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.

STANDING DOWN PROBLEMS CONTINUE

In addition to the recent "Standing Down" of training voyages for its Midshipersons the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) has received warnings about the quality, or lack thereof, of its training programme.  The Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE) report stated that accreditation was in jeopardy for non-compliance in certain areas.

Coupled with the continuing problems requiring disciplinary actions including dismissal from the Navy the United States Navy (USN) has had in recent years this does not bode well for the professionalism of the seafaring community of the United States.

It is clear to this writer, an International Master Mariner with 50 years of experience, that the training sources for both Officers and Ratings need an immediate complete examination and review.  Currently the Officer commanding riverine craft based in Bahrain has been dismissed.  Another nine Officers and Ratings are under disciplinary action as a result of the capture by…

FINALLY AN ATTEMPT TO RECOVER

NAUTICAL LOG has on previous occasions discussed the SS El Faro VDR in a Post titled RELUCTANCE TO RECOVER and two other Posts about the VDR (Voyage Data Recorder) of the SS El Faro

The Ship sank in Hurricane Joaquin on October 01, 2015 off the Bahamas.  There has seemed to be a reluctance by all parties involved to continue the attempt to recover the VDR from some 15,000 feet - admittedly a considerable depth.  However because of the importance of possible data on the recorder such an attempt must be made.

Finally the NTSB has contracted with the USN Supervisor of Salvage to assist in the recovery of the VDR.  The USNS Apache will depart in early July 2016 together with USCG, Phoenix International and an underwater operating vehicle the CURV-21.

Once the VDR is recovered it will be brought ashore to the NTSB laboratory and thoroughly studied to download and analyze the information.  With these results in hand the USCG will conduct a two hearings to investigate the sinking and questio…