Ensuring safety in navigation
Vessel management techniques to provide
Much is made in the literature about the consequences
of collision, grounding and the increased risks
resulting from higher traffic levels. The truth
is that major incidents involving environmental
side effects are rare, although where they do occur
they receive major publicity. Any skipper risks
his job if he acts in an unsafe manner, and shipowners
expect safe operation if only to minimise maintenance
and insurance costs. These are powerful motivators.
Ports are investing in more sophisticated traffic
management measures accommodating ever-higher traffic
densities. Some of the techniques used are summarised
in Box 14. Even where these provisions are in place,
problems can arise where different types of user
share the same water. Yachts, fishing vessels, water
skiers and other leisure users can cause problems.
Regulation through byelaw should be used as a last
resort, if only because it is costly to enforce
and does not motivate users to comply.
Other examples exist where alternative, shallower
channels have been marked so that small craft can
choose to stay clear of large vessels, and will
usually do so for their own peace of mind. At the
narrow entrance to Portsmouth Harbour, where tides
can be strong, small craft are recommended to use
engines, if fitted, and to stay to one side of the
channel, clear of ferries that cannot risk losing
steerageway in the entrance. This approach works,
however it may not be effective on every occasion,
and the likely required approach to management will
be a combination of the voluntary approach with
a degree of supporting regulation.
Vessel management techniques to
provide safe navigation
- Use of pilots, or qualified masters holding
pilotage exemption certificates.
- Creation of sole occupancy channels
for large or unmanoeuvrable vessels, especially
those carrying hazardous or polluting cargoes.
- Development of passage planning procedures,
including pre-agreed abort actions
to be used in the event of difficulties developing.
- Introduction of effective VHF communications.
- For very large tankers, the use of escort tugs
where it can be demonstrated these are effective
(although refineries or their customers usually
insist on such provision before the harbour deems
it to be required).
- For harbours with dense traffic, including vessels
carrying hazardous cargoes, modern VTS facilities
with digital signal processing and display are