Wednesday, June 24, 2009


At the beginning of this two Post series NAUTICAL LOG mentioned a proposed change to the IMO 'Guidelines'. This Proposal is based on passage planning data currently being developed, the NTSB Report on the MS "Cosco Busan" incident, and the unique professional knowledge of the various Port Authorities Pilotage Services around the world.

Currently it is required by IMO that a vessel develop their Voyage Plan coverage from berth to berth. Now while this is possible it may well be that, as in the case of the MS "Cosco Busan", the Master and Officers are not familiar with the Port in question. In their case it was the Port of San Fransisco, certainly not the easiest Port to enter with its strong currents and tides. Once the vessel arrives and picks up the Compulsory Pilot they have on board an expert in every detail of the Port. The vessel's Bridge Team has to integrate the Pilot, exchange information and monitor his/her every manoeuvre without having a fraction of the Pilots knowledge of the Port to make their judgements. This does not seem to be an expression of 'good seamanship' or even common sense.

NAUTICAL LOG would like to propose that each Port develop with its Pilotage Service, and its Coast Guard/Harbour Police, Traffic Monitoring Service, as they shall decide, a port data CD. This CD would contain all the port charts, tracks, courses, speeds, drafts, navigation aids, communications, et cetera and the procedure used by the Compulsory Pilot. It would cover from Seabuoy/Pilot boarding station to all berths in a Port. This could be obtained by a Shipping Company and supplied to the vessel for incorporation into the Voyage Plan. Thus when a Pilot boarded he/she could see immediately that Pilot and Bridge Team were using the same navigational data. There would be thus no confusion with the 'Exchange of Information' (which would be as per Port CD) regardless of language barriers or perceived 'cultural differences', such as those stated in that disgraceful NTSB Report.

One example NAUTICAL LOG has seen is already in place from Jeppesen Navigation for the Chilean Fiord's thanks to their agreement with the Armada de Chile. Marine Pilotage Charts (MPC) are available with the tracks and courses laid out through the Chilean fiord's overprinted in green. This could become a standard for all the close water and harbour charts on CD's that would become available from each and every Port. NAUTICAL LOG hopes this Proposal is given serious attention because without a doubt it will at minimum be an excellent example of 'good seamanship' and we can certainly do with more of that these days. Also due out in Autumn/Fall 2009 is the Admiralty e-Navigator from the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office This could prove to be a powerful Voyage and Passage Planning tool.

With the development of these Port CD's particular to a specific Port and the application of their navigational data to a Voyage or Passage Plan we can achieve navigational standards instead of the current

Good Watch.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


This is a NAUTICAL LOG article only. To operate under an actual prepared Plan the navigator MUST refer to IMO RESOLUTION A.893 (21) Annex 25 of SOLAS V.


Investigations show that human error contributes to 80% of navigational incidents. Most incidents happen because of simple mistakes using the navigational equipment. Interpretation of the available data, rather than equipment deficiency, basic navigational skills or ability to use the equipment, is the principle cause.

It is imperative to adhere to the IMO Guidelines addressed in the previous Post. Masters and Watchkeepers should take measures to ensure they appreciate and reduce risks,

  • ensure that all the vessel's navigation is planned in adequate detail with contingency plans
  • ensure that there is a systematic organized Bridge Team on Watch
  • comprehensive briefing of all concerned with navigation, both Officers and Ratings
  • close and continuous monitoring of the vessel's position
  • use different methods to plot the vessel's position
  • cross-check individual decisions do not be overconfident
  • ensure information of traffic plots is used carefully
  • bear in mind the other traffic may alter course and speed at any time
  • ensure optimum and systematic use is made of all data by the Bridge Team
  • ensure the intentions of a Pilot, particularly a Compulsory Pilot, are fully understood and acceptable to the vessel's Bridge Team

Responsibility for Voyage Planning

In most deep-sea vessels the Master delegates the initial responsibility for preparing the Plan to the Navigation Officer. On small vessel's the Master will prepare the Plan him/herself. Using the Guidelines the Navigation Officer will prepare the Plan prior to departure and present it to the Master. If the destination port is not known then the Plan will be extended or amended during the voyage, as appropriate, to the Master's Orders.

Principles of Voyage Planning

The four stages of Appraisal, Planning, Execution and Monitoring logically follow each other.

Appraisal is the process of gathering all information relevant to the proposed voyage. The Guidelines list the items that must be taken into account.

Planning follows acting on the Master's instructions. Again the Plan must adhere to the Guidelines.

Execution of the finalized Plan once again following the Guidelines. The Master may review and alter the Plan due to changing circumstances.

Monitoring of the vessel's progress along the planned track. All the standard watchkeeping rules must be followed as usual.

Good Watch

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Note this is a NAUTICAL LOG article only. To prepare an actual Voyage or Passage Plan the navigator MUST refer to "GUIDELINES FOR VOYAGE PLANNING" IMO RESOLUTION A.893 (21) Annex 25 of SOLAS V.

At the beginning of June 2009 Jeppesen Navigation (see our LINK LIST below) announced it had reached an agreement with the Chilean Naval Hydrographic Office to publish Jeppesen Marine Pilotage Charts covering Chilean waters. In our consulting capacity NAUTICAL LOG had cause to review voyage and passage planning generally. This in turn led to a complete review of IMO Resolution A.893 (21) Annex 25 of SOLAS V - Guidelines for Voyage Planning.

Recently there was a disgraceful, scathing, biased NTSB Report on the MS. "Cosco Busan" incident in which that vessel, under Compulsory Pilotage, rammed a bridge support in San Francisco Harbor. The NTSB Report was saved only by the dissent attachment by Member Deborah A. P. Hersman. One of the issues discussed was the responsibility of the vessel to plan the entire voyage from berth to berth. It occurred to NAUTICAL LOG that the IMO requirement might be improved upon and so here is the first Post of a series followed by a Proposal. We shall address the subject in two parts, "Guidelines for Voyage Planning" and "Ship Passage Planning".

Some background, IMO Resolution A. 285 (VIII) states:

"Despite the duties and obligations of a pilot, his presence on board does not relieve the officer of the watch from his duties and obligations for the safety of the vessel. He should co-operate closely with the pilot and maintain an accurate check on the vessel's position and movements. If he is in any doubt as to the pilot's actions or intentions, he should seek clarification from the pilot and if doubt still exists he should notify the master immediately and take whatever action is necessary before the master arrives."

Now from the above wording this seems to presume two things, first the Master is not on the Bridge, and second only males are officer of the watch. One must therefore further presume that the IMO is using "he" as a generic term. Also in a Compulsory Pilotage situation this places the OOW in a very tricky and difficult position. My advice would be for the OOW to immediately call the Master to the Bridge as soon as he/she feels any unease with the Pilot.

Guidelines for Voyage Planning


The development of a plan for the voyage or passage as well as the close and continuous monitoring of the vessel's progress and position during the execution of the plan. The need for a plan applies to all vessels and the size and type of vessel must be considered when formulating the plan. All information must be assembled as the requirement is a plan covering from berth to berth it therefore includes the period a pilot will be on board.


The following items should be considered when formulating the plan,

  • the condition and state of the vessel, stability, equipment, permissible draft, maneuvering data
  • special characteristics of the cargo its stowage and securing
  • provision of competent and well rest crew
  • up-to-date certificate and documents concerning vessel, crew, passengers and cargo
  • corrected and up-to-date charts in appropriate scale, navigational warnings and notices to mariners
  • up-to-date sailing directions, light lists and radio aid lists
  • mariners routing guides and passage planning charts
  • tide tables and current atlases
  • climatological, hydrographical, oceanographic and meteorological data
  • existing ship's routing and reporting systems, vessel traffic services and marine environmental protection measures
  • volume of traffic in transit areas
  • compulsary pilotage information, port information including availability of shore-based emergency equipment
  • procedure for the embarkation and the disembarkation of a pilot
  • details of the 'exchange of information' between the Bridge Team and the Pilot
  • any additional information useful to the vessel type and voyage or passage track


On the basis of the fullest possible appraisal a detailed voyage or passage plan should be prepared which should cover the entire voyage or passage from berth to berth, including those ares where the services of a pilot will be used,

  • this plan should include the plotting of the intended track on appropriate charts
  • the true course of the planned track should be marked
  • areas of danger, ship reporting systems, vessel traffic services and marine environment protection areas indicated
  • safe speed with regard to navigational hazards and draft limitations in relation to the available water depth should also be marked
  • limitations due to night passage, draft increases due to squat and heel on turns must be indicated
  • plot all course alterations with 'wheel over' points, speed and draft data
  • nearest ports of refuge and safe anchorages should also be listed

The Plan should be recorded in a notebook or computer disk available to the OOW's and Bridge Team at all times. It should be updated if and as more recent information becomes available. The Plan must be approved by the Master and signed off on prior to commencement of the voyage or passage. The Master will have to consider whether any particular circumstances introduces an unacceptable hazard to the safe conduct of the passage. The Master must further consider at which points of the voyage or passage there may be a need to utilize additional deck or engine personnel.


Having finalized the voyage or passage plan as soon as time of departure and estimated time of arrival can be determined with reasonable accuracy the voyage or passage plan should be executed in accordance with the plan including update changes made.


  • times of tide heights and flow
  • daytime versus nighttime passing of danger points
  • traffic conditions particularly at navigational focal points
  • meteorological conditions, speed reductions in poor visibility


  • the plan must be available at all times on the Bridge for reference
  • the progress of the vessel in accordance with the voyage or passage plan should be closely and continuously monitored.

Any changes made in the Plan should be made consistent with these 'Guidelines' and clearly marked and recorded

Good Watch

Friday, June 12, 2009


Some interesting data that came across our desk at NAUTICAL LOG this morning.

The UK Hydrographic Office has published Chart Q6099 covering the Red Sea, Horn of Africa, and Persian Gulf. This chart can be used for planning the passage through that principle piracy area. It has the recommended passage routes marked and information on how and whom to contact to both inform of your transit and call for assistance.

This should be a great help to the OOW as everything will be in one place for route planning, navigation, transit contact points and information for calling in the event of an attack.

The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office website can be found in the Link List below and an electronic copy of Chart Q6099 can be downloaded from UKHO.

Good Watch.

Friday, June 5, 2009

THE LAW OF THE SEA (A Summation)


The Law of the Sea covers these principle points;

  • Geographical Position

  • The Territorial Seas of a State (TS)

  • Internal Waters of a State

  • The Contiguous Zone (CZ)

  • The High Seas

  • The Exclusive Economic Zone of a State (EEZ)

  • The Continental Shelf

  • Archipelagic States

  • Nationality of Ships, Flag State, Registration

  • Nationality of Owners, Operators, Master, Crew

  • International Conventions

  • The Relationship between International and National Law, Implementation of Conventions

  • International Conventions and "Yachts"

International Law are the principles and rules of conduct that nations regard as binding upon them. That they are expected to and usually do, observe in relationships with one another. The need for some principles and rules of conduct between independent States arises whenever such States enter into mutual relations. International Law is the law of the International Community.

Modern International Law emerged as the result of the acceptance of the idea of a sovereign state. This formed a basis for maritime law development and international law has established the concept of 'Freedom of the Seas'. In 1919 CE the League of Nations was established. One of the provisions was the establishment of a "Permanent Court of International Justice" and this was done in 1921. On occasions maritime issues were addressed. Prior to World War 2 the League ceased to be effective. After the termination of World War 2 in 1945 CE, the United Nations Charter created the United Nations Organization in 1948 CE. Elaborate machinery evolved to solve disputes amongst nations and this led to the further development of International Law and resulting Maritime Law. The UN Charter established the "International Court of Justice" which is charged with progressive development and codification of International Law, such as the Law of the Sea that was first addressed in 1958 CE.

Maritime Law is the branch of law relating to commerce and navigation on the High Seas and other navigable waters. More specifically the term refers to the body of information, legislation, international treaties and court decisions pertaining to ownership and operation of vessels, transportation of passengers and cargo in them and the rights and obligations of their crews while in transit. In the United Kingdom Courts of the Admiralty administer Maritime Law while in the United States this is assigned to the Federal Courts.

An action 'in rem' is only permissable in Admiralty Law. It is an action against the ship and not the person.

Good Watch