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Old 05-08-2008, 21:37   #16
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Also David...The first part supersedes everything else

RULE 2
Responsibility

(a) Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner, master, or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect to comply with these Rules or of the neglect of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of seamen:

It is purposely put there to prevent people blindly following rules when common sense dictates they should be more cautious.....
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Old 05-08-2008, 21:41   #17
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Good stuff Chief

Yes, the boat backing out is clearly at fault.

What is of question is whether or not the vessel that was initially the stand on could have avoided the collision. In my mind given the very limited facts that we have been presented with do not give us adequate information to make that judgment. If the stand on boat took action to avoid a collision yet still hit him, then he is not at fault. If he just kept going and did little or nothing to avoid that collision, then he is clearly at fault. I say there is not enough of a description here to make that judgment. Odds are, the stand on vessel is at fault. Do we know that with 100% certainty given the facts we were presented with?...No.

So my point is, we don't know if the stand on vessel is at fault given the facts presented to us. There CAN be times when only one vessel is at fault and thats when it is impossible or nearly impossible for the stand on vessel to avoid a collision.
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Old 05-08-2008, 21:41   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post
Also David...The first part supersedes everything else

RULE 2
Responsibility

(a) Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner, master, or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect to comply with these Rules or of the neglect of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of seamen:

It is purposely put there to prevent people blindly following rules when common sense dictates they should be more cautious.....
I know that Pelagic....that is not what I am saying though. Read the above post please.
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Old 05-08-2008, 21:54   #19
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Here is another example of what I am saying. An ocean racer is going 90 knots with an unsteady course. It runs over a sailboat going 4 knots. Could the sailboat possibly be at fault? Lets say it is daylight in unlimited visibility.

No, because there is no way the sailboat could have avoided that collision regardless of how he maneuvered. Under Rule 2...is the sailboat still at fault? No.

Neither the sailboat nor the stand on vessel are at fault if the boat took action to avoid the collision yet there was no way to avoid the collision.
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Old 05-08-2008, 21:55   #20
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I guess where we are not communicating David is when you say one is… “Not at fault” and I say… “Both at fault” when it might be more accurate to say “Proportional fault”

We don’t know the exact details of this incident, but I have read enough legal case studies of marine collisions to know that Rule 2 is applied in most cases of confined waters along with a “safe speed” testimony by expert witnesses (Elder Brethren) so that a judgement is made 70/30 or 50/50…or whatever.

I have rarely seen it 0/100 unless drinking and wilful damage or something like that was involved.
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Old 05-08-2008, 22:07   #21
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I spent 4 years at the maritime academy pretty much memorizing the rules to the letter and studying case law, not to mention many years on boats and ships applying those rules.

I am aware of judgments that are ruled 70/30, or whatever percentage.

I think what we are missing in our communications is that there are simply not enough details in this case to decide with certainty if the vessel that was initially the stand on vessel has any fault. If it were impossible or nearly impossible for him to avoid the collision then it would make perfect sense for a judge to rule him not at fault...zero percent fault. If there was a way he could have avoided the collision, then I agree, he should be ruled at least partially at fault....because the rules clearly say he would have been at fault.

Cheers!

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Old 05-08-2008, 22:36   #22
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Just to add another voice to the fray - I happen to agree with Pelagic. Regardless of what Chapman says about it, the rules do not describe how the crossing rules apply when a vessel is going astern. Nor would they - we all know that most vessels are not as manoeuvrable going astern, as when they are going ahead. The 3-short whistle signal is a warning signal to announce a vessel's "hampered" condition; in this scenario it seems obvious that the vessel was making sternway whether or not she sounded 3-short. Also not made clear in the opening post - the vessel making sternway was entering the main channel from a secondary channel that probably was too narrow to allow the vessel to turn around, so Rule 9 (Narrow channel rule) may have also been applicable. Either way though, it seems like a little bit of courtesy could have gone a long way in preventing a collision (that would probably fall under the auspices of Rule 2). imho

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Old 05-08-2008, 22:51   #23
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Let me just turn this around a bit David to explain my point.

If the vessel in astern backing into the channel was actually on the Starboard side rather than Port and a collision occurred would it still be 100% someone’s fault by applying the crossing rule?

Safe speed, proper lookout and prudent seamanship would have placed blame on both operators and it would legally have been judged a shared decision once the distances involved, line of sights, avoiding actions and impact points were all reviewed.

What is considered a safe speed in that channel with a following current for that type of vessel? Was there a traffic separation scheme in effect? What control and room to manoeuvre did the vessel going astern have. What were the other multilateral considerations?

I agree, we will never know that until it went to court and was judged upon. (Even then …it is only an opinion)

Your 90 knot example is an extreme case of a vessel in non displacement mode not keeping to a safe speed and remaining clear of all other vessels operating in displacement mode. There was nothing the sailboat could do to avoid a collision so they should be held harmless….. But as that case on another thread about a sheriff’s boat running over a sailboat, there were mitigating factors like running lights which are still being argued about.

That's why lawyers get the big money!
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Old 06-08-2008, 02:29   #24
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Quote:
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Hi Swagman,

The vessel in astern is about to enter the the channel at close to 90 degrees to the vessel in the channel.

ie the vessel in astern is 90 degrees to port of the vessel in the channel.

I should have put this in the original post.

Simes
Right.

This clarification means the vessel coming upriver is not astern of the other and it is therefore agree it is a crossing situation. So forget my original response.

I'd love to know how wide the channel was and respective positions but suspect the vessel entering the channel has made the major mistake. I equally suspect any inquiry will apportion blame for all the reasons given by others - but it would be good to know the outcome.

Any chance you can track any Marine Inquiry and post the findings for us all?

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Old 06-08-2008, 04:40   #25
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Rule 15 Crossing Situation

(a) When two power-driven vessels are crossing so as to involve risk of collision, the vessel which has the other on her starboard side shall keep out of the way and shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, avoid crossing ahead of the other vessel.

(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), on the Great Lakes, Western Rivers, or waters specified by the Secretary, a power-driven vessel crossing a river shall keep out of the way of a power-driven vessel ascending or descending the river.

Inland Navigation Rules: Boats.com - Rules and Regulations: Navigational Rules
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Old 06-08-2008, 05:03   #26
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Gord - Since the OP is from the Isle of Wight, I don't believe the Inland Rules would be applicable to this situation.


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Old 06-08-2008, 07:11   #27
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Maybe not Lodesman, prior to the handover in Hong Kong there was a lot of immigration to that Island so maybe the Wongs from Wight, took a wrong turn somewhere! ….Sorry couldn’t resist and with that I'll say good night!
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Old 06-08-2008, 07:46   #28
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I know common sense has little to do with the law BUT
the backing out vessel should be showing limited manouvreability, the downstream vessel should be aware that a reversing vessel is a hazard at any time (and is also running with the tide / current?) and would not be able to avoid a collision itself.
A. Therefore it was not a good plan to reverse out without sending a lookout to provide information on main channel traffic (helmsman would be fully occupied in steering).
B. And it was not a good idea to intend to pass behind a reversing vessel.
50 / 50 ?
All could have been avoided by horn signals, megaphone or VHF communication.
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Old 06-08-2008, 13:16   #29
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Simes didn't indicate whether there are any local harbour rules which would override Colregs. From my experience (which is limited to a fairly small number of marinas) in the US the entering vessel has priority over departing vessels, but in Canada the departing vessel has priority. I don't know if that is standard practice, so am prepared to be corrected.

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Old 06-08-2008, 21:06   #30
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Interesting discussion. It would be pertinent to understand the speed of the current. It is possible that the stand on vessel, the one in the main channel, did not have enough astern power to stop, or at least stop in time, and thereby avoid the collision.

We often get 2.5kt currents in our channel. The ships that traverse have an 8 kt speed limit. That is speed through the water so its not uncomon to have 300 foot boats going 10+ knots around here.

Put in the perspective of the skippers, I sure would be annoyed if someone ran out of the side channel running astern and I didn't have time to avoid a collision.

I have to wonder also if the backing boat had to get out of the channel to avoid the currents driving him onto something else in the channel. In other words the backing boat may have had two bad choices and once under way he really had to make the channel to get things under control.

Not the best seamanship in that case and of course I am reading a lot into this that is not supported by the description so far.
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