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Continuing our series about the maritime Rules of the Road we turn now to Fishing Vessels. Fishing vessels get considerable consideration in the Rules, some of it may be outdated and not protect fishing vessels as was originally intended. Currently Rules 3, 10, 18, 26 and 35 all apply to vessels engaged in fishing. In Part 2 NAUTICAL LOG addressed how Rule 35 applies to vessels engaged in fishing so now lets have a look at the remaining Rules one by one.

Rule 3 (d) defines the term "vessels engaged in fishing" and divides them according to the fishing apparatus in use and how it restricts their maneuverability. It is suggested that this division be dropped and the fishing vessel is either fishing or not fishing.

Rule 10 (i) states that "A vessel engaged in fishing shall not to impede the passage of any vessel following a traffic lane". This could be changed to a prohibition of all fishing in traffic lanes. It could be expanded to create designated fishing areas and prohibit transit in those areas by non-fishing vessels. Similarly the traffic lanes could be expanded to cover all passage-making as 'Sea Lanes' between ports in littoral waters. This would separate all other vessels from the vessels engaged in fishing, a great advantage to all vessels in restricted visibility.
Rule 18 (c) states that "A vessel engaged in fishing when underway shall, so far as possible, keep out of the way of:
(i) a vessel not under command;
(ii) a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver.
Perhaps the words "so far as possible" should be struck making it clear that the fishing vessel must keep clear and thus any doubt as to the fishing vessel action will be removed. A third (iii) subheading could then be added stating that fishing vessels must not "engage in fishing" in the Sea Lanes mentioned under the Rule 10 proposal above.
Rule 26, retain as is and remains unchanged. Rule 35 was the subject of Part 2 of this Series and is already covered.
We look forward to comments from serving seafarers particularly those in the fishing industry.
Good Watch


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