Sep 122008

Make sure people know what you’re up to, especially when the master’s had a few too many, is one of the lessons from the Danish Maritime Authority’s report on the collision between the Rudokop, a converted tug, and a single-crewed fishing vessel, Atlantic in May this year despite good visibility.

Rudokop was on passage from Seville to Gydnia, moving eastwards with a crew of five. The master had been drinking and was under the influence of alcohol. The Chief Officer, who wasn’t affected by alcohol, had the watch. Atlantic, and another vessel, were seen ahead and to starboard at a distance of 6 nautical miles retrieving their fishing gear.

Atlantic started steaming a northerly course towards Rønne, approaching Rudokop from starboard.

Rudokop did not give way to Altlantic and her collision avoidance manouevers were too small to be effective or to be seen by the skipper of Atlantic and no sound signals were given, so he wasn’t aware of Rudokop’s intentions. Atlantic’s skipper did not keep an adequate lookout to avoid collision, according to the report.

Evidently, in this situation, movements should be big and bold enough to be apparent to the other vessel together with sound signals even in clear weather because the other fellow might not be watching you.

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