, major incidents are on record where lack of awareness of the precise steering system in operation has led to disaster.

Masters Standi

Auto-pilots have Contributed to Casualties Due to The improper use of, or over-reliance upon, the automatic pilot. Stranding and other casualties have occurred where automatic steering systems have been in use in restricted waters without supervision. Not having a person immediately available to take the wheel. Watch keepers were not familiar with the procedure or precautions necessary when changing over from the automatic pilot to manual steering.

attention is Drawn to The possible inability of an automatic pilot to closely maintain set headings when the ship is moving at low speed and/or in heavy seas. The performance of some automatic steering systems is very dependent upon correct control settings suited to the prevailing conditions of ship speed, displacement and particularly, the sea state. The use of the automatic pilot must be restricted to conditions within the designed parameters of the automatic control system. If ship owners do not use all the control options, which may be incorporated by the various manufacturers into a control console, positive measures should be taken to p revent r edund ant control settin gs b ein g us ed inadvertently, and the labeling arrangements should be amended accordingly. Masters and watchkeeping officers should be aware of the requirements here as well as the general need to ensure that arrangements are adequate for maintaining a safe navigational watch, as described in STCW95. Masters and all watchkeeping personnel must be familiar with the procedure for changing over from steering with the automatic pilot to hand steering (e.g. through a telemotor) and must ensure that sufficient time is allowed for the operation. Clear instructions must be provided at the control console, and special attention should be given to the procedure when joining a ship because it will vary depending on the particular equipment installed. The operations manual should be kept on the bridge and be readily available to masters and navigation watch-keeping personnel. Some steering gear control systems enable alignment to be maintained between the helm and the steering gear at all times, irrespective of whether the automatic pilot is or has been used. Where the design does not include this provision, suitable measures should be taken immediately before and after the changeover to ensure that the helm and steering gear are aligned. Attention is drawn to the need to test the manual steering. It is recommended that the steering should be "tested manually at least once a watch". The manual steering "over-ride alter course control" incorporated in the automatic pilot console should be operated once every watch.


Watch keeping and Procedures

Whilst the vessel is on passage and continuously using the automatic pilot, the manual steering gear is tested at least once a day. To meet this requirement the wheel (or equivalent) steering should be engaged at least once every day and the ship steered by hand. It is strongly recommended that a roster system should be employed so that all persons recognized and qualified should take a turn at this task. They should steer for a sufficient period for them to maintain their proficiency, including manoeuvring the vessel thus gaining experience in the vessel's response to helm orders.

Assignment Describe the auto-pilot on your ship and its various capabilities and the process of changing over. SAQ 4 (a) (b) What adjustments do the auto-pilot need? What do you understand by monitoring the steering of the ship when the ship is on Auto-pilot?

Many of these 'standing orders' help the anticipation of the OOW and explain what is wanted. Orders on your ship may vary, nevertheless such orders help the officers to know just what the master who is relying on them not only to manage but also to call him if they are unsure of anything expected from them. You are expected to read and sign the standing orders if you have fully understood them. You should go through them with other officers together explaining the 'whys' if there was any difficulty with English reading. Night orders would give courses, rpm, manned/UMS, clock changes' (always at 0200 as far as the log book is concerned) and anything that was going on fire pump under repair, cargo ventilation, gas freeing, hatch lids or doors that are deliberately left open, etc. A copy is normally sent to the owners for their retention. The aim of providing these standing orders and night orders is to spell out the framework within which the OOW or duty officer is expected to work. It avoids any questions of `but I wasn't told to do so' by the officers. For all of us in the bridge management team it removes any opportunity for anybody to suggest that we have been negligent in the conduct of our duties. Any such suggestion would be an affront to our individual professionalism. You have in this unit, also learnt about the heading control systems, the steering systems and precautions required when using auto pilots which are very important, as auto-pilot till this day regularly contributes to the shipping casualties.


SAQ 1 (a) Indicate after reading Masters orders in the action that is specified. (b) the action to be taken at alter course point, communications with the VTS authorities, lookouts and Helmsman to be on standby, process to follow passage plan, and likely dangers in the approaches, etc. The additional orders are written taking care of the particular circumstances, weather, navigation areas, and depend on the masters experience in these aspects.


SAQ 2 (a) Often the OOW may feel that calling the Master is an indication of his capability. It must be remembered that being in doubt is not the measure of capability. Remember the Master is in charge and calling him allows him to correct the situation if causing difficulty. Also remember that waiting till the last minute and then calling the Master is of no use. The master should clearly say e.g. "second mate, I am taking over" or that "Second mate take over please". At each of these, the OOW should clearly indicate the course the ship is steering and if the engine is on manoeuvring, then its status. He should also state the time the last position was plotted and the status of the various ships in the area. Similarly, when the master takes over the con the OOW should clearly indicate the status of course, speed and traffic in the vicinity. The loading plan shall be a part of the instructions. It should include safety precautions to be taken and segregation and separations that are to be applied to the different commodities. Ensure that no crew is working en deck. All openings are tight and on general cargo ships, ventilators are covered. Life-lines are rigged on open decks if not already rigged. Obtain weather report and record weather report every hour. To be described with sketches taking into account the system on your ship. In poor visibility when coasting, concerns are, collisions and groundings the orders therefore shall require position plotting, continuous use of Radar and plotting of target vessels. Calling master whenever the ship approaches any particular position or when the visibility reduces say less than three miles or when OOW considers the master's presence on the bridge necessary.

Masters Standing Orders



SAQ 3 (a)

(b) (c)

SAQ 5 (a) Steering of the ship is affected because of natural elements such as sea and swell and strong with conditions. These cause the ship to yaw and needs to correct by the auto-pilot. These corrections are available on the instrument. It must be remembered that if correction is over done the steering mechanism may also be over worked. Monitoring of the steering of the ship means ensuring that the auto-pilot is maintaining the course and is neither using helm too frequently nor is it allowing the ship to yaw too much.




Structure 2.1 Introduction

2.2 Responsibilities of the Officer of the Watch 2.3 Handing Over/Taking Over a Navigational Watch 2.4 Composition of the Navigational Watch 2.5 Need to Maintain the Continuity in Watch Keeping 2.6 Fitness for Duty and Fatigue 2.7 'Checks' on Navigational Status

2.8 Ocean Passage 2.9 Coastal Passage and Congested Waters 2.10 Vessel Arriving Port 2.11 Rounds in Accommodation and on Deck 2.12 The Bridge Team 2.13 Summary 2.14 Answers to SAQs

Various aspects of bridge watch keeping were covered in BNA - 022. In this module, we shall go through a few more steps to understand the process. Objectives After studying this unit, you should be able to establish watch keeping arrangements and procedures, list and explain responsibilities of the officer of the watch in all waters, and describe composition of the navigational watch.


The officer of the watch should understand the following (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) (i) Need to maintain continuity of the watch. Calling the relief. Fitness for duty. Key elements of Handing/Taking over the navigation watch. Carry out 'Checks' on navigational status. Planning ahead for eventualities during the watch. Be prepared to take appropriate action. Vessel arriving port. Need to take rounds in accommodation and on deck.

Watch keeping and Procedures

Under the STCW you are primarily responsible at all times for the safe navigation of the ship with particular regards to avoidance of collision and stranding. As master's representative, you are in charge of the bridge and therefore in charge of the bridge team, until you are properly relieved. You must ensure strict -compliance with Company's shipboard operational procedure pertaining to the navigational watchkeeping or bridge procedures. Master's Standing Orders. Maintaining a Safe Manning Level for bridge watch at all times for the prevailing circumstances and conditions.

Wrong actions on your part could be detrimental to the safety of life property and protection of environment. It is imperative that you fulfill your duties to best of your ability. For maintaining a safe watch, you :dust keep in mind the three letters ASK : A for attitude, S for skill, and K for knowledge. Accident statistics indicate that the majority collisions and grounding incidents are attributed to carelessness or a complacent attitude and not due to lack of knowledge and skill. Upon departure from a port, when the vessel reaches deep and safe waters, a course is set and engines brought to maximum revolutions. The Master writes down his instructions in the bridge order book or advises verbally when he needs to be called. He then hands over the watch to the Officer in-charge of the navigational watch (OOW). The OOW, having assisted the Master/Pilot to navigate through the narrow channels or confined waters of the port, now has the duty to : Inform Port Control VTS pilot disembarked. Plot the position at the start of the sea passage. Bring the distance measuring log in operation and confirm its reading and input. Verify the ship's intended track. Verify errors of gyro and magnetic compass and adjust the course being steered. (This is then marked on the course board). Recheck on the readiness of vessel for sea including (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Securing of cargo gear, Battening down of hatches, Closing down of water tight doors, Lowering of flags, and Securing of pilot ladder, anchors. gangway, any loose ropes hanging override or any other loose items on deck.

Though these processes should have been completed prior sailing, the same need to be checked again and a positive report about such securing obtained and entered in the log. When satisfied, the OOW shall inform the Master and take over the watch.


At sea, the vessel is operational throughout the 'day and night. The vessel is navigated in accordance with the requirements of the planned passage. The OOW maintains the navigational watch during his hours of duty as per watchkeeping arrangement established by the Master. A series of activities are carried out during each watch.

Bridge Procedure


At the end of the watch, the OOW hands over the navigation of the vessel to the relieving officer. Handing/Taking over a navigational watch is of great importance. This is an appropriate time to check : The position, Set due to current and the wind, Weather and visibility, Course and speed, Errors on the compasses, Status of the navigational equipment, and The traffic in the area.

Such checks allow correction to prevent continuation of any error. It also requires that the watch keepers should also check that : The vessel is following the planned passage, All the risks have been recognized and the preventive measures are being taken, and The equipment is functioning normally.

Key Elements As stated earlier, maintenance of continuity is paramount. The changing over of watch is an opportune time to check all aspects of navigation and to ensure that no errors or omissions are being carried over. The errors or omissions though not intentional could cause serious consequences and therefore need a closer review. The types of errors or omissions that have been made are : Ambiguity in position fixes due to error in the plotting methods; Position fixes from various sources not matching, Position fixes being obtained from only one source and not being verified by other navigational aids, Charted depths not matching with the obtained soundings, Error on equipment, such as error of compass, being wrongly applied, etc.

The watch-keeping officer may carry on with these errors without realising the same. This is the reason that the relieving officer is required to review the status all over again. These errors are not figments of imaginations. An officer laid a course on the chart as 256 but set the auto-pilot to 265. The error was observed only at the handing over process.


Watch keeping and Procedures

Distractions could be Caused due to Workload, stress or fatigue, Unexpected VHF call which occupies the full attention of the OOW and results in the exclusion of more urgent needs, Unexpected calls from engine room, Inadequacy and confusion due to lack of experience, These errors, if not rectified in time, could result in formation of an error chain. An effective way to detect an error is by cross checks. Error thus detected can be eliminated. The effective time to correct such errors is at the time of handing over/taking over watch as the crosschecks can now be carried out by a second person.

Check on errors are traditionally explained as "a stitch in time saves nine" or " but for the horse shoe nail the battle was lost." This process of error proliferation occurs every day and some times it is fatal. The key elements to successful handing/taking over and to reduce possibility of errors therefore are : Carry out 'Checks' on navigational status, "Plan' for eventualities during the watch, and 'Be Prepared' for taking appropriate action.

Process of Handing/Taking Over a Watch (a) (b) (c) (d) Receive true course, gyro course and compass course from the outgoing 00W. Ensure helmsman/lookout is capable of carrying out his duty and has taken over duty properly. Read, understand and sign the Master's standing instructions and daily orders. Check the ship's position, planned course and course being steered by gyro and magnetic compass. Ensure the course board is updated with current courses. Check error on compass and that it is being applied correctly. Verify the speed and draught of the ship. Ensure present draft is prominently displayed on the draft board. Observe prevailing weather and sea condition, visibility, sea-state, tides and their effect on present course. Understand the operational status of all navigation equipment. Be aware of the presence and movement of all traffic in vicinity. Be aware of conditions and hazards likely to be encountered during the watch. (k) (1) Be aware of the effects of heel, trim, water density and squat on under keel clearance. Understand the state of internal ship systems, engine and cargo monitoring, communications and crew availability.

(e) (f) (g) (h) (i)

(m) Ensure that the required lookout and helmsman, as appropriate, are on duty, alert and properly instructed.

(n) (o) (p) (q)

Obtain from outgoing OOW verbal instructions, if any, and occurrences of importance during previous watch. Read log entries made by outgoing OOW. Take full charge of the watch on time. If at any time the OOW is to be relieved when a manoeuvre or other action to avoid any hazard is taking place, the relief of that officer shall be deferred until such action has been completed. Obtain a positive report about rounds made in accommodation, remote areas and where necessary, on deck.

Bridge Procedure


Read the log entries made at the end of watch by OOW, copy them in your technical journal and explain them.


An effective bridge organization should efficiently manage all resources available to the bridge and promote good communications and teamwork. The bridge organization should be properly supported by a clear navigation policy incorporating shipboard operation procedures, in accordance with the company's safety management system onboard ship as required by the ISM code. In determining that the composition of navigational watch is adequate to ensure maintenance of a proper lookout, you should consider relevant factors including the following: Visibility, state of weather and sea. Traffic density and other activities occurring in the area in which the ship is navigating. The additional workload caused by the nature of the ship's functions, immediate operating requirements and anticipated manoeuvres. The fitness for duty of any crewmembers on call that are assigned as members of the watch. Knowledge of and confidence in the professional competence of the ship's officers and crew. The experience of each OOW, and the familiarity of the OOW with the ship's equipment, procedures and manoeuvring capability. Activities taking place on board the ship at any particular time, including radio communication activities, and the availability of assistance to be summoned immediately to the bridge when necessary. The operational status of bridge instrumentation and controls, including alarm systems. Rudder and propeller control and ship manoeuvring characteristics. The size of the ship and the field of vision available from the conning position. The configuration of the bridge, to the extent such configuration might inhibit a member of the watch from detecting by sight or hearing any external development.

Anyother relevant standard, procedure or guidance relating to watch-keeping arrangements and fitness for duty. 23

Watch keeping and Procedures


In the performance of his duties, the OOW carries out a number of functions almost simultaneously. This naturally keeps him quite busy. Let us list out the number of tasks/functions that demand his attention. The Master being the overall in charge needs to be kept informed of progress of the voyage. The information that is required by the Master is normally recorded as standing orders or the specific orders in Bridge Order book or on some ships called Bridge Night order book. Navigational Safety of the Vessel requires that The position is monitored at all times, The navigation instruments are working satisfactorily, Appropriate lookout is maintained, and The pre-planned course is actually made good.

Maintenance of Internal Security requires that The safety of the crew is ensured, General fire watch is maintained, and Engine room is kept informed of any changes.

Safety of the Cargo requires that The hatches, tanks and openings are secured weather tight, Ventilation is provided where required, and The deck cargo, where carried, is secured properly.

General Safety of the Vessel requires that Weather watch is maintained, and Where necessary, precautions against wet weather, rolling or pitching, are taken in sufficient time so as not to cause damage to persons, the ship or the cargo.

Attend to Information External to the Ship including Navigational warnings, Latest weather reports, and Communications with charterers, owners, other vessels in vicinity, VTS. port control, pilots, etc.

Records to be Maintained Some of the orders may be of lasting importance and need to be noted in the bridge order book. For example, maintaining a minimum specified safe distance from all traffic during a passage across ocean. Orders/Information of current importance may only be marked as annotations on the chart or may be passed on verbally. These may include the times of calling the master at course alteration points. The OOW needs to be aware of such orders/information. Changes of Status Monitoring the changes in situation as the status of the situation may be different towards the end of a watch from what it was at the start of the watch. The changes in such situation may include 24 Change in draft due to ballast/deballast operation,

Changes in course, deviation to another port,

Change in the errors on navigational equipment, Change in weather, and Change in movement of vessels in vicinity, etc. The relieving OOW should be familiar with these changes. All the aspects need to be watched and cared for by every watchkeeping officer, irrespective of his rank or experience. There is, therefore, a need to maintain continuity in the watch. This can be achieved only by ensuring that a proper handing/taking over process is followed. Calling the Relief The standby man on the bridge calls the relief. On most of the ships it is done on the internal telephone. Where it is necessary to send the standby man, the OOW should ensure that it is safe to do so. In order to provide the relieving officer sufficient time to freshen up and be ready, the time of calling is normally decided among the watchkeepers. Where there is any doubt, it should be clarified be 'ore the relief goes to sleep. Where necessary, follow-up calls should be made for heavy sleepers and the relief should be informed of a change in weather conditions so that he arrives prepared with raincoat or dons warm clothing accordingly. Remember Weather changes in some areas of the world can be quite dramatic and the person sleeping in his cabin would be unaware of the same. The relieving OOW should arrive early on the bridge in order to (a) (b) (c) (d) Read, understand and sign the Master's night orders, Sight the chart for any annotations, Inquire about any verbal orders, and In general, get used to the bridge situation.

Bridge Procedure

At night, the watch shall not be taken over till the relieving OOW gets used to night vision. STCW9' requires that the relieving officer shall personally satisfy himself regarding : Standing orders and other special instructions of the Master relating to navigation of the ship; Position, course, speed and draught of the ship; Prevailing and predicted tides, currents, weather, visibility and the effect of these factors upon course and speed; Procedures for the use of main engines to manoeuvre when the main engines are on bridge control; and Ensure his watchkeeping team is fit and capable of performing the watch.


It is a well-known fact that prolonged mental and physical activity or inadequate rest can induce fatigue. Fatigue causes an individual to become so tired that he is unable to carry out his duties efficiently. The danger of mental fatigue is that it can creep up on individuals without them being aware of it. Consequently, an individual may focus attention only on what he considers important whereas other peripheral warnings may go unnoticed. This is a dangerous situation particularly where the task on hand demands added vigilance.


Watch keeping and Procedures

On specialised cargo carriers, prolonged hours of work is a common phenomenon. Masters many times alter the conventional watch keeping hours in order to provide sufficient rest to the watchkeepers and provide a change in routine. In order to maintain fitness for duty the administration ant 1-e management company should : (a) (b) Establish and enforce rest periods for watchkeeping personnel; and Require that watch systems be so arranged that the efficiency of all watchkeeping personnel be not impaired by fatigue and that duties are so organised that the first watch at the commencement of a voyage and subsequent relieving watches are sufficiently rested and otherwise fit for duty.

Note the words "at the commencement of the voyage." Very often the entire ship's complement, including officers and other watch keepers, are busy in completing cargo operations and other essential tasks before sailing. The Master may therefore specifically rest some of the officers and watch keepers so that they can keep watch immediately on sailing. Fitness of Relief Watch When handing over the watch, it is imperative that the OOW ensures that the relieving officer and members of his team are in complete fitness and are capable of performing the navigational watch at sea. In this regard, the officer in charge of the navigational watch shall not hand over the watch to the relieving officer if there are reasons to believe that the latter is not capable of carrying out the watchkeeping duties effectively. In such case the Master shall be notified. This is not as easy as it sounds. If the relieving officer is your senior, you may have to use some tact to ensure that he goes back to sleep and the Master makes some other arrangements. The relieving officer shall ensure that the members of the relieving watch are fully capable of performing their duties. Whenever there is any doubt the Master shall be notified. Particular attention shall be given to the adjustment of night vision of the relieving team. Relieving officers shall not take over the watch until their vision is fully adjusted to the light conditions.


In order to perform efficient checks on the navigational status of the vessel the OOW should report to bridge about 15 minutes before commencement of watch and check the navigational situation including, but not limited to the following: (1) Inspect the chart to ensure (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (2) 26 Appropriate scale in use, Charts in use are corrected up to date, Inspect and actually verify the course/s laid, Verify the previous positions marked on the chart and ascertain the course and speed being made good, Inspect the set/drift experienced, and Check the charts to see which lights will be seen during the watch and which navigational hazards to expect during the watch.

Compare the above observation to ensure that it is according to the passage plan.

(3) Read, understand and sign Master's night orders. (4) Plot present position and ensure that it conforms to earlier charted positions, in so doing verity. (a) (b) (c) The depth obtained from echo sounder matches with charted position (adjusted for vessel's draft and location of transducer). Position obtained from other sources conforms to charted position. Check azimuth book for error obtained and that it is being correctly applied.

Bridge Procedure

(5) Check the steering including (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) (i) Course being steered correctly, Auto-pilot settings are appropriate as per weather conditions, Auto-pilot is steering well as per present settings, Course board is upda :ed for current courses, Check on operational status of navigational equipment, Time and course being displayed on the course recorder is set correctly, Check that VHF watch is being maintained on channel 16, Check latitude/speed input to gyro is correctly fed, and Check navigation lights sentinel for bulbs glowing and test failure buzzer.

(6) Check that the inputs to radar, GPS, course recorder are appropriate Normally most integrated navigational equipment relies on data that is supplied automatically. However, this needs to be checked. One way to ensure is to ascertain that the logs and gyros are working in efficient condition. Remember we are moving to an automated world to ease our labour but this brings along more monitoring in any case. Note in your journal the data that each of the instruments receives from external source. (7) Use and check of main engines The main engines are under the control of the OOW. This brings some responsibilities as each ship's engines have peculiar requirements and it is necessary to familiarise with them. However, all said and done the engines are at your disposal. Be familiar with the procedures for the use of main engines to manoeuvre when the main engines are on bridge control. Check the tachometer for the rpm and the status of engine to ensure that they are in accordance with planned passage. Check that the UMS control settings are appropriate. (8) Check on the operational condition of any safety equipment being used including Smoke detector Inert Gas System Engine room fire alarm on UMS vessels and the emergency STOP device Frequently step outside the wheelhouse and make yourself familiar with the situation. Simultaneously ensure that Navigation lights are burning brightly, Shore lights-and navigational marks in the vicinity are identified,


~ %

a t c h

k e e p i n g

a n d

P r o c e d u r e s

The presence of other vessels in vicinity is detected by sight or by hearing, The movement of traffic in vicinity is identified and verified with the radar picture. Ensure that the lookout is alert and aware of his functions.

Planning for Eventualities During the Watch Having looked at the routine checks, we should now see the situations, which arise unplanned or for which we should be prepared. A vessel on a coastal passage is likely to pickup shore lights, navigational marks, etc. As a part of the passage plan, it is necessary to know its characteristics and calculate the raising/dipping distances and the likely bearing at which it will be raised. At the same time, the lookout should be informed of approximate direction in which this light will be picked up. Navigational watch can be efficiently executed if it is properly planned. Upon confirming the present position on the chart, the OOW should work out estimated positions at certain time intervals, say every half an hour, and at the end of the watch. He should inspect the chart to identify : The depths to be encountered during the watch, Any significant depth changes and times of its occurrence, The conditions and hazards likely to be encountered during the watch, Any lights, conspicuous buoys, landmarks that may be picked up during the watch, the characteristics and time of its occurrence and estimated time of arrival at such positions, Check on the operational condition of all navigational equipment likely to be used during the watch,

Familiarisation with the weather forecast and tidal streams to be encountered, Inspect and confirm safe passing distance off dangers, Plan of action to enter or leave a traffic separation scheme, Reporting of positions to vessel traffic services, if any. Be Prepared for Taking Appropriate Action Being prepared means to keep the situation under control. Situations do vary from time to time. OOW should be aware of the changes. Some of these are discussed below. Deviation of the Vessel from the Track The vessel is likely to deviate from the track due to forces of current and wind. The OOW should plot the vessel's position frequently to detect the deviation and apply corrections to bring the vessel back on the track. Increase of Traffic Density Where the traffic density is increasing, call the helmsman to the bridge, switch on the Radar and if warranted alert the engine room. Reduction of Visibility Call the lookout man or post additional lookouts, alert the Master and the engine room, if the traffic density is also heavy, alert other 0OWs to assist you. When 28

necessary make appropriate sound signals, switch on the navigation lights even in daytime as when close quarter situation develops, the navigation lights indicate the aspect better. Reduce speed to safe speed. Onset of Heavy Weather Call out the crew to tighten the deck cargo lashings, trim ventilators, ensure that all weather tight doors and hatch coamings and tank openings are closed properly, secure sounding pipes and air pipes, ensure that the anchors are properly secured and the spurling pipes are closed. Inform Master of the action taken and if the ship is labouring heavily, CALL THE MASTER. Under such circumstances the course and or speed needs to be adjusted to make the vessel ride comfortably.

Bridge Procedure


Watchkeeping during ocean passages will require all the activities related to performing a navigational watch as discussed previously. In addition, priority is given to the following Lookout During ocean passages, the principal threat to a vessel is the risk of collision. It is of utmost importance that an approaching vessel is detected early and avoiding action is taken in sufficient time. The emphasis therefore must be given to keeping an efficient lookout. COLREGs Rule 5 States
Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look out by sight and by hearing as well as by all available means appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and the risk of collision.

Priorities between visual lookout and radar lookout vary under different conditions of visibility. Electronic Navigation Aids When out of the sight of land, the navigational accuracy depends greatly on instruments. It is therefore necessary that the officer of the watch monitors the equipment and ensures its accuracy. During each watch, the principal instruments directing the navigation of the ship should be checked with other sources of position fixing as well as with estimated position. Any deviation detected should be investigated and corrected. Gyro-compass is more commonly used to steer the vessel during ocean passages. It is therefore important to check the compass error, compare the compasses and monitor the courses steered. Celestial Navigation In case of failure of electronic navigational aids, the only recourse a navigator has, to fix his vessel's position, is with the help of celestial bodies. There is therefore a need to practice this art. Learn to calculate position based on this observation as accurately as possible and cross check positions obtained from electronic navigational aids.


During coastal passage, the OOW is generally busy plotting the vessel's position, manoeuvring the vessel when required, to avoid collision and to alter the course as per passage plan. He therefore has little time to do other duties not related to navigation. Time management becomes very essential to ensure that all the navigational tasks are 29

Watch keeping and Procedures

carried out at the appropriate time and in accordance with the required accuracy and efficiency. Where the OOW has to plot the ship's position, he shall ensure that the lookout is alert. He shall also assess the situation around him and avoid being absent when ships are approaching and a risk of collision is present. This again calls for planning so that collision avoidance and position fixing get equal priority. In cases when the OOW finds it difficult to manage both, he should not hesitate to call the Master. OOW must understand that calling for assistance is not a sign of inefficiency. Continuous monitoring of vessel's position for safe navigation and collision avoidance is of equal importance. The officer of the watch will therefore have to understand how to set the priorities and how to manage time. In coastal waters, the navigator has to allow for : Navigation in close proximity to navigational hazards viz. shallow waters, oil fields, etc. This is best done when these are marked out conspicuously when passage planning. Strong tidal currents; Compliance with traffic separation schemes or prohibited zones; Changes in the way the position is ascertained Identification of land marks and the navigational aids; Plotting of position frequently ano comparing the same with various methods available Adjustment of courses to allow for deviations; Increase in traffic density including the presence of fishing vessels and or sailing vessels as on the Indian coast Necessity of hand steering and therefore the additional requirement of a stand-by seafarer on or off the bridge. Reports to be made to VTS, where required; Take avoiding action such that sufficient depth is maintained under keel. Plan in advance to ensure vessel does not come in close proximity to other navigational hazards.

Note Under keel clearance is not totally covered in your course but it is sufficient to mention here that the vessel's draft increases in direct proportion to the cube of the speed and the depth of the water. Be prepared to use the engines if necessary, to ensure adequate sea room. Use the largest scale chart suitable for that area and corrected up-to-datc Plot vessel's position at regular intervals and more frequently when in confined waters. The position shall be compared with the estimated position. Adjust course if vessel is found to have deviated from the planned track due to any cross track error Take a fix at every alteration of course and at regular intervals thereafter. Check soundings and log at regular intervals, record them. Where navaids are available, vessel's position to be fixed by using more than one method. Where necessary allow for set and drift to keep vessel on the planned track. Identify positively all relevant navigational marks.

Call the Master before a potentially dangerous situation becomes critical. Study the chart and expect to pick up landmarks before they are actually seen.

Bridge Procedure


The following is a checklist prepared on one of the ships for arrival port. Do check the list. Note in your technical journal the process of checking every item on the checklist. Preparation for Arrival in Port (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18) (19) (20) (21) (22) (23) (24) (25) (26) Port information available. Instructions for pilot/tugs/berthing received and acknowledged. Latest weather reports obtained. Tides and currents for port/adjacent areas calculated. Calculated/known minimum and maximum depths of water in port approaches channels and at berth. Large scale charts for port's pilot age water available. Master/Pilot information exchange forms prepared. Any restrictions on draught, air draught within limits for bridges and berth, trim, speed, entry times, etc. Relevant approach charts and nautical publications are corrected up to date and course laid off. The latest navigational messages received for the area. ETA sent to pilot station at appropriate time with all relevant information required e.g. details of dangerous/hazardous good carried. Pilot ladder ready. All navigational equipment has been tested. Course recorder has been checked. Clocks have been synchronized. Internal communication equipment has been tested. Signaling equipment, including flags/lights have been checked. Deck lighting has been tested. Mooring machinery tested, lines prepared. Manual Steering has been tested and engaged in sufficient time for the helmsman to become accustomed before manoeuvring commences. The crew has been advised of the time of "stand by" for entering the port. The VHF channels for the various services (e.g. VTS, pilot, tugs, berthing instructions) have been noted and a radio check carried out. Cargo handling gear in state of readiness. Engine room has been notified at least one hour prior arrival. Engine tested for satisfactory operation ahead and astern. Steering gear system has been tested (both motors be running when manoeuvring). 31

Watch keeping and Procedures

(27) Anchoring/berthing, establish of proper anchorage. (28) Which side to jetty? (29) Ship or shore gangway. (30) Mooring lines. (31) Accommodation ladder. (32) Cargo Documents ready.


There are many parts of the ship, which are not visited regularly. Small deviations if any, not detected and corrected in time, may lead to a disaster. There is, therefore, a need to ensure that everything is under control in remote parts of the vessel. Rounds should therefore be made in the accommodation, decks, galley, stores, etc. Some vessels carry deck cargo. The lashing on these becomes loose due to vessel's movement in the seaway. These need to be checked and tightened from time to time. The OOW upon being relieved should therefore take a round on deck and in accommodation. When taking rounds, the OOW should ensure that (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) No fire hazard exists. No apparent sign of flooding of vessel. Nothing unusual is detected including unsecured door, leaking hydraulic line, loose electric connection. No loose or unsecured articles are detected in common rooms. Deck cargo lashings are tight and are in order. If necessary, the crew should be called out and lashings tightened in presence and to the satisfaction of relieved OOW. A positive report of this should be made to the bridge.


All ship's personnel who have bridge navigational watch duties will be part of the bridge team. The master and pilot (s), as necessary, will support the team, which will comprise the OOW, a helmsman and lookout (s) as required. The OOW is in charge of the bridge and the bridge team for that watch, until relieved. It is important that the bridge team works together closely, both within a particular watch and across watches, since decisions made on one watch may have an impact on another watch. The bridge team also has an important role in maintaining communication with the engine room and other operating areas on the ship. Duties and Fitness of Watch Keeping Officers In order to maintain a safe watch, the following are among your primary duties: equipments. Your watch keeping duties are to include the following Maintaining a proper lookout, General surveillance of the ship, Collision avoidance in compliance with COLREGs, Recording bridge activities, and Making frequent periodic checks on the navigational aids and bridge 32

Remember (a) (b) You are responsible for safety of lives of your crew, property and the environment. An error on your part may cause a disaster including deaths. You should be well versed with the handling characteristics of your ship including procedures for use of engine in an emergency. You will have no time to learn the ship's manoeuvring characteristics in an emergency. A great number of accidents have occurred because of over reliance on the automatic navigational aids and other automation. Automation is excellent and today it is not viable to run a ship without automation, but it is extremely dangerous to over rely on automation. You must be a good monitor and supervisor to ensure that any malfunctioning is promptly detected and rectified. As navigational watch keeping officer, you continue to be responsible for the safe navigation of the ship, despite the presence of the master on the bridge. The master will specifically inform if he wants to take over this responsibility.

Bridge Procedure



Navigation General It is important that you execute the passage plan as prepared and monitor the progress of the ship relative to that plan. Deviation from the Plan If you have to deviate from the passage plan for any reason, you should return to the original plan as soon as practicably possible. If you need to deviate from the original plan for a longer time, due consideration must be given to all the dangers, restrictions, etc. The deviated plan should be made in the same manner as a new plan. A briefing to this effect should be given to the other concerned team members. Do you Know the Grounding Accident of Torrey Canyon? The Tanker Torrey Canyon ran aground on the 18`h March 1966 off Scilly Isles. On making the landfall, the vessel was found to be about 17 miles off the course. The watch officer altered the course to port in order to come back to the original track. However, he decided to take the different route in order to save I some time. The deviated route was decided without considering the proper passage planning procedures_ The result was a disaster both for the ship and for the environment. Monitoring the Progress of the Ship Good Navigational Practices Demand that You are well versed with and fully aware of the capabilities of your engines, steering systems, turning circle, stopping distances, navigational aids and any other navigational systems being used. Monitor their performance continuously. You should cross check the position fixes using independent source of information. This is particularly important when electronic position fixing systems such as GPS, LORAN-C are used. Visual position fixing must be used for cross checking the electronic aid fixes, You should keep in mind that automation and automated navigational equipment is very good but over reliance on it can be very, dangerous., In most of the cases, these work well however, any rrialfunctiom should be promptly noticed and appropriate actions taken.


Watch keeping and Procedures

Navigation in Coastal or Restricted Waters Navigating in coastal/restricted waters you should (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) (i) 0) Follow advice/recommendation as given in sailing direction. Calculate the tides and currents in advance. Obtain weather information including visibility. Identify primary and secondary position fixing*methods and their accuracy. Note time of passing of danger points and arrange for any extra precautions to be taken. Obtain information, if available, on likely traffic. Arrange for monitoring local/coastal broadcasts. Paiticipate in area reporting system including vessel traffic management system (VTMS). Give required notice for use of the engines. Post extra lookouts, if necessary.

(k) Remember a helmsman engaged in steering is not a look out and STOW does not permit one-man bridge during the darkness period. (1) (m) Use the most suitable largest scale chart available for the area. Plot position at frequent interval so that at no stage there is chance of grounding or coming dangerously close to any danger. Positively identify all navigational marks. Comply with the Coastal water routing scheme, ship reporting systems and vessel traffic systems. Give due consideration to squat and calculate it well in advance. Remember that squat is proportional to the square of the ship's speed and that the speed is the only function that determines squat that can be varied as the other two functions viz. block coefficient and draft can not be varied. Take into account and allow for shallow water effects such as bank effect, smelling the ground, etc.

(n) (o) (p)

Take into Account Time and efforts needed to keep radio watch keeping and Radio Communications. Pollution Prevention and emergency situation. Cargo monitoring if applicable viz. securing of cargoes, refrigerated cargo temperatures, etc. Monitor and control safety systems e.g. fire extinguishing system, fire petrol, etc. Bridge should never be left unattended. However, in a ship with separate chartroom, a visit to that chartroom may be made for a short period to carry out necessary navigational duties after strictly ensuring that it is safe to do so.

Have you heard of the following accident, which occurred off the coast of Australia? 34

A second officer, soon after taking over the midnight watch, left the bridge and descended two decks down to his cabin to get a jacket and some cigarettes. There was no lookout. While in cabin, he decided to smoke a cigarette and thereafter fell off to sleep. Next, every one woke up at 0515 hrs when the ship had run hard aground. The second officer slept through the watch, no quarter call was given to the chief officer, he slept through an intended 30 degrees alteration and he also slept through the grounding. Your Duty and the Master It should be clearly established in the company's safety management system that the master has the overriding authority and responsibility to make decisions with respect to safety and pollution prevention. The master should not be constrained by a ship owner or charterer from taking any decision, which in his professional judgement is necessary for safe navigation, in particular in severe weather and in heavy seas. The bridge team should have a clear understanding of the information that should be routinely reported to the master, of the requirements to keep the master fully informed, and of the circumstances under which the master should be called (Please refer Figure 2.1).

Bridge Procedure

Figure 2.1 : Bridge System


Watch keeping and Procedures

When the master has arrived on the bridge, his decision to take over control of the bridge from the OOW must be clear and unambiguous. Your Duty and the Pilot Once the pilot has embarked and has arrived on the bridge the pilot joins the bridge team temporarily and should be supported accordingly. Study the pilot card and keep it ready for handing over. The pilot has a specialized knowledge of navigation in local waters. Depending on local pilotage laws, the master may delegate the conduct of the ship to the pilot who directs the navigation of the ship in close co-operation with the master and or the OOW. It is important that the responsibilities of the pilot and the master are agreed and clearly understood. The presence of a pilot does not relieve the master or the OOW of their duties and obligations for the safety of the ship. Both should be prepared to exercise their right not to proceed to a point where the ship would not be able to manoeuvre, or would be in any danger. SAQ 1 Emergencies do occur and it is necessary for a watchkeeping officer to be ready for them. Describe the actions that you would take in the following : (a) (b) (c) (d) Vessels starts to swing rapidly and the off course alarm is ringing. After sunset, the navigation light sentinel gives an alarm and visually it appears that the forward masthead light is not functioning. On plotting the positions by visual bearings and GPS, it is observed that a difference of three miles is observed. Your charts are corrected up to date. In the approaches to a port, it is observed that a buoy in the channel is displaying lights of a wreckmarking buoy but it is not marked on the chart. In the middle of your watch, you are feeling very sick


As an officer on watch, under the standards of training, certification and watch keeping, you are responsible for the safe navigation of the ship. In this unit you have learnt about your responsibilities while keeping a navigational watch, while handling it over to your reliever and the need for maintaining an effective bridge organization at all times when the vessel is at sea for her safe navigator). The officer on watch must be fit for duty and discharge his watch-keeping duties efficiently,always remembering that he is responsible for the not only the safety of lives of the ship's crew and property, but also for the environmental pollution which the ship may cause.


SAQ I (a) Switch over to hand steering, call the master, check if the steering is working, if in traffic bring engines on stand by and inform the engine room of the malfunction of the steering so that they can depute someone to check. Switch to the second light provided, if the same is also not functioning; then send out a message to all ships indicating that your ship is plying only with one masthead light, call the master and the engineers to make effective repair to electrical circuit.




Recheck the visual position by an alternate method such as two ranges from Radar or by LORAN. It is possible that the GPS has developed a fault without giving an alarm. In coastal waters call the master if close to danger. Accept that light as a warning, proceed with caution, engines on stand by, recheck with port authorities and if there is not sufficient sea room stop engines and call the master. Call the Master and tell him your problem. Do not feel embarrassed as you may not be functioning correctly and it is unsafe to continue watchkeeping and the Master shall understand the same.

Bridge Procedure





Structure 3.1 Introduction

3.2 Historical Background 3.3 Process for Introduction of a Routeing System 3.4 Description of a Routeing Measures 3.5 Routeing Systems General Guidelines on Navigation 3.6 Ship Position Reporting Systems
3.6.1 Reporting Systems 3.6.2 Description 3.6.3 Format of Messages 3.6.4 Indian Ship Position and Information Reporting System (INSPIRES)

3.7 Weather Routeing for Ship

3.7.1 Weather Planning 3.7.2 Advantages of Weather Routeing 3.7.3 Weather Routeing Taking into Account the Performance of the Vessel 3.7.4 Sources for Long Term Forecast 3.7.5 Master's Role 3.7.6 Effect of Waves on Ships Progress

3 .8 Sum m ar y 3.9 Answers to SAQs

Routeing systems and ship reporting systems are established to improve safe passages for ships and thereby the safety of life at sea, safety and efficiency of navigation, and protect the marine environment. In this self learning module, we shall study the ship routeing systems, ship position reporting systems and weather routeing systems. All these are related to the ships progress directly as The routeing system ensures that ships follow planned routes without disturbing other traffic and protect the environment. Ship reporting system ensures that the progress of the ship is provided to the SAR authorities and the ship manager/owner, and Weather routeing on the other hand ensures that the ships get advance information from meteorological and marine experts ashore on the route to follow taking into account the adverse weather that the ship may encounter and the capability of a particular ship.

Routeing systems are established to improve safety of life at sea, safety and efficiency of navigation, and to increase the protection of the marine environment. Once upon a time, ships were smaller with lesser drafts and less dangerous cargoes on board. However, as the ship numbers increased with variety in their speeds and capacity it became necessary to regulate the traffic in congested areas and to ensure that ships carrying hazardous cargoes did not endanger the sensitive maritime environment.


Watchkeeping and Procedures

After studying this unit, you should be able to explain the historical aspects of routeing, describe process which is followed for introduction of a routeing system, describe in general a routeing measure, and explain legal aspects of navigating an area where routeing is made mandatory.


Early History In the early part of the century when we did not have the electronic aids for fixing the ship's position, a large number of passenger ships crossed the Atlantic at a high speed on a great circle track. As all ships ere following the same track, the shipowners and masters were naturally worried about collisions in an area where adverse weather and fogs were common. In 1898, to keep the ships out of trouble, shipping companies operating passenger ships across the North Atlantic followed an industry agreed eastbound and westbound routes in the north Atlantic. Passenger ships followed these routes voluntarily. Related provisions were subsequently incorporated into the original SOLAS Convention. The 1960 SOLAS Convention referred to ships' routing measures in busy areas on both sides of the North Atlantic. The convention urged the owners of all ships crossing the Atlantic to follow the recognized routes and to ensure adherence to such routes in converging areas, so far as circumstances permitted. Collisions in Congested Waterways Meanwhile, analysis of casualty statistics was showing that collisions between ships were becoming a worrying cause of accidents, especially in congested waterways. In 1961 the-Liverpool Underwriters Association reported 21 collisions responsible for total loss of ships in that one-year alone compared with a five-year average of 13.8 collisions. A report on tanker hazards presented to the United States Treasury in 1963 concluded that most accidents were due to human error, with speed in congested waters being a principal cause. The report said that: "There were too many diverse "rules of the road", The width of navigable channels had generally not kept pace with the increase in sizes of ships, and Not enough was being done to use modern communications."

Efforts by the Navigation Profession At the same time, the Institutes of Navigation of the Federal Republic of German}. France and the United Kingdom had begun a stud y on improving safet y measures in congested areas, such as the En glish Channel. The group came up with a series of proposals, including the idea that ships using congested areas should follow a
y system of one-way traffic schemes, like those being used in on roads in cities.

The proposals were favorably received by the Maritime Safety Committee of IMO (then IMCO) in 1964 and governments were urged to advise their ships to follow the routes suggested by the group. In 1966, the Institutes published a report proposing traffic separation schemes in a number of areas and in June 1967, a traffic separation scheme was established in 40

the Dover Straits. A significant fall was seen in the number of collisions between ships on opposing courses. Although most ships follow the rules, a few "rouges" don't. The Dover straits have a controlling station on both the French and the English side and they have the necessary equipment to spot the rouges and report them to their flag administration. Most of violations or infringements were when entering or leaving a traffic separation scheme or when crossing it. In the early days, observance of the schemes was voluntary. However, in 1971 a series of accidents in the English Channel led to calls for immediate action. Do you know? In the most serious of incidents, the tanker Texaco Caribbean was in collision with a freighter off the Varne shoals (please look up the English channel chart) and the following night the freighter Brandenburg struck that wreck. The freighter also sank. Some six weeks later, the freighter Niki struck the same wreckage and sank with the loss of all 21 people on board. IMO's Maritime Safety Committee, when they met in March 1971 recommended that observance of all traffic separation schemes be made mandatory. The IMO Assembly adopted this recommendation later the same year. The Conference, which adopted the Collision Regulations (COLREGs) in 1972 made observance of traffic separation schemes mandatory.

Weather Routeing


IMO's Responsibilities IMO's responsibility for ships' routeing is also enshrined in SOLAS Chapter V, regulation 10, which recognises the Organization as the only international body for establishing such systems, while Rule 10 of the COLREGs prescribes the conduct of vessels when navigating through traffic separation schemes adopted by IMO. IMO'S responsibilities are also determined under the United Nations Convention on Law of The Sea (UNCLOS), which designates IMO as "the competent international organization" in matters of navigational safety, safety of shipping traffic and marine environmental protection. In 1977, the Assembly authorised the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) to adopt traffic separation schemes on behalf of IMO, in order to speed up the procedure. (The MSC normally meets twice a year, the Assembly only once every two years). Governments intending to establish a new routeing system, or amend an existing one, must submit proposed routeing measures to IMO's Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation (NAV), which then evaluates the proposal and makes recommendations regarding its adoption. The recommendation is then passed to the MSC for adoption. Traffic Considerations Before a traffic routeing system is made mandatory, following aspects are taken into account : Routes should follow as closely as possible existing patterns of traffic flow. Course alterations along the route should be as few as possible and convergence areas and route junctions should be kept to a minimum and should be as widely separated from each other as possible. Ro ute junctions and convergence areas should not be placed where crossing traffic is expected to be heavy. 41

Watchkeeping and Procedures

The system should aim to provide safe passage for ships.

IMO takes into consideration the following before a proposal for a mandatory routeing system is accepted. Existing and Proposed Aids to Navigation Routes should be designed to allow optimum use of aids to navigation in the area. For traffic separation schemes, such aids to navigation should enable mariners to determine their position with sufficient accuracy to navigate in accordance with rule 10 of the 1972 Collision Regulations. Traffic Patterns Information should be provided to the extent possible on traffic patterns, existing traffic management measures, the volume or concentration of traffic, vessel interactions, distance offshore, and type and quantity of substances on board (e.g., hazardous cargo, bunkers).

Information on Surveys Adequacy of the state of hydrographic surveys and nautical charts in the area of the proposed routeing system; Alternative Routeing Measure If necessary, alternative routeing measure for certain categories of ships, or , ships carrying certain cargoes which may be excluded from using a routeing system or any part thereof; and Offshore Structures Governments should ensure, as far as practicable, that any drilling rigs, exploration platforms, and other offshore structures are not established within the traffic lanes or routeing systems or near their terminations. Marine Environmental Considerations The proposal should contain information on environmental factors, such as the prevailing weather conditions, tidal streams, and currents, and the possibility of ice concentrations. Routeing systems should not be established in areas where the instability of the seabed is such that frequent changes in the alignment and positions of the main channels, and thus of the routeing system itself, are likely. For proposals intended to protect the marine environment, the proposal should state whether the proposed routeing system could reasonably be expected to significantly prevent or reduce the risk of pollution or other damage to the marine environment of the area concerned. The proposal should also contain information on any limitations to the sea area available for navigation given the overall size of the area to be protected and the aggregate number of environmentally sensitive areas established within the area concerned.


Routeing measures adopted by IMO to improve safety at sea include : Two-way routes, Recommended tracks, 42

Deep water routes (for the benefit primarily of ships whose ability to manoeuvre is constrained by their draught), Precautionary areas (where ships must navigate with particular caution), and Areas to be avoided (for reasons of exceptional danger or especially sensitive ecological and environmental factors).

Weather Routeing

Ships' routeing systems and traffic separation schemes that have been approved by IMO are contained in the IMO Publication, "Ship's Routeing", a thick volume, which is updated when schemes are amended or new ones added and which is available on all ships. This should be in the chart room and be corrected as all other navigational publications. The publication includes General provisions on ships' routeing, first adopted by IMO in 1973, and subsequently amended over the years, which are aimed at standardising the design, development, charted presentation and use of routeing measures adopted by IMO. The nomenclature used in the system are as follows
Traffic Lane

An area within defined limits in which one-way traffic is established. Natural obstacles, including those forming separation zones, may constitute a boundary.
Separation Zone or Line

A zone or line separating traffic lanes in which ships are proceeding in opposite or nearly opposite directions; or separating a traffic lane from the adjacent sea area; or separating traffic lanes designated for particular classes of ship proceeding in the same direction.

A separation point or circular separation zone and a circular traffic lane within defined limits.
Inshore Traffic Zone

This is the designated area between the landward boundary of a traffic separation scheme and the adjacent coast.
Recommended Route

A route of undefined width, for the convenience of ships in transit, which is often marked by centreline buoys
Deep-water Route

A route within defined limits, which has been accurately surveyed for clearance of sea bottom and submerged articles.
Precautionary Area

An area within defined limits where ships must navigate with particular caution and within which the direction of flow of traffic may be recommended.
Area to be Avoided

Area within defined limits in which either navigation is particularly hazardous or it is exceptionally important to avoid casualties and which should be avoided by all ships, or by certain classes of ships. Traffic separation schemes and other ship routeing systems have now been established in most of the major congested shippingareas of the world, and the number of collisions and grounding has often been dramatically reduced.


Watchkeeping and Procedures


The IMO General Provisions on Ship's Routeing (resolution A.572 (14) as amended) contain advice on the use of routeing systems in general as follows : (a) Unless stated otherwise, routeing systems are recommended for use by all ships and may be made mandatory for all ships, certain categories of ships or ships carrying certain cargoes, or types and quantities of bunker fuel. Routeing systems are intended for use by day and by night in all weathers, in ice-free waters or under light ice conditions where no extraordinary manoeuvres or icebreaker assistance are required. Bearing in mind the need for adequate under-keel clearance, a decision to use a routeing system must take into account the charted depth, the possibility of changes in the sea-bed since the time of the last survey, and the effects of meteorological and tidal conditions on water depths. A shilrnavigating in or near a traffic separation scheme adopted by IMO shall in particular comply with rule 10 of the 1972 Collision Regulations to minimize the development of risk of collision with another ship. The other rules of the 1972 Collision Regulations apply in all respects, and particularly the rules of part B, sections II and III, if risk of collision with another ship is deemed to exist. At junction points where traffic from various directions meets, a true separation of traffic is not possible, as ships may need to cross routes or change to another route. Ships should therefore navigate with great caution in such areas and be aware that the mere fact that a ship is proceeding along a through-going route gives that ship no special privilege or right of way. A deep-water route is primarily intended for use by ships which, because of their draught in relation to the available depth of water in the area concerned, require the use of such a route. Through traffic to which the above consideration does not apply should avoid using the deep water routes, as far as practicable. Precautionary areas should be avoided, if practicable, by passing ships not making use of the associated traffic separation schemes or deep-water routes, or entering or leaving adjacent ports. In two-way routes, including two-way deep-water routes, ships should as far as practicable keep to the starboard side. Arrows printed on charts in connection with routeing systems merely indicate the general direction of established or recommended traffic flow; ships need not set their courses strictly along the arrows. The signal YG, meaning "You appear not to be complying with the traffic separation scheme" is provided in the International Code of Signals for appropriate use. SAQ I (a) (b) (c) Why traffic separation schemes were introduced as a mandatory measure? When in traffic separation scheme are you required to follow the COLREGS, if so under what rules? Sketch a typical TSS and show therein the various area and signs of importance.







(h) (i)



We on board know the position of the ship accurately most of the time but we have to find some way of passing this information to owner, charterers, rescue organisations and others. This is done through voluntary ship reporting systems. Ship reporting systems came into existence to cater to the need of ships in distress so that the rescue co-ordinators could identify the ships in the area and direct them to assist. Almost all reporting systems are managed by administrations or rescue co-ordinators and all messages transmitted to such organisations are free of charge. A number of ships position and reporting systems exist worldwide for the co-ordination of search and rescue operation. In addition, mandatory ship reporting systems have been agreed by IMO in certain areas for ensuring that the ships comply with the requirements of reporting on cargo and traffic separation scheme. One such scheme is in the Dover strait. 3.6.1 Reporting Systems A number of ship reporting systems are in operation the world over for SAR purposes. The same are detailed in ALBS volume I (parts 1 and 3) and 6 (parts 1, 2 and 3) It is obviously not necessary to describe these in details but we shall give details of the US AMVER and the Indian Inspires system in brief. THE AMVER (Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System). 3.6.2 Description US Coast Guard operates Amver. It provides important aid to the development and coordination of search and rescue in many off shore areas of the world. Merchant vessels of all nations making off shore voyages are encouraged to send movement reports and periodic position reports to the AMVER centres located at various places. Information from these reports is entered into a computer, which generates and maintains dead reckoning position for vessels. Characterising of vessels that are valuable is determined by the computer. SAR capability is also entered into appropriate information. If required these are passed onto search and rescue agencies for use during an emergency. Predicted locations are only disclosed for reasons connected with maritime safety. 3.6.3 Format of Messages IMO has specified a standard form for ship reporting, which is in use universally. Each of the system may have some reporting requirements differing from the IMO guidelines. There are four types of reports dealing with ship reporting. Sailing Plan Report Report Identifier: AMVER/Sp/1 Required Information: A, B, G, 1, L Optional Information: Lines E, F, M, V, and X Sailing/plans may be sent before or as near as possible to the time of departure from a port within the system or when entering the area covered by the system. Position Report Report Identifier AMVER/Pr/1 Required Information: Lines A, B, G Optional Information: Lines E, F, I, L, M, V, X This Report should be sent when necessary to ensure effective operation of the system.

Weather Routeing


Watchkeeping and Procedures

Deviation Report Report identifier DR/ Required information : lines A Optional information : On the same lines B, E, F, G, I., L, M, V, X used to report Changes to sailing plan. Final Report Report Identifier AMVER/Fr/1 Required Information: Lines A, K Optional Information: Lines X Arrival reports should be sent immediately prior to or upon arrival at the port of destination. In addition, messages formats to indicate dangerous goods (DG), Harmful substances (HS), and Maritime pollutants (MP) can also be used using the IMO format. Form of Messages The line Identifier and the data items on a Line are separated from each other by a single slash/ lines, which are terminates by a double slash "//". A/ Vessel Name/ International Radio Call Sign "//" B/ Date & Time (UT GMT) "//" C/ latitude/ longitude E/ course "//" F/ Average Speed "//" G/ Port of departure/Lat./Long "//" I/ Port of destination/Lat./Long/ETA "//" K/Port name/Lat./Long/Time of arrival "//" L/ Route information "//" M/ Current coast radio station/ next station if any "H" V/ On board medium used. 3.6.4 Indian Ship Position and Information Reporting Systems (INSPIRES) It is Mandatory for all Indian merchant vessels including coastal and fishing vessel of more than 300 Grt. Other vessels within the reporting area are encouraged to participate in the system. The use of the system is to provide data for SAR operations, vessel traffic management and weather forecasting. Vessels participating in the system transmit reports through selected radio stations. The details of INPIRES are given in Indian Notices to Mariners No. 8. It has been in effect since 1 Nov. 1986. The Directorate General of shipping co-ordinates the functioning of the system with Maritime Operation Room, Mumbai. Reporting Area The Sea AREA within the limits defined by the following : (a) (b) (c) (d) The India Pakistan border at the coast. 12 N., 63 E. African coast at 12 N. African cast at 10 30 S.


(e) (f) (g)

10 30'S. 55 E. 30 S. 55 E. 30 S. 95 E and northwards to the East.

Weather Routeing

Further details including Standard Reporting Format and procedures (Appendix A), particulars of Receiving Stations (Appendix B), and broadcast by COMCEN Bombay (Main Station) and COMCEN Visakhapatnam (Supplementary Station) (Appendix C), are given in the Notice No.8 of Indian Notices to Mariners. Those of you who are serving on ships that may not have the Indian notices to mariners should attempt to find out this information from other sources. Requirement for Messages are similar as the IMO message format. Mandatory Ship Reporting Systems All ships anywhere in the world must comply with any mandatory ship reporting system adopted by IMO which applies to them. Details of mandatory ship reporting schemes are promulgated through relevant parts of the Admiralty List of Radio Signals, including any amendments, corrections or replacements. Ships to which a mandatory ship reporting system applies should report to the shorebased authority without delay when entering and, if necessary, when leaving the area covered by the system. A ship may be required to provide additional reports or information to update or modify an earlier report. Failure of a ship's radio communications equipment would not, by itself, be considered as a failure to comply with the rules of a mandatory ship-reporting system. However, masters should endeavour to restore communications as soon as practicable. If a technical failure prevents a ship from reporting, the master should enter the fact and reasons for not reporting in the ship's log. Masters of ships which contravene mandatory ship reporting requirements may be liable to prosecution. The only such Mandatory Reporting Scheme currently adopted in UK waters covers the Dover Strait. One reason for submitting it was the failure of a large percentage of transiting vessels to use the Voluntary Reporting Scheme; which had been established there. SAQ 2 (a) (b) Explain the purpose why ship-reporting systems are established for Search and rescue purposes? Prepare a full ship report for one of the days at sea and indicate which ship reporting system you would send it to. Describe the mode and the process of such transmission? Describe in your own words the action that AMVER would take on receiving a distress call? . Why are mandatory ship reports necessary?

(c) (d)


The term "weather routing" can have several meanings. In the most general, we consider it to mean planning a voyage taking weather into account. This seems basic enough, but in fact, historically many very large vessels did not necessarily do this, but rather simply chose the great circle route (shortest distance) between departure and destination, with 47

Watchkeeping and Procedures

some seasonal variation on some routes. These days, there is usually more concurrent planning that goes into it, at least on transoceanic passages. 3.7.1 Weather Planning Most voyages require some level of weather planning. For cruising sailors, this usually starts by looking into the historically tested seasons and routes such as might be found in the British Admiralty, publication Ocean Passages of the World. The goal is to find routes around the subtropical Highs, into the trades and avoiding hurricanes. On high latitude routes, it involves avoiding ice. It also might involve taking advantage of favourable ocean currents or avoiding adverse ones. This type of planning, however, is not what is usually referred to as weather routing. This term more refers to making last minute decisions on the actual route dependent on existing conditions, not on climatic or average conditions. It usually refers to ship routing on ocean passages, since smaller vessels do not have enough speed to take advantage of much long term planning. Long term means more than a few days. If your max speed is some 100 miles a day, you can't do much to out manoeuvre something that is 700 miles across moving up to 500 miles a day. Note, however, that in the tropics, you can indeed do useful weather manoeuvring around tropical storms at this speed, and indeed one should know how to do it. Officially, "long term" or long range forecasting actually means more than 10 days; "medium range" is 3 to 10 days; and "short range" means up to 3 days. Ship weather routing allows us to take advantage of long term (i.e. extended) forecasts to avoid bad weather, associated delays and hazards. The goal is to improve on the default route, which is typically great circle point to point, staying away from the ice, in good current, and out of bad. Weather routing of any vessel hinges on long term forecasts and a knowledge of the vessel's performance in various conditions. Generally, the term applies to getting this information from outside of the vessel; hence, some issue of communications is also crucial. It has to come from outside of the vessel in most cases, because it requires long range forecasts and these are not routinely available on board from normal services. Communications are also crucial since the route may have to be altered underway if the forecast does not evolve as predicted. The process also inevitably involves computers, since there are long term complex projections that must be analyzed. In other words, as the wind and sea increase, the vessel speed goes down. Therefore, the only way to evaluate what will happen when along various routes any distance into the future is to play them through various trial runs. Remember that in heavy seas you can only go in certain directions, or over a certain range of directions. 3.7.2 Advantages of Weather Routeing Advantages Savings in fuel and time (estimated below to be about $18k/day) Reduction of vessel and cargo damage and reduced wear on engines More comfortable ride for passengers and crew Possible savingsin insurance rates

Disadvantages None for large companies, other than the additional overhead expense and training, which should be recouped from the savings gained from the advantages.

For smaller vessels it is simply too expensive in most cases to purchase the Satcom equipment and hire the routing services but this is discussed further 48 below.

3.7.3 Weather Routeing Taking into Account the Performance of the Vessel To our understanding, the British have a government program of ship weather routing called "Metroute", whereas US vessels obtain this service from private companies. A leader in this field is WNI "Oceanroutes", a division of Weathernews, Inc with US offices based in Sunnyvale, CA. They provide some 1200 routes per month to over 700 shipping companies worldwide. As is true with any vessel (including sailboats and kayaks), a crucial factor in effective routing is to know the performance data for the vessel in various conditions of wind and seas over a range of drafts or trim. Such performance data then gives us the likely performance of the ship in 10-foot following seas versus, say, 5-foot head seas when fully loaded or empty. This crucial data must be gathered from either actual experience or from theoretical computations. For ships, the performance data are often presented in textbooks as reduced to primarily a dependence on wave height. The real world, however, is much more complex and in actual practice careful computations considers many other factors. In any event, the forecasters main job reduces to the difficult task of predicting sea state a week or so in advance. North Pacific ship crossings are typically 10 to 14 days; Atlantic crossings are 5 to 7 days. One of the extra factors, for example, is how the vessel matches the wavelength of the seas. At least for larger vessels, it has been found that a wavelength matching the vessel length puts significantly more stress on the hull when it is trapped riding along in the trough or straddling the crest. In some cases, larger vessels matching the average wave length can suffer more stress and damage than significantly smaller vessels in the same seaway. In addition, the detailed nature of the seas (wavelengths, steepness, etc.) can affect other factors such as how much the propellers stay in the water or how much power is lost in rudder controls to maintain a course. Moreover, this depends then on the course relative to the wave direction, etc. In addition, the water resistance of the hull and its response to the seas depends on the draft and trim. In short, it takes a lot of analysis and a lot of data to predict progress in various states of high seas. Put another way, it takes as much work in the area of hydrodynamics and vessel design as it does in meteorology to advance these programs. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) New or modified initial route for the voyage. Adjustment of the departure time (earlier or later) with no route change. Specified diversion from the initial route to go around the weather. Speed adjustment (faster or slower) to minimize the encounter with bad weather. Proposed evasion manoeuvres dependent on how things develop underway. Short of specific proposals for manoeuvring, an advisory can be issued that describes the location, duration and severity of a bad weather system that is likely to be encountered underway.

Weather Routeing

Note the distinction here is that these services (even the last mentioned advisory) are provided to individual vessels for their specific routes and specific schedules developed from performance data of their specific vessels. This is in contrast to the traditional method of captains or skippers gathering this information themselves 'from available public services and then analyzing it entirely on their own. A key advantage of the weather routing service is the companies providing it have ready access to information that is not so easy to come by from public services although these days with the various internet connections more of this specialized information is available than it historically was. They are also professionals whose main job in life is to do this type of analysis and they have developed the best software and communications systems for providing it. 49

Watchkeeping and Procedures

3.7.4 Sources for Long Term Forecast Part of the key information needed is the long term forecasts, both for the surface and for the winds aloft. Several sources are available, such as (a) MRF from NMC (medium range forecast from National Meteorological Centre) provide surface pressures at 00 and 12 Z projected out to 3 days and lower resolution data extending from 3 to 10 days. ECMWF (European Centre for medium-range weather forecasting) provide surface pressures at 12 Z out to 6 days. FNOC (US Navy, Fleet Numerical Oceanographic Centre) provide wind and wave patterns every 12 hr for short range projections (0 to 3 days), which can be used to initialize the longer term projections and compilations of projections.

(b) (c)

In addition to these global forecasts, individual routing companies maintain their own databases of past weather patterns, and for any given pattern at hand can search for a similar one to help with predictions. Predictions are then updated daily as new projections and actual observations are added. Suggested routes are likewise adjusted underway as needed. Generally, this information is conveyed to the vessels via INMARSAT. Most companies have proprietary software to display routing and weather information. The vessel receives daily files by Satcom that are run in on board computers to update the routing and forecasting data. 3.7.5 Master's Role In the end, as always, the master of the vessel must make the final decisions on best route and course. Underway they have direct experience of vessel handling, which cannot very often be anticipated from shore. In some circumstances, onboard software can be used to analyze optional routes using forecast data transmitted to the vessel's on board computer. "Typical" day at sea for a large sea going vessel can be figured at some 18 k $/day. Bad weather delays, however, can also incur significant additional expenses involving rescheduling loading crews, penalties, and other costs as well as the obvious threat to the safety of vessel, cargo and crew in severe weather. 3.7.6 Effect of Waves on Ships Progress Weather routing needs some information about waves also. It is not just wave height and wave steepness that are a concern to navigation, but also wave speed. The usual concern in waves is to maintain control of the vessel. This is true at all times, and a major concern when crossing a bar or other opening to enter a harbour in a high following sea. When ocean yacht racing, negotiating the waves to maximize the time spent surfing is usually the key to winning downwind races. In all cases, it is valuable to have a good feeling about wave speeds and what affects them. It is one of the surprising things about waves that they do indeed continue moving even after the driving winds that created them have disappeared or shifted in direction. Waves carry with them tremendous energy which is the source of their motion. Inertia keeps them moving. Waves that have moved away from the winds that built them are called swells. The relationship between wind speed and wave speed is just as complicated as it is between wind speed and wave height. Wave speed = Wavelength/wave period.


In the statistical development of waves, however, the period is related to the length of the wave, so it is essentially the length of a wave that determines wave speed. (You could equally well say "period" rather than length here, but when judging a wave from some distance off, we have a better gauge on its length than we do on its period, so this is perhaps a better practical way to think about it.) The height or steepness may have some small effect, but the primary factor is the length. Long waves move faster than short waves. You can have a very low swell travelling faster than a more menacing looking steep wave that is much higher. Indeed, the very fastest waves are the very long low tsunami waves created by underwater earthquakes. These may only be some inches high travelling at 100 knots or more! On the other hand, in a typical seaway, the biggest waves (not necessarily the steepest) are also the longest waves and hence travel faster than the little ones. SAQ 3 (a) (b) (c) What advice is received and used when on the passage? Is the master bound to take the advice given? What advantages a ship gets through weather routing.. How would you determine the reliability of weather routing on a long-term basis?

Weather Routeing

In this unit you have learnt about the historical aspects which brought about the of introduction of the routeing system and traffic separation schemes. All such schemes are contained in the IMO publication "Ship Roueting", which will be available on board your ship, and unless otherwise stated, roueting systems are recommended for use by all ship's by day and by night in all weathers. They may be made mandatory for all ship's or for certain categories of ship. You have also learnt that there are a number of ship reporting systems in operation the world over for the purpose of search and rescue, details of which are available in ALBS volume I and 6. Automated mutual assistance vessel rescue system (AMVER) is operated by U.S. Coast guard and provides aid to the development and co-ordination of search and rescue in many off shore areas of the world. All ships in the world are required to comply with any mandatory ship reporting system adapted by IMO which is applicable to them.


SAQ I (a) Ships' routeing systems contribute to safety of life at sea, safety and efficiency of navigation and/or protection of the marine environment. Ships' routeing systems are recommended for use by, and may be made mandatory for, all ships, certain categories of ships or ships carrying certain cargoes, when adopted and implemented in accordance with the guidelines and criteria developed by the Organization. If they were left to be followed voluntarily then some may follow and some may not. Creating a lot of confusion as well as accidents. Collision regulations are applicable in the traffic separation schemes. A vessel in or near an area of traffic separation scheme she shall follow the instructions given in rule 10. COLRFGs 10 a states that being in a TRS does not relieve any vessel of her obligation under any other rule. 51


Watchkeeping and Procedures


To be sketched from a large scale chart available on board showing traffic separation scheme. Also take help from nautical publication NP 5011 Chart symbols and abbreviations.

SAQ 2 (a) Ship reporting system assists the SAR (Search and Rescue) authorities in location of a ship in distress and also they are able to provide early help as they are aware of the status of the ships in a particular area. From the ALBS find the ship reporting system working in the area and the stations, which accept messages to such system. Also, ascertain whether they need any information that is not in the standard format and then prepare the message. AMVER would plot your position and find all the ship in your area. If you need a doctor, it shall also pin point a ship with a doctor on board and direct that ship to the casualty. It shall thereafter keep in touch with the distressed ship all the time till the distress is over or resolved. In areas where the administration considers it necessary to take precautions with some cargoes (e.g. Chemical, gas, oil, dangerous goods, nuclear waste etc.) Or with some sensitive area they would like such ships to report to a designated station before it enters the area. This may happen in areas where shallow water of narrow channel may need a tug in assistance or the administration may need to take extra precautions with respect to sensitive cargoes.




SAQ 3 (a) Weather routing service provides the master a route indicating the likely weather pattern that may be experienced and the precautions necessary. The routing takes into account the capability and the type of ship including its speed and stability. In all cases the master is the best judge and he should treat the advise received as advise only taking into account the actual weather experienced by his ship and informing the service accordingly. The service if accurate in its details provides the ship a comfortable and speedy passage without causing any damage to the ship, crew and the cargo. By avoiding rough weather, following weather routing, the ship owner saves in terms of fuel and time. On a long term if the ship maintains the record of weather forecasted and actually experienced then it would be possible to analyse the reliability of the system. Also a statistical analysis can be taken up to find out the amount of fuel and time saved by following the weather routing.





Structure 4.1 Introduction

4.2 Navigation Safe Practices : Part-I

4.2.1 4.2.2 4.2.3 4.2.4 4,2.5 4.2.6 4.2.7 4.2.8 4.2.9 Bridge Team Management Master's Responsibility Passage Planning Passage Planning and Pilotage The Master/Pilot Relationship Navigation with Pilot on Board Error in Navigation Passage Planning Bridge Who is in Control? Chart Corrections


Navigation Safe Practices : Part-II

4.3.1 4.3.2 4.3.3 4.3.4 4.3.5 4.3.6 4.3.7 4.3.8 4.3.9 Collisions in Fog Use of VHF Collisions in Heavy Rain Collisions Keep to Starboard and Misuse of VHF Collisions Timely Actions Collisions Low Standard of Watchkeeping Grounding : Act Don't "Wait and See" Radar Watchkeeping Transverse Thrust

4 .4 Su m m ar y 4.5 Answers to SAQs

Safe practices in navigation are an important aspect of the overall safety of the ship. Perhaps more important than knowing the theory of navigation. Safe Practices are followed because of good planning and commitment by the ships leadership. In the case studies given below it shall be observed that experienced watch keepers and masters involve the ships under their charge in accidents only because they failed to follow the established practices and the well defined COLREGs. On studying them, you may observe that each one of us is some time or the other, guilty of similar lapses. Experience no doubt, comes from developing your own knowledge and skills but it also gained when learning from other peoples mistakes. You shall agree that no one can afford to learn by making mistakes! Objectives After studying this unit, you should be able to describe concept of bridge team management and the dangers of not following its principles, explain various ingredients basics passage planning and the unsafe practices that should be avoided in its implementation, discuss the problems that may arise with pilots on board, and explain how ships get involved in casualties and particularly in collisions and grounding and to give case studies of actual incidents as examples. 53

Watch keeping and Procedures


4.2.1 Bridge Team Management Today's ships are very much larger, they carry more cargo, more passengers, yet their crews are smaller and often of mixed nationalities. These bigger ships are operated in an ever increasingly hostile environment. One barrel of oil spilt in some parts of the world may cost one million dollars in cleanups and fines imposed. An injured seaman will expect large settlement to reflect disablement, pain, suffering and traumatic stress disorder. Twenty years ago, collisions and groundings occurred as they do today invariably because of human error. The important difference between today's and yesterday's operator is the belief that claims caused by human error are avoidable, the underlying causes are understood and procedures have been set up to prevent these errors occurring. Experience shows that most navigation errors are the result of lack of bridge team management. There are numerous examples, which illustrate these points Two VLCCs from the same company, navigating at night on reciprocal courses, collided. Each ship had detected the other on their radar, but neither navigator plotted the other ship's approach. On his first trip as a Master, a ship grounded off Tasmania after the master failed to make sufficient allowance for wind and tide. There was no passage plan between the anchorage and the pilot station, or between the pilot station and the berth. The pilot had ordered full ahead four minutes after stepping on the bridge of a large ship. Although a pilot card had been exchanged, the master had no idea of the route, which the pilot intended to follow. A passenger ship ran on to the rocks after the pilot missed an alter course position. The bridge team included the Master, who was on the bridge had failed to notice and correct the same.

There have been many different reviews of accidents. Most conclude that human failure rather than equipment failure is responsible for almost every collision, grounding or dock damage. The P & I clubs have identified following failures recurring time and time again. For example . Failure to use the radar properly and to plot the approach of the approaching ships; Failure to abide by the Collision Regulations, to proceed at safe speed in reduced visibility and to maintain a proper lookout; Failure to brief the pilot on the ship's manoeuvring characteristics and to discuss the pilot's intended route before handing over control, and thereafter failure to monitor the pilot during the passage; and Failure to use sufficient tugs or not using them at all.

All of these causes involve an error of judgement, failure to communicate or simply lack of knowledge, all of which can be corrected effectively through bridge resource management. The purpose of bridge team management, or bridge resource management, is to set up a working system that brings together the entire bridge team in the decision making and prevents these typical failures developing into an accident. Typically, the underlying requirements of a bridge team are (a) Every member of the team must understand 54 His responsibilities and duties,

The responsibilities and duties of the other team members and how these alter with changes in circumstances,

Navigation Safe Practices

The master's standing orders, A clear understanding that assistance should be called for whenever in doubt, and A clear understanding that when an apparent wrong or unplanned action is being taken it must be brought to the notice of the team and corrected. (b) To establish formal communication channels between each member of the team, particularly with the master and especially during manoeuvres. To set out formal procedures for the conduct of navigation watch, particularly in restricted visibility or confined waters. To develop passage planning and procedures for pilot supervision. To develop a safety culture within the team and give guidance in dealing with commercial pressures. A bridge team is quite small, although its size can vary. Furthermore, not every member of the team will be on duty at the same time. Most ships operate a three-watch system, which means the bridge team is divided into three separate groups or watches. The ship's master is the leader of the team, while the OOW is the senior member of each group, although the master can join the group and take over as the senior member. The role of the OOW changes only when this happens. A watch may comprise six persons (master, OOW, helmsman, lookout, stand-by and the pilot), or it can be a sole watch keeper. Each member of the group has a high level of individual responsibility, as it is impossible for the leader to constantly supervise every member of the team and perform his own duties. He has to rely on members of the team alerting him to potential problems. Each member of the bridge team needs to understand precisely what is expected of him and the information, which the OOW needs to know. Many ships are manned with a mixture of people of different nationalities, whose first language may not be English. Such crew members may lack confidence when in the master's presence and not always understand instructions correctly when given in English, resulting in confusion and errors. If this occurs, a time bomb is waiting to explode. This needs to be defused b y increasing confidence.

(c) (d) (e)

4.2.2 Master's Responsibility

The master is the guiding hand. It is his job to mould the team and to develop it. He will use the company's bridge operating procedures and his own watch keeping instructions for guidance. He will need to hold frequent meetings of the entire bridge team to discuss both his and the company's requirements. He should encourage open exchange of ideas between each group and be on the lookout for possible personality clashes. He should arrange departure and arrival meetings, which will involve a detailed discussion of the passage plan. Every member of the team will need to be familiar with this. It is the masters responsibility to encourage radar watch keeping and to instruct junior officers in ship handling. He will need to implement procedures for handing over the watch and set out clear instructions for when the OOW is to call for assistance. 55

Watch keeping and Procedures

Bridge Management with Pilot on Board Pilots present special problems. They are temporary but full members of the bridge team are involved. Ignorance of pilot's plans increase the chance of contact damages with docks or berths and grounding. It is the job of the master and the bridge team to understand the pilot's passage plan and to supervise the pilot. The master will be able to closely supervise the pilotage operation if the passage has been planned from berth to berth and the plan for port entry discussed with the pilot. The master shall then be in a better position to anticipate rather than react to the situation when the plan fails and be able to take control before there is an emergency, rather than merely react at crisis point. The use of tugs should always be discussed with the pilot before committing the vessel to the proposed manoeuvre. Even ships, which are highly manoeuvrable, may require tug assistance due to the prevailing weather or tidal conditions. From its experience with dock damage claims, the P&I Clubs believes that when large ships are navigating in restricted waters, they should always be under the control of tugs. Shipboard familiarisation training is very important, officers need to have confidence in the equipment they use and have experience in ship handling. Familiarisation training is an essential part of bridge team management. Team working will expose weaknesses so that training can be tailored to suit the needs of the individual. Team skills may not come naturally to some people, while the busy work environment on most ships may mean the development of team skills is neglected. Many owners have recognised this and sent their masters, officers and, in some cases, the entire bridge team on a bridge team management course. These courses use sophisticated bridge simulation techniques to model a ship's bridge and set up realistic examples of port arrival, departure and coastal navigation. A team can be put through a number of exercises, each of which will highlight a particular team skill. Often the exercises are recorded so that mistakes can be replayed and discussed. Bridge team management courses offer the opportunity to practice team skills which can be taken back to the ship and applied, without putting a ship and its cargo or the environment at risk. They improve awareness of the ship's and the operator's limitations and demonstrate how easily a small error can lead to a large accident. BTM courses may not eliminate claims which are caused by human error, but they will eliminate communication problems and improve skills in ship handling, significantly. 4.2.3 Passage Planning The consequences of a failure to plan a passage properly and to ensure that the plan is effectively executed are graphically illustrated by the stranding and subsequent total loss of a container ship, resulting in significant cargo claims. The ship, modern and well equipped, was approaching the pilot station at Sao Francisco do Sul, Brazil. The approach was via a narrow channel six cables wide, delineated by islands to the north and south, the island to the north being marked by a light with a range of 26 miles. No passage plan had been drawn up and the chart was not annotated with any of the prescribed advice. Weather conditions were fair, the visibility generally good, but occasionally reduced by rain showers. The master, third officer and helmsman manned the bridge. The master was unfamiliar with the port, but did not attend the bridge and take over the con until the ship was on the final approach course, 5 miles from the entrance. The ship was 3 cables to starboard of the intended track and heading directly for the islands bounding the north side of the channel, but no action was taken at this stage to regain the intended track. Position fixing


was carried out using a single radar range and bearing at 10-minute intervals. No use was made of parallel indexing, which would have provided a continuous assessment of deviation from the intended track. An alteration, of course of 30 to port was made to regain the intended track, with the islands on the north side of the channel dead ahead at a range of 2 miles. This had no discernible effect and some 10 minutes later with the ship just a mile from the island, a further 20 alteration of course to port was made. The helmsman was despatched to assist with rigging the pilot ladder, necessitating the third officer taking the helm and leaving the master unsupported to both navigate and control the ship. This further alteration of course to port again proved ineffectual and, some 10 minutes later, the ship grounded with the main engine still turning ahead. The master had continued to monitor the radar in an attempt to determine his position, without initiating any positive action, until the ship grounded. At any time prior to the grounding, the incident could have been avoided by putting the engine astern.

Navigation Safe Practices

Efforts to refloat the ship failed and she was declared a constructive total loss shortly thereafter.
Three separate enquiries into this incident have been held by the local port authority, the Brazilian authorities and in Germany, as the issuing authority for the masters certificate, respectively. Whilst the Brazilian authorities enquiry has yet to report, the other two have concluded that the grounding was solely attributable to negligent navigation. The stranding and subsequent total loss of this ship was entirely due to negligent navigation arising from a failure to devise, agree and implement an effective passage plan for the approach. In light of the catastrophic consequences of the failure to do so in this instance, masers are reminded to ensure that passage planning and execution are accorded the appropriate importance on their ships. 4.2.4 Passage Planning and Pilotage Some masters consider it pointless to plan a river passage. There thinking is that as a pilot is on board to navigate the ship and as it is impossible to predict the effects of wind and current, the passage plan may not be necessary. Often a river chart may not be detailed enough or its scale may be too small to allow a detailed plan for the passage of an unfamiliar river. Their passage plans start and end at the pilot station. However, after investigating many dock damage and grounding claims, the P & I club Managers are firmly of the opinion that passage planning is necessary berth to berth. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) recently reached the same conclusion when they investigated the grounding of a ship at the entrance to the River Tamar in Tasmania. The Sea Empress's grounding and spill of 70,000 tons of crude oil gives a similar lesson. The preliminary report of the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch states that the ship picked up a pilot at 1940 hours and he ordered full ahead towards the entrance channel at 1944 hours. She first grounded at 20.07. Four minutes cannot possibly be enough time for a British pilot and a Russian master to discuss a difficult approach of a large ship through a narrow channel. The interim report states that the master and the pilot had not discussed and agreed a plan for the approach. This is just the point the clubs have learnt from a host of far less serious claims. A recent Club case involved a bulk carrier grounding in shallow water because of squat. The ship was travelling too fast and squat caused the bow to touch bottom and resulted in loss of steerage. The ship veered out of the channel and grounded. A small reduction in speed gives a large reduction in squat. A passage plan in shallow water would indicate the maximum permitted speed so that the effects of squat are minimised. A simple passage plan is nothing more than a course on a chart telling the navigator which way to steer, but a plan for coastal or river transits are more detailed. Regardless of the type of passage, every plan should show : The intended track (line on the chart), Areas to avoid for safety reasons,


Watch keeping and Procedures

Areas of shallow water, other hazards to navigation,

Wrecks, Course changes and The next chart position. Plans for river passages or passages in narrow channels should also include Tidal information, Speed restrictions, Position to change course, Alternative routes in emergencies, Parallel index lines, Emphasis on leading marks and Highlight sharp or difficult bends and areas of cross currents. All this information should be marked on the chart in use. Care needs to be taken to avoid cluttering the chart with pencil marks with only the most important information or the most dangerous hazards being shown.

Once the passage has been planned, its contents can be circulated to the bridge team and a copy given to the pilot when he boards. While passage planning, it is necessary to ensure that checklists and procedures are understood and followed. Execution and monitoring of a passage is as important as planning it and each member of the bridge team will need to know his responsibilities and duties during pilotage, For example : Who will track the ships position? Who will plot approaching ships on the radar? Who will deal with VHF calls? When should the master be called? This is particularly important for Long River or coastal passages when it may not be either practical or desirable to have the master continuously on the bridge. Passage planning is not difficult but it will require increased effort and discipline by the bridge team.

However, there is more to passage planning than looking at a chart and pre-planning the passage. The plan has to be executed and monitored. Experience has shown that if the passage has not been planned, then the probability of an accident will increase. Regrettably, this appears to be exactly what is happening. The number of high profile grounding incidents is startling and these can be prevented if the officers plan the voyage from pilot station to berth as carefully as the rest of the voyage. SAQ 1 (a) (b) (c) Who all shall form the bridge team and what is their responsibility? Show by examples why failures in following bridge management lead to accidents? What actions are the bridge team required to take when the pilot is on board?


4.2.5 The Master/Pilot Relationship Recent statistics from Det Norske Veritas indicate that 90% of all marine casualties occur in restricted waters, 60% of them involving ships with a pilot embarked. This is not altogether surprising. Ships in restricted waters are invariably constrained to operating in closer proximity to other vessels and hazards than in the normal seagoing environment, thereby placing them at greater risk. Nevertheless, the consistently high incidence of casualties, which occur with a pilot embarked, is a major source of concern. In theory, at least, the greater exposure to hazards in pilotage areas should be adequately compensated by the addition to the bridge team of a pilot, employed for his expert knowledge of local conditions. This expertise, combined with the knowledge and experience of the master with respect to the handling characteristics of his ship and the assistance of the bridge team, should be sufficient to assure the safety of the vessel under all but the most unpredictable of circumstances. Regrettably, casualty statistics consistently prove this not to be the case in practice. In a somewhat subjective judgement, many in the marine industry attribute this to pilot error, evidently believing that the training and competence of pilots has plumbed hitherto unprecedented depths, as witness a recent description of pilots as dangerous additions to the crew. However, the Managers do not accept that many of these casualties are solely attributable to errors of commission or omission by the pilot. Rather, it is contended that they are generally the consequence of a failure by the pilot, the master and his bridge team to form an effective working relationship and to function as a cohesive team in a manner conducive to the safe navigation of the vessel. An objective review of accidents attributed to pilot error will, all too often, reveal a degree of contributory culpability on the part of the master or a member of his bridge team, ranging from complacency to outright dereliction of duty. There can be no doubt that the establishment of an effective working relationship between master and pilot, enabling the latter to function effectively as an integral part of the bridge team whilst he has the con, is vital to the elimination of accidents in pilotage waters. The requirements fundamental to the establishment of an effective working relationship are encapsulated in the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for seafarers, the STOW Code, and are reproduced below for ease of reference. 4.2.6 Navigation with Pilot on Board Despite the duties and obligations of pilots, their presence on board does not relieve the master or officer in charge of the navigational watch from their duties and obligations for the safety of the ship. The master and the pilot shall exchange information regarding navigation procedures, local conditions and the ship's characteristics. The master and/or the officer in charge of the navigational watch shall co-operate closely with the pilot and maintain an accurate check on the ship's position and movement. It is also imperative that all members of the bridge team understand the plan. Without this, the officer on watch (OOW) may feel that he has been excluded from events and adopt the role of disinterested spectator, in turn leaving the pilot feeling isolated and unsupported, which will do little to foster harmonious and effective relations. Masters frequently complain that discussing and agreeing a plan with the pilot for port arrival or departure is difficult, either due to the lack of time available to do so, or because the pilot is unwilling to enter into such a discussion. With regard to the timescale, a productive discussion between willing parties need only take a few minutes. Whilst recognising that the operating costs of modern ships are high and that time is invariably of the essence, it is fundamental to safe navigation that the bridge team understand the pilot's intentions. Consideration should therefore be given to delaying the intended manoeuvre to allow this discussion to take place, provided always that such a delay, of itself, does not place the vessel at risk.

Navigation Safe Practices


Watch keeping and Procedures

The difficulties of holding an objective discussion with an unwilling pilot are acknowledged. Nevertheless, masters are urged to insist that a discussion of the passage plan does take place because, without it, the prospects of retaining effective command of the vessel when under pilotage are considerably reduced. It is recognised by the Managers that development of an effective working relationship between the pilot and the master and his bridge team is not a panacea. Nevertheless, it is believed that the will to do so, combined with a modicum of effort from masters and pilots, will result in a significant reduction in the incidence of casualties, which occur with a pilot embarked. 4.2.7 Error in Navigation Passage Planning A containership ran aground on a reef near the approach to the Singapore Strait. At first sight, the owner should have been entitled to the defence of negligence in navigation under The Hague Visby Rules. The ship's officers had pre-planned the ship's course as a formal passage plan. This course was one that took the ship only two miles to the east of the reef in an area where tidal currents were known to be variable. A navigator should have known that this distance was too close to the reef, which should have been passed at a considerably greater distance. The cargo owners alleged that the ship had left her loading port with an inherently unsafe passage plan and was therefore unseaworthy at the commencement of the voyage. There was considerable doubt as to whether such an argument would succeed, it was clear, at least after the event, that a course only two miles off the reef was unsafe. The weakness of the case was that they did not have in place any regular system for checking the quality of the navigation of their senior officers. Few companies do. However, it must be accepted now that owners do have a duty to check in some way the competence in navigation of their officers. It was recommend that : (a) (b) (c) Each ship should receive an annual safety audit in any event. As part of the audit, a random selection from the previous year's passage plans should be checked against the charts in use. If any evidence of imprudent navigation is found the officers involved should be earned and corrected.

4.2.8 Bridge Who is in Control? A large claim resulted from a small tanker colliding with a navigation mark, after the officer on watch failed to alter course. He believed the master had taken over the watch. Previously, the master had instructed the officer on watch about a sharp alteration of course, which was required so that the ship could enter the mouth of the Detroit River. The course alteration had to be made immediately the ship had a particular light buoy at 45 degrees on the starboard bow. The master, after giving the instructions, went below, but shortly before the ship arrived at the alter course position he returned to the bridge. The officer of the watch thought that the master had taken back control after returning to the bridge and neither gave the instruction to the helmsman to alter course nor checked whether the master had altered the course as decided. The ship hit a navigation light. Bridge procedures should require that the master formally instruct the officer on watch that he is taking over the watch; otherwise, the officer should always keep the control of the watch. Simple words like "Second mate I have taken over" or just "take over please" can remove this anomaly. 4.2.9 Chart Corrections A ship grounded and became a wreck because she did not have the correct chart. The Club may have to pay $1.5 million. A ship must maintain a proper system for the supply and correction of charts. In order to maintain such a system ensure that 60 A list of each and every chart is on board;

supply of weekly notices to mariners on a regular basis by appropriate means are obtained A chart correction log is maintained; Required charts are actually on board and are maintained up-to-date. Positive reporting arrangement in this respect is maintained from the ship to management.

In the past shipowners may have generally left it to their masters to make sure that charts are updated. However, the English House of Lords has held in the case of the MAR10N (1984) that shipowners must ensure that their ships are supplied with up-to-date charts and that chart corrections are made. It is not sufficient for the owners to rely on their masters'to obtain the necessary navigation publications and information. It may also be noted that masters are also being prosecuted and ships detained for not maintaining charts on board up-to-date. SAQ 2 (a) (b) (c) What is the relationship between the Master and the Pilot? What information exchanged between them before the pilot starts his actual job? Who is finally responsible in the event of the accident? Enumerate the details that should be included in a port passage plan. Explain the annual safety audit and what is checked during such exercise?


We'know that Collisions and groundings are a result of unsafe practices. In this module, let look at why these incidences occur and how implementing safe practices can prevent them. Remember accidents don't only happen to others; they also happen on own ships when you are not aware of your own situations and take things for granted, we have already talked about BE PREPARED and that is the only way to avoid accidents. 4.3.1 Collisions in Fog The majority of collision claims seem to occur in fog or reduced visibility. Statistical analyses of these have shown that The collision occurs during the watch of the second officer, (no explanation for this excepi perhaps fatigue?) Both ships were proceeding at speeds that would not be considered safe. Neither ship was keeping a proper radar watch. Collision often involved a misunderstanding as to what has been agreed during a VHF exchange between the two ships. Many collisions worldwide occur this way. Difficult to understand is the fact that these causes have been highlighted continuously to no effect! Rule 19'of the Collision Regulations governs the conduct of vessels in restricted visibility when vessels are not in sight of one another. 61

Watch keeping and Procedures

It states that every vessel should proceed at a safe speed with engines on standby. It requires a vessel which detects another vessel by radar alone, to determine if a close quarters situation exists and to take avoiding action in ample time, particularly avoiding an alteration of course to port or an alteration which is directly towards another ship. Rule 19 also states that on hearing a fog signal forward of the beam, or if close quarters cannot be avoided by an alteration of course alone then, if necessary, the ship should take off all her way. In another case, there was a head-on collision off the eastern coast of Honshu Island with both ships proceeding at full speed in fog. Ship A attempting to pass ship B starboard to starboard was under the control of a second officer; the master was below.

4.3.2 Use of VHF

The first collision occurred in the entrance to the River Plate. The entered ship was inward bound from Brazil and the other ship was outward bound from Montevideo for Brazil. The entered ship alleged that there had been exchanges on the VHF between the two ships well before the collision and that an agreement had been reached that, unusually, they would pass starboard to starboard but the other ship turned too late and the ships collided. The other ship denied that there was any special agreement and argued that therefore the ships should have passed port to port as usual. The other ship alleged that just before the collision the ship 'A' strangely made a sudden turn to port, contrary to regulations, and the other ship tried to avoid her by turning to starboard in accordance with the regulations but the entered ship ploughed into the other ship's port bow almost perpendicularly. Neither ship reduced speed. Neither master was on the bridge. An over reliance seems to have been placed on contact over the VHF radio and there may have been language difficulties. AVOID USE OF VHF unless both ships have clearly identified each other and unless there is a need for a discussion within pilotage waters.

4.3.3 Collisions in Heavy Rain

A collision occurred in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra when two vessels were navigating between reefs in dense rain and restricted visibility. The ship 'A' first observed the other ship on radar at about 4 miles to starboard. The master, concerned that he was passing too close to an island on the starboard side, assumed that the oncoming ship was on a near reciprocal course to his own and that he would help the other ship by altering course to port. Having altered 10 to port, he then called the other ship on VHF but without response. The target located on the ARPA radar was then lost in clutter. The master began sounding fog signals and made a further 20 alteration of course to port. The lookout spotted the other s4ip very shortly before the collision when the lights of the other ship appeared fine on the starboard bow, whereupon the master ordered hard to port. A collision could not be avoided and the ship 'A' struck the port side of the other ship. This was yet another collision, which took place primarily because of neither ship properly, observing collision regulations, particularly with regard to manoeuvring in restricted visibility. Both ships were travelling at excessive speed and the ship 'A' made small alterations to port based on assumptions and thereafter took evasive action. This is in direct contravention to the Collision Regulations (Regulations 18 and 19). The entered ship should have reduced her speed drastically in the conditions prevailing and should have maintained her course until the course and speed of the other ship had been ascertained, or until she had been sighted visually. A reduction in speed can often be more useful in preventing a collision than a change of course. 62

4.3.4 Collisions Keep to Starboard and Misuse of VHF Rule 9 of the Collision Regulations, which deals with navigation in narrow channels, reads in part : A vessel proceeding along the course of a narrow channel or fairway shall keep as near to the outer limit of the channel or fairway, which lies on her starboard side as, is safe and practicable. However, collisions commonly occur in narrow channels when one or both ships are found on the wrong side of the channel. This is surprising as narrow channels are often areas of compulsory pilotage. This type of incident is common. The use of VHF to agree the manner of passing, particularly an alteration of course to port in order to pass starboard to starboard is dangerous. Warnings have been issued about the use of VHF to agree a manoeuvre, which is contrary to the Collision Regulations. It is stressed again that it is much safer to reduce speed or even stop to let the other ship 'get out of the way', than to alter course to port. If the Collision Regulations had been followed, this is another collision, which would have been avoided. 4.3.5 Collisions Timely Actions The deplorable fact is that the Collision Regulations are disregarded all too frequently. The structure of the Collision Regulations is designed to ensure that, whenever possible, ships will not reach a close-quarters situation in which there is risk of collision and in which decisions have to be taken without time for proper thought. The leading English admiralty judge, Sir Barry Sheen aid in a collision case last year. He went on to say: "Manoeuvres taken to avoid a close-quarters situation should be taken at a time when the responsible officer does not have to make a quick decision or a decision based on inadequate information. Those manoeuvres should be such as to be readily apparent to the other ship. The errors of navigation are those errors, which are made by an officer who has time to think. At such a time, there is no excuse for failure to comply with the Collision Regulations. Likewise, there is no excusefor a math r n,, o accepts low standards and bad practices in his ship, particularly on the brill (,, (w o-, t he engine room. When a ship is being . navigated in reduced visibility, the nia.s tier Should ensure that he is alerted in good time if other ships are known to be in the vicinity and a close-quarters situation may develop. The master must also ensure that the officer on watch is keeping an efficient radar watch by observation and plotting of contacts. He should positively discourage distractions such as RIT conversations and any reluctance to reduce speed or, if necessary, to stop the ship. It is very probable that the use of VHF radio for conversation between these ships was a contributory cause of this collision, if only because it distracted the officers on watch from paying careful attention to their radar. I must repeat, in the hope that it will achieve some publicity, what I have said on previous occasions; that any attempt to use VHF to agree the manner of pasging is fraught with the danger of misunderstanding. Marine superintendents would be well advised to prohibit such use of VHF radio and to instruct their officers to comply with the Collision Regulations. 4.3.6 Collisions Low Standard of Watchkeeping In one case, a ship 'A' collided with a tug and barge at night in good visibility, off Houston, Texas. The tug and barge were showing proper lights for ships restricted in their ability to manoeuvre. Therefore, the ship 'A' was the give-way ship. The ship was under the control of the second officer who had only just joined the ship and was standing his first navigational watch when the ship was leaving Houston. Traffic in these waters is dense and there are many oil platforms. He mistook the tug and barge for a platform, with the tug standing by.

Navigation Safe Practices


Watch keeping and Procedures

The second officer should have been able to distinguish easily between a tug towing and a supply-boat standing by. He did not plot the tug and barge, neither on the radar nor by taking visual bearings. If he had done so, he would have noticed that the bearing of the other vessel was not changing. Since he was navigating in a buoyed channel, this would have alerted him to the fact that he was approaching another vessel under way, rather than passing a platform. The master should hive stayed on the bridge to evaluate the second officer's Watchkeeping ability before allowing him to take control in such a difficult area. If the master was too tired to do so, one must question whether the ship was properly manned. In all the cases reported the officer who was on watch in each case, failed to apply the Collision Regulations or, indeed the principles of good seamanship.

(a) Discuss Regulation 19 and the reasons why various collisions sited in the Module Occurred. Explain why the use of VHF not recommended in collision avoidance. Discuss the collision in heavy rain and explain how this could have been avoided? Vessels required to keep out of the way should take early and substantial action. Explain this and the actions that would satisfy these requirements.

(b) (c)

4.3.7 Grounding : Act Don't "Wait and See"

The dangers of a "wait and see" policy when at anchor in impending heavy weather often cause major stranding and occasionally, total loss. The potentially disastrous consequences of following such a policy are graphically illustrated by another incident recorded recently. In this incident, a ro-ro cargo ship had anchored in Cadiz Bay prior to bunkering at the Rota naval base. The designated anchorage for Rota is very exposed, there being no shelter from the southern semicircle and the manoeuvring room is limited. A weather forecast indicated that south-westerly winds of 35-40 knots, gusting to 60 knots in thunderstorms, were expected. In accordance with the owner's standing orders, the main engines were brought to immediate notice. Subsequently, with gusts of 70 knots being experienced, the watch officer determined that the ship was dragging and attempts were made to weigh the anchor. The ship was yawing badly and main engines were used as required to relieve the weight on the cable. With the cable shortened to two shackles, the ship swung beam on to the wind as the stern grounded. With the anchor finally aweigh, attempts were made to manoeuvre clear and depart the anchorage, these being complicated by the presence, in close proximity, of another ship, which was also dragging her anchor. These attempts proved unsuccessful and it was subsequently ascertained that the ship had grounded over almost her full length on a rocky shoal, half a mile from the beach. This incident was solely attributable' to the master's failure to take early and appropriate precautions for the safety of his ship following a severe weather forecast when at anchor. In addition to bringing the main engines to immediate notice, he should have taken into account the exposed nature of the anchorage and the restricted manoeuvring room. Additionally, the ship was known to yaw badly when at anchor in heavy weather, which may significantly have diminished the anchor's holding power. Had the -master considered these factors, this incident may have been avoided. The prudent course of action would have been to weigh anchor and proceed to sea before the weather deteriorated significantly. In the event, when the ship started to drag her anchor, the difficulties in weighing anchor in the prevailing conditions, exacerbated by the heavy 64

yawing and the close proximity to shoal water, resulted in her grounding aft before the situation could be retrieved, despite the immediate availability of main engines. It is recommended that their bridge procedures require the masters to take early and positive action under such circumstances and never to adopt a "wait and see" approach. 4.3.8 Radar Watchkeeping When a collision occurs in fog, heavy rain or reduced visibility, a major contributing factor is failure of one or both ships navigators to use their radar properly. Some navigators fail to plot an approaching ship, some fail to look at the radar at all, and others do not understand the use of the clutter control. Two collision claims and one case involving a ship striking a buoy cost the Club S 3.4 million. Although, if the navigators had used their radars properly, these claims would have been avoided. In the first incident, two tankers were navigating on reciprocal courses, in visibility, which was reduced by wind blown sand. Each ship detected the other by radar at twelve miles. Neither navigator plotted the other ship's approach, but assumed that they were approaching each other end on. With the aim of avoiding a close quarter situation, each navigator made a course alteration, one, 5 to starboard, the other, 5 to port. Sometime later, each navigator became aware that the approaching ship was still 'end on', so each navigator again made the same course alteration (5 to starboard and 5 to port). This happened a third time, and even then, neither navigator plotted the approaching ship on his radar. Inevitably, the two ships collided in what was a classic radar assisted collision. The Collision Regulations are clear in their instructions; Rule 19 (vessels not in sight of one another) states that an alteration to port should be avoided, while Rule 14 (vessels in sight of one another) instructs vessels, which are end on, or nearly end on, to alter course to starboard. Had both navigators complied with the Regulations"and made a bold alteration of course to starboard, there would not have been a collision. The second incident involved a reefer ship and a VLCC navigating in a heavy rainsquall. The reefer was the give way ship, having the other ship approaching on her starboard bow. However, the ships were not in sight of one another. Both ships were travelling at their full sea speed, on automatic pilot. The navigator on the reefer was busy in the chart room and had posted a lookout (there being no radar in the chart room). To assist the lookout, he put the radar onto long range and set the clutter control to the 75% setting. Periodically, he left the chart room to look at the radar. On the VLCC, the navigator was alone on the bridge. The collision occurred when both ships suddenly appeared out of the rain and ran into each other. Neither navigator had detected the other approaching ship. This incident clearly demonstrates the importance of keeping a radar watch when visibility is reduced by rain and not just when navigating in fog. Indeed, the two ships were far from land, neither expected to meet-crossing traffic, and apart from the heavy rainsquall, visibility was excellent. One of the factors in this and the next incident was failure in the correct use of the clutter control. In the final incident, a supply vessel was standing off a rig in rough seas. As is the practice, the navigator was keeping station with reference to visual points and was not plotting the ships position on a chart, when suddenly the ship collided with an unlit but charted buoy. The echo from the buoy had been lost in interference from sea waves (sea clutter). There are clear lessons to be learnt from all these incidents with failure to plot the approach of another ship being the most important. The first incident demonstrates the danger of navigating in wind blown sand, when visibility may appear to be better than it really is. It highlights the folly of attempting to put a ship, which is fine on the starboard bow further to starboard by altering course to port, while in the second and third incidents the clutter control was the primary cause.

Navigation Safe Practices


Watch keeping and Procedures

Members are reminded that the purpose of clutter suppression is to eliminate echo returns from sea waves (which are greatest near the ship) but the clutter control suppresses rain. When the clutter control is applied, the 'tail' of an echo is cut off so that only the leading edge is displayed. Echoes from ships and buoys are much stronger than echoes from waves and, even though the strength of these echoes will be reduced, they will still be displayed, even though echoes from waves, and to an extent rain, will not. However, if clutter suppression is set to maximum, then even echoes from large ships may be lost. While if clutter suppression is set too low, echoes from small buoys can be drowned by echoes from waves or rain. For this reason, it is necessary to vary the setting of the clutter control. Navigators are reminded of the importance of using the radar in a searching manner that is, changing ranges and adjusting the clutter suppression. The clutter suppression should never be set and then left on one setting. Navigators are also reminded that whenever visibility is reduced, a radar watch should be maintained, the ship put on to manual steering, and a lookout posted until visibility improves. Approaching targets should be plotted and their true course, speed and 'Closest position of approach' (CPA) calculated. Masters are strongly recommended to encourage their officers to practise radar plotting during periods of good visibility as this builds user confidence in the equipment. 4.3.9 Transverse Thrust The operation of a propeller is a complex interaction between fluid flow, after-end design and propeller design. The main element of a propeller's thrust is forwards or backwards. However, every ships master knows that a single screw ship fitted with a right-hand turning propeller will have a tendency to turn more readily to port than to starboard when going ahead and will do the opposite when going astern. This effect is referred to as 'transverso, thrust' and is thought to originate from fluid passing through the propeller in close proximity to the ships hull. Ship masters do not need to understand the complex hydrodynamics which cause this force, but they do need to understand how the force affects their ship for different conditions of loading and when operating in an open or restricted seaway. A recent dock damage claim which occurred when an LPG carrier struck and demolished a mooring dolphin would have been avoided if the master had realised that the full astern manoeuvre would cause the stern to swing to port and consequently the bow to starboard. The ship was manoeuvring to berth with her starboard side alongside. A tug was attached forward and aft and a pilot was on board. The wind was light and variable and a current was running from ahead at about 0.5 knots. The approach was made at a relatively high speed, parallel and close to the jetty face. As the bow came level with the mid-point of the jetty, engines were put to full astern to reduce the headway and to stop the ship from overshooting. The bow swung immediately to starboard. Transverse thrust, exacerbated by the current, was the cause. Even though the forward tug tried to stop the swing, the ship's bow struck the mooring dolphin, which was, sited 17.5 metres inshore from the quay edge and therefore protected from contact damage during normal berthing manoeuvres. Furthermore, the after tug was attached on the port quarter with a very short lead and could do nothing to stop the swinyg. Had the master realised this would happen he would have allowed the ship safely to overshoot the berth. The effect of transverse thrust in a single screw ship should never be underestimated, particularly when manoeuvring in close proximity to structures and when moving astern. Masters should also bear in mind that manoeuvring in shallow water or close to canal or' river banks may significantly alter the effect of transverse thrust, either increasing its strength or, in some instances, reversing the anticipated direction. For this reason, it is essential to have tugs properly deployed.


(a) (b) (c) No solutions are found by waiting and seeing policy. Explain the meaning of this when taking an action when things are going wrong. Using radar properly is necessary in heavy rain or fog to avoid collision. What is the meaning of "using the radar properly"? What difficulties were experienced when the ship master does not take into account the transverse thrust.

Navigation Safe Practices

Reviews of most accidents reveal that the human failure and not machinery failures are responsible for accidents of ships and these mainly occur due to enor of judgment, lack of knowledge or failure to communicate on part of officer of the watch. In this unit you have learnt about the accidents that have been caused due to above causes and safe practices which are required to be followed from the passage planning stage till the navigation with pilot on board. You have also been made aware of situations where ships got involved into accidents and various related case studies. Out at sea mistakes are costly and are not permitted.


SAQ I (a) Mastef, OOW, helmsman and lookout are the bridge team. Master is overall in charge and the OOW is in charge of navigation with assistance of the helmsman and lookout. Important part of the Bridge team management is that all are to look out for the navigational safety together and not wait for the other person to point out if things are going wrong. A number of examples are given earlier and one must realise that all these happen because of the failure of the team even though in some cases, it may appear that one or the other is to be blamed. When the ship is under pilotage'the bridge team functions do not change only that they are to follow pilot's advise and if found that things are not going to plan to bring this notice of the pilot and the Master.



SAQ 2 (a) Master is in control of all actions. Pilot provides the local knowledge. A form is used on the ship to exchange information between the pilot and the master. In the event of accident, the master is responsible even if it can be I proved that he acted under pilot's advice. You may thing it unfair but then Master or his officers should have corrected the pilot in good time. Port pilot plan is from the pilot boarding area to the berth and includes the track to be followed, critical areas to be avoided, way points where sharp turns may be needed and the helmsman need to be alert, tug assistance if needed, manoeuvring speeds, etc. Any audit is for the purpose of ensuring that the procedures agreed are being followed and changes where necessary are implemented. Audit should take account of the accidents or incidents and ascertain whether the same has been investigated and corrective actions are implemented.




Watch keeping and Procedures

SAQ 3 (a)

Regulation 19 gives actions to be taken in restricted visibility conditions whereas Regulation 18 gives actions to be taken when vessel are in sight of one another. This is very important and most collisions have taken place when ships SEE each other on radar and apply Regulation 18. Sighting on radar is not in sight of one another. Use of VHF is not recommended as it is not possible to know which ship you are talking to. Calling a ship as "ship on the port bow" means nothing and could create a serious situation. Regulation 19 applies in rain and action to be taken shall include Safe speed. Engines ready. If action is taken on radar observations, same should-be in ample time and the effect of such action shall be watched. Avoid alteration of course to port when the ship is forward of beam and towards the ship when the ship is abeam or abaft the beam. When a fog signal is heard forward of the beam reduce speed to a minimum and navigate with extreme caution.



Early and substantial action means understanding the approaching vessel's course and speed as far as practicable and considering the same when altering course and or speed. The alteration of course and or speed should be substantial o that the other vessel can detect the same. Action should be early as waiting till the last moment may cause confusion and the inevitable collision.

SAQ 4 (a) In any action waiting and seeing is no solution as problems don't get solved by waiting. Right action has to be taken and has to be early. When things are going wrong OOW may need assistance and it should be called for. Remember again the OOW has the entire ship and its facilities at his command and one should not feel shy of using them. Using the radar properly means checking the following : Is it tuned correctly? Are you using the right range? If there is too much clutter, have you adjusted the controls correctly? Are you plotting all the targets and checking their progress? If in the coastal waters, is the ship in safe position? Have you proper lookouts and are you at safe speed? Are you sounding correct fog signals?


(c) Transverse thrust of the propeller swings the bow to starboard when the ship is going astern in a right handed propeller and to port when going ahead. If this property is not taken into account, the ship may swing to starboard when going astern causing accident when such swing is not desirable. Swing to port when going ahead is not so noticeable at full speed.,