Skip to main content

DANGER OF MARITIME BYE-LAWS


We seafarers have a set of Rules which are known as the International Rules of the Road. While not perfect, after all what is, they work pretty well when known and followed. Many countries have an Inland set of Rules of the Road for use by vessels operating within their rivers, waterways and canals. The US Inland Rules and the European Rhine Navigation Rules come to mind as examples of long established inland rules. As the size and draft of vessels increased in the 1970's it was realised that some consideration of this had to be incorporated . Because these vessels could not physically observe the Rules on occasions Rule 28 'Vessels Constrained by Their Draft' was passed. It applies to the International Rules but is not incorporated in the US Inland Rules, however signals are displayed day and night indicating the vessel is so constrained. Harbour and Pilotage Authorities have bye-laws covering this situation as necessary.

There lies a problem in the passing of bye-laws on occasions. While doing some nautical research last evening NAUTICAL LOG came across the website of the New Zealand Company of Master Mariners (NZCMM) www.mastermariners.org.nz/. In it was the above copy of a poster displayed prominently on the Greater Wellington Regional Council website www.gw.gov.nz/ and that had been published in Wellington, NZ newspapers.

Since the NZCMM is well able to speak for itself NAUTICAL LOG will quote them:

"The wording in the above is not the same as the rule and gives a completely false interpretation of the present international collision rules. The rule uses the word not impede but not give way. There appears to be a culture which has developed in New Zealand where large ships think that they are the stand on vessels and all small vessels must keep out of their way at all times with no rights what so ever.
This culture probably comes from Maritime New Zealand and its advisers as is demonstrated in the findings of investigations into collisions. (They then addresses two particular collisions as examples).
The non compliance of the unique New Zealand 500 tons rule by the small vessels was stated as a major contributing cause in each case and no action was taken against the Master's of the larger vessels. The operative words in this 500 tons rule are "not to impede" which are accepted internationally as not the same as "keep out of the way". In fact the international rules (and the New Zealand Rules) also state a vessel that is not to be impeded (the ship over 500 tons) remains fully obliged to comply with the Steering and Sailing Rules when two vessels are approaching one another so as to involve a risk of collision and in these cases the overriding rule would be that a power driven vessel must keep out of the way of a sailing vessel. This is certainly not the message that the above poster gives - MIGHT IS RIGHT - It is sad day that we have reached this state of affairs in New Zealand".
Now this is an example of local Councils taking it upon themselves, with the support of the National Government, Wellington is the Capital City of New Zealand, to impose maritime rules. Having spent two years running in and out of Wellington NAUTICAL LOG knows the Port Nicholson intimately having studied for a local Pilotage Exemption. Today it is even more busy with maritime traffic, sailing yachts and small boat activities. It would appear that this was why the bye-law 6.3 was originally written into Law. It also appears that there is a misinterpretation of bye-law 6.3 by the New Zealand Government body for maritime affairs, namely Maritime New Zealand, which clearly violates the International Rules of the Road.
Where the International Maritime Organization (IMO) stands on all this the maritime world, as usual. wonders.
Good Watch.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

PERIGEAN SPRING TIDES

It sometimes happens that one is going to write a Post on a subject when lo and behold there is already an excellent one.  Such is the case today; so rather than repeat everything let me refer you to the source of that Post

At present we are experiencing Perigean Spring Tides which occur when the Moon is at perigee on its oval path that is the closest point to Earth.  One of the principal results are higher than usual Spring Tides as against the Neap Tides.

Should you be interested in the full explanation of this phenomenon then you might like to reference "Old Salt Blog" which has an excellent explanation of this event and uses all the correct terms - quite unlike our Media here in South Florida.

Good Watch.

FAKE NEWS

In recent years there has been a steady decline in the professionalism, accuracy and quality of the various Media outlets and the social media.  In the rush to get there first with a story the shoddy Media - lets call it the really shoddy social media - have resorted to making up stories.  When growing up in the late 30's and 40's this was called lying and got one punished in our house.

Fake news includes inaccurate and unsupported stories all of which in the last year have been published without correction or apology.  Now it seems this attitude has spread to the maritime blogs.  One blog which was generally pretty good about its posts has slipped in accuracy lately including quoting from European tabloids.  A recent post was about H.M.S. Vengeance and its missile launches off the coast of Florida part of its programme to Certify boat and crew  The story was an ill advised, inaccurate choice in subject matter as to what happened and how the incident was reported to a Foreign N…

AN tSEIRBHIS CHABHLAIGH

This month saw the commissioning into the Irish Naval Service of a new Class of Irish Naval vessel more of the Frigate size than the previously Corvette size.  However they are all classed as Patrol vessels, the new vessel is LÉ Samuel Beckett P61.NAUTICAL LOG wishes her well and a successful service.


The older vessels saw unbelievable service and value for money the first being commissioned in 1979 and continued through the '80's and 90's into the 21st. Century.  During those years in addition to patrolling the stormy seas around the rugged Irish coast they made passages across the Western Ocean to the United States and Canada, south to South America as far as Argentina, and east to Asia as far as Korea.  Such passages are really remarkable for such small vessels and show the competence of Irish seafarers who as Naval Officers and Merchant Marine Officers train together.

Good Watch.