Meeting in very narrow channels takes special procedures whereby each vessel is on a steady course and almost pointed at the other, says a recent Nautical Institute report.
Deviations caused by the vessel
While rounding the curve, the up-bound vessel proceeded close to the north bank and then deviated towards the centre of the canal, as shown in A.
Meanwhile, the down-bound vessel approached the curve at a speed of 4.9 knots.
To correct the deviation, the bridge team altered the course to starboard and the Master made a VHF call to the up-bound vessel requesting more room. The up-bound bridge team did not acknowledge the call.
As the two vessels came above each other, as in diagram B, the up-bound vessel was slowly changing course to port, towards the centre of the channel. The down-bound vessel was still positioned close to the channel centre-line and maintained its course.
- Meeting in a narrow way takes special measures.
- A successful meeting relies on bow pressure waves and hydrodynamics to keep the vessels apart.
- The actual location of the meeting was arguably too close to the curve to give the up-bound vessel enough time to stabilise in a correct meeting posture.
- Once the stern of a vessel becomes close to a bank, hydrodynamic suction will bring the stern even closer and make bottom contact hard to avoid.
Did you subscribe to our daily newsletter?
It’s Free! Click here to Subscribe!