Rule 19 of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea is often dangerously misunderstood. Simpy put, there?s no ?stand on? vessel in fog.

Rule 19 of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea is often dangerously misunderstood. Simpy put, there’s no ‘stand on’ vessel in fog.

Rule 19 : Conduct of vessels in restricted visibility

(a) This Rule applies to vessels not in sight of one another when navigating in or near an area of restricted visibility. (b) Every vessel shall proceed at a safe speed adapted to the prevailing circumstances and conditions of restricted visibility. A power-driven vessel shall have her engines ready for immediate manoeuvre.

(c) Every vessel shall have due regard to the prevailing circumstances and conditions of restricted visibility when complying with the Rules of section I of this part.

(d) A vessel which detects by radar alone the presence of another vessel shall determine if a close-quarters situation is developing and/or risk of collision exists. If so, she shall take avoiding action in ample time, provided that when such action consists of an alteration of course, so far as possible the following shall

be avoided:

(i) an alteration of course to port for a vessel forward of the beam, other than for a vessel being overtaken;

(ii) an alteration of course towards a vessel abeam or abaft the beam.

(e) Except where it has been determined that a risk of collision does not exist, every vessel which hears, apparently forward of her beam, the fog signal of another vessel, or which cannot avoid a close-quarters situation with another vessel forward of her beam, shall reduce her speed to the minimum at which she can be kept on her course. She shall if necessary take all her way off and in any event navigate with extreme caution until danger of collision is over.

If we see a target on a collision course in sector A, we turn to starboard (unless we are overtaking it) and if in sector B we turn to port. In the grey areas we need to be very careful. Make large alterations in course and/or speed and don?t assume the other vessel has seen you ? or understands Rule 19.

For a fuller explanation, see John Williams? article in PBO 396, p102-104.

You can either order a copy online by clicking here or alternatively by calling the PBO Copy Service on 01202 440832.