Colreg 2, Steering and Sailing Rules

Q. A big sailing vessel wishes to cross a lane and at the same time a small power driven vessel which is following the lane approach the sailing vessel. What is the responsibility of the sailing vessel?
Ans. Rule 10 states ‘A vessel of less than 20 metres in length or a sailing vessel shall not impede the safe passage of a power-driven vessel, following a traffic lane’. However, where risk of collision exists the rules of part B are applicable too, as directed in rule 8(f).

Q. In case of sailing vessel, if they have wind on different sides, who is supposed to keep clear?

Ans. When two sailing vessels are approaching one another, so as to involve risk of collision, when each has the wind on a different side, the vessel which has the wind on the port side shall keep out of the way of the other.

Q. How do these rules in respect of not impeding the passage of the vessels following narrow channel/fairway or TSS apply in restricted visibility?
Ans. Rule 19 states, ‘(a) This Rule applies to vessels not in sight of one another when navigating in or near an area of restricted visibility. (c) Every vessel shall have due regard to the prevailing circumstances and conditions of restricted visibility when complying with the Rules of section I of this part’. This means the compliance of section 1 is not ruled out in restricted visibility but when complying with section 1, due regard shall be had to the prevailing conditions of restricted visibility. Thus, rules 9 & 10 are to be followed in any condition of visibility. Hence, the responsibility in respect of not impeding the passage is applicable even in restricted visibility. In situation however, where risk of collision exist the relevant rules i.e. rule 19 will apply. Rule 8(f) applies.

Q. What if a power driven vessel is seen crossing from starboard to port by another power driven vessel following lane?
Ans. The vessel shall, so far as practicable, avoid crossing traffic lanes but if obliged to do so shall cross on a heading as nearly as practicable at right angles to the general direction of traffic flow. This is the only obligation on crossing vessel. Obligation of not impeding the passage is only for a vessel engaged in fishing and vessel of less than 20 metres in length or a sailing vessel. This means the vessel following lane must keep a cautious watch on such crossing vessels. She must give way and keep clear by reducing speed. Both vessels are not relieved of their obligation under any other rule.

Q. While following a traffic lane in restricted visibility, you find an echo 5 miles off at 4 points on starboard bow, what is your action?
Ans. Assuming that all restricted visibility precautions have been taken, I will plot and track the echo to know if it is a stationary target or is a mobile target. Thereafter whether it is going in a similar direction or is crossing the lane. If she is crossing the lane and risk of collision or close quarter situation exists, I will reduce my speed. Target is also expected to take a suitable action. It is very important to cautiously watch her action until she is finally past and clear. As per Rule 10a both the vessels are bound by Rule19.

Q. What is Rule 13(a)?
Ans. Notwithstanding anything contained in the Rules of part B, sections I and II, any vessel overtaking any other shall keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken.
Thus, this rule overrides all the navigational rules except rule19.

Q. If a vessel engaged in fishing or vessel not under command or a sailing vessel overtakes a power driven vessel in a narrow channel, whose duty is it to keep clear?
Ans. In each of the above case, it is the duty of overtaking vessel to keep clear.

Q. In day time how will you make out if you are overtaking another vessel?
Ans. 13 b states, A vessel shall be deemed to be overtaking when coming up with another vessel from a direction more than 22.5 degrees abaft her beam, that is, in such a position with reference to the vessel she is overtaking, that at night she would be able to see only the stern light of that vessel but neither of her sidelights. This means the distance with the other vessel must reduce and her aspect is more than 112.5 degrees. Aspect can be found by radar plotting.

Q. What if the overtaking vessel is in doubt?

Ans. When a vessel is in any doubt as to whether she is overtaking another, she shall assume that this is the case and act accordingly.

Q. The vessel is seen about 3.5 points on port bow. What is your action?
Ans.  This is a sailing vessel. I will take frequent bearing to find if risk of collision exists or close quarter situation is developing. This situation is governed by Rule 18, responsibility between vessels. Thus, ownship is giveway vessel. I will give two short blasts on the whistle, alter course to port and keep clear.

In a sailing vessel of less than 20 meters in length the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule may be combined in one lantern carried at or near the top of the mast where it can best be seen.

Q. You see a power driven vessel right ahead as shown. What is your action?
Ans. This is a power driven vessel seen right ahead, on a near reciprocal course. The situation is governed by Rule 14, Head on situation. I will take early action involving substantial alteration of course to starboard. To make my intentions well clear and to be readily apparent to the other vessel, the action is taken in good time. The other vessel must be cautiously watched till she is finely past and clear. Her changing aspects will be indicative of action taken by her.

Q. What is aspect? What do you mean by changing aspects?
Ans. Aspect can be understood as my relative bearing from her or the direction with respect to target ship, from which we see her. Thus, her aspect earlier was say about 5o green. The change of aspect to say about 10o red will confirm that she has taken appropriate action.    

Q. How do you find out aspect?
Ans. Aspect is found by making an OAW triangle. The aspect is the angle between the target head and reciprocal of her bearing.

Q. The vessel is shown at about 4 points on port bow. What is your action?
Ans. It is a towing vessel not restricted in her ability to maneuver and length of the tow not exceeding 200m. I will take frequent bearings to find if risk of collision exists or close quarter situation is developing. This situation is governed by Rule 15, Crossing situation. Ownship is stand on vessel. I will maintain my course and speed and at the same time continue taking the bearings of the target, in order to monitor her maneuver in respect of keeping clear.

Q. What part of the towing vessel must be considered for taking the bearing?
Ans.  The bearings of the giveway vessel may open out or close in, in an attempt to keep clear. The bearings of the fore part of the towing vessel or the after end of tow may be taken respectively to ensure that adequate bearing change occurs. The caution however being that the risk of collision may still exist if adequate bearing change is evident in respect of a long vessel or a vessel at close range.

Q. In day time how will you know that a vessel is overtaking you?
Ans. A vessel shall be deemed to be overtaking when coming up with another vessel from a direction more than 22.5 degrees abaft my beam, thus, through her features I would know that the distance is decreasing and her relative bearing would be more than 112.50.

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