[Beware] Lack of Proficiency in Conduct Can Cause Heavy Damages



Are you aware of the Navigational conduct rules?

These are the basic navigational rules to be followed at sea.  The International Rules were formalized in the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 and became effective on July 15, 1977.  The Rules (commonly called 72 COLREGS) are part of the Convention and vessels flying the flags of states. Here is an incident to illustrate the significance of proficiency in conduct.

Do you know what is passage planning?

Passage planning or voyage planning is a procedure to develop a complete description of a vessel’s voyage from start to finish.  The plan includes leaving the dock and harbor area, the en route portion of a voyage, approaching the destination and mooring, the industry term for this is ‘berth to berth’.


On 14 July 2014, a vessel raked over two granite pinnacles at full sea speed of about 18 knots; its hull was breached and seawater flooded into double-bottom void spaces.  The grounding caused a noisy and shuddering vibration, but the crew did not immediately check for damage.


  • The passage planning was not sufficient.
  • The bridge team were unaware of the limits of safe navigation in the Little Russel channel.
  •  The planning issues not properly considered were:
    • The very low tide,
    • The effect of the ship ‘squatting’ in shallow water at high speed and
    • The accuracy of the chart data.
  • The possibility that the vessel had grounded was denied.
  • On the shuddering vibration, it is important that the crew should have checked the state of their vessel by searching for damage.
  • The repetitive nature of ferry operations can induce a degree of complacency when planning.
  • The electronic navigation system was not being utilised effectively because safety settings were not appropriate to the local conditions, warnings were ignored and the audible alarm was disabled.
  • The harbour did not have an effective risk assessment or safety management plan for the conduct of navigation in its statutory pilotage area.

Corrective measures:

  • Appropriate levels of proficiency in the conduct of safe navigation should be ensured.
  • Crew must be effectively trained on safety rules.
  • Proper passage planning must be ensured.
  • The crew must be alert and proactive to prevent accidents.
  • Electronic navigation system to be used effectively and the crew must be well trained to use the system.
  • Every harbour must have an effective safety management system.

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