Aug 122009

image Maritime New Zealand has issued a safety alert regarding the use of mobile/cellphones while under way. Inappropriate use has lead to groundings and fatalities (Premium subscribers can download The Case of the Seductive Sim ) from the Library.

Warns MNZ: “Three people have been killed in recent collisions as a result of skippers being distracted by their use of mobile phones.  A number of serious injuries have also occurred.

“It is important to note that mobile phones may serve a useful function as a back up means of emergency communication.  However, it is clear that their use by skippers and masters to receive or make calls or text messages needs to be managed appropriately to the circumstances of each operation.  This risk is heightened while a vessel is underway, with the likelihood and consequences of an accident being greater when vessels are operated:

  • at speed
  • in poor sea conditions
  • in conditions of restricted visibility
  • close to other vessels
  • close to navigation hazards.

“All New Zealand masters and skippers are reminded of their legal responsibility under Maritime Rule Part 22.5 to ensure their vessel maintains a proper lookout by sight and hearing as well as by all available means in the prevailing circumstances and conditions, so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and the risk of collision.

“Because the risk profile of every operation is different, ship operators and management are also asked to ensure that any safety risk associated with mobile phone use is appropriately identified and managed.  Risk management strategies will differ according to the circumstances, but may include prohibiting mobile phone use while a vessel is either underway or at critical stages of her passage.”

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