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Friday, 20 July, 2018
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The Nut Cases are Running the Asylum (Final part of two)

Date: 10 July, 2017

By: Chief

To read part one.

Imageelcome back. Glad you could make it.

Let us now continue on with rule 17 (stand-on vessel):

"(a).

"(i). Where one of two vessels is to keep out of the way the other shall keep her course and speed.

"(ii). The latter vessel may however take action to avoid collision by her manoeuvre alone, as soon as it becomes apparent to her that the vessel required to keep out of the way is not taking appropriate action in compliance with these Rules.

"(b). When, from any cause, the vessel required to keep her course and speed finds herself so close that collision cannot be avoided by the action of the give-way vessel alone, she shall take such action as will best aid to avoid collision.

"(c). A power-driven vessel which takes action in a crossing situation in accordance with subparagraph (a)(ii) of this Rule to avoid collision with another power-driven vessel shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, not alter course to port for a vessel on her own port side.

"(d). This Rule does not relieve the give-way vessel of her obligation to keep out of the way."

I gotta admit, rule 17 says a mouthful. Yet it is not difficult, at all, too understand. Basically rule 17 says two very distinct things:

There you go, simple, concise and precisely on point.

Now, if you are starting too think 'Hmm, maybe both vessels are at fault' — brother I hear ye.

A bit about a navigational watch

If you would like me to repeat that, in English perhaps, the answer is no. The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch Keeping for Seafarers is written in English, well kind of. What We need to do is take a peak at Chapter II the Master-Deck Department and see what it has to say.

As a matter of fact Chapter II says one hell of a lot. These people (lawyers) have obviously never heard of brevity. Suffice too say we only need to know a very few things and here they are (Regulation II):

"Parties shall direct the attention of shipowners, ship operators, masters and watchkeeping personnel to the following principles which shall be observed to ensure that a safe navigational watch is maintained at all times.

"The master of every ship is bound to ensure that watchkeeping arrangements are adequate for maintaining a safe navigational watch. Under the master's general direction, the officers of the watch are responsible for navigating the ship safely during their periods of duty when they will be particularly concerned with avoiding collision and stranding.

"(a) The composition of the watch shall at all times be adequate and appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions and shall take into account the need for maintaining a proper look-out.

"(b) When deciding the composition of the watch on the bridge which may include appropriate deck ratings, the following factors, inter alia, shall be taken into account:

"(i) at no time shall the bridge be left unattended;

"(ii) weather conditions, visibility and whether there is daylight or darkness;

"(iii) proximity of navigational hazards which may make it necessary for the officer in charge of the watch to carry out additional navigational duties[.]

" [. . .]"

The word "Parties" means convention signatories. I do like sub-sub-paragraph (i). I really do. That, one would hope should (meaning it probably won't), shut up the mouth pieces who have been saying MV ACX Crystal was on auto-pilot and no one was on the bridge. This does not mean the bridge was fully manned or even partially manned. It does mean that any master or mate of the watch shall be out of work faster than he could say "I'll apply at McDonald's" if he allowed the bridge to be unmanned while underway. That would be insane.

Quoting from the Daily Mail (UK on-line edition):

" 'I suspect, from the data, that the [MV] ACX Crystal was running on autopilot the whole time, and nobody was on the bridge. If anyone was on the bridge, they had no idea how to turn off the autopilot,' said Steffan Watkins, an IT security consultant and ship tracking analyst for Janes Intelligence Review, to DailyMail.com."

See what I mean. Sheesh.

Epilogue

What actually and factually cause'd the collision between USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) and MV ACX Crystal will come out in the wash sooner or later. What would be oh so nice is if the newsies of the world would decide to act like Walter Cronkite and report fact instead of acting like Orca Oprah Winfrey and reporting sensationalistic noise, mere gossip, outright crap and polluting the air with their bile.

Even after the reports come out the mouth pieces still will not shut up. Nor will the conspiracy nut cases, though, in both cases, if they did it sure would be a breath of fresh air.

[Ed. Note: The Colregs and SCTW are both available as .html files from Admiralty and Maritime Law Guide.]

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