There are several operational factors that may affect safe navigation and the performance and accuracy of navigational equipment required by SOLAS. In that regard, watchkeepers should be aware of the routing measures, intended to contribute to the safety of navigation and marine environment protection.
hese measures include traffic separation schemes, separation zones, deep water routes, areas to be avoided, and mandatory ship report systems.
COLREG Rule 15, Crossing Situation, applies equally to vessels navigating in, near, and outside Traffic Separation Lanes and narrow channels and fairways.
In particular, masters and officers in charge of a navigational watch should be aware of the following:
#1 ensure the composition of the watch is made up of appropriately qualified and rested watchkeepers and that it is at all times sufficient, effective, and efficient given the prevailing circumstances and conditions;
#2 see that ongoing training is undertaken, verified, and tested regularly to ensure compliance. Masters are advised to raise and maintain the standards of all watchkeepers;
#3 ensure that the ship’s navigational plan is planned in adequate detail with contingency plans where appropriate;
#4 ensure all crewmembers with responsibilities related to the navigating the ship understand their duty to maintain the safety of navigation and protection of the marine environment;
#5 closely and continuously monitor the ship’s position ensuring as far as possible that different means of determining position are used to check against error in any one system;
#6 cross check individual decisions so that errors can be detected and corrected as early as possible;
#7 ensure that optimum and systematic use is made of all information from all available sources;
#8 ensure that the intentions of a Pilot are fully understood and acceptable to the bridge watchkeeping team;
#9 know that vigilance of the officer in charge of a navigational watch is the most direct means of avoiding dangerous situations from developing, this includes:
- using a proper lookout to fully appraise the situation and the risk of collision;
- calling the Master if in any doubt;
- application of COLREGS;
- understanding the ship’s limitations with respect to maneuverability;
- executing the navigational plan with respect to available depth and width of navigable water, specifically the effect of squat and continuous management of under keel clearance; and
- complying with all IMO routing measures and reporting systems
#10 the Master and officer in charge of a navigational watch must take all possible and necessary precautions to prevent damaging the marine environment.