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VOYAGE PLANNING - A PROPOSAL

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
www.ukho.gov.uk/ 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
'guesstimation'.

Good Watch.

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