Article

Tina gets a rude awakening

At noon on 2 February 1999, the fishing vessel Tina was at anchor 30 miles east of Noosa Head, QLD.  Visibility was poor, with heavy rain.  The skipper and two crew on board were asleep, when the skipper was awakened by the sound of a ship’s whistle.  Running to the wheelhouse, they saw the bow of a ship going past, and the hull of the ship made contact with Tina’s starboard boom.  The duty officer on the ship, the Cemtex General, said he was using radar to assist with keeping a lookout.  The radar did not detect the fishing vessel and it was only spotted when the ship was one ship length away.  Who was at fault … the Cemtex General or Tina?

Investigation determined that the speed of the ship was not safe under Rule 6 (Safe speed), and despite conditions of poor visibility, no whistle signals were being sounded aboard the Cemtex General, as required by Rule 35.  The ship was also cited for not maintaining a proper lookout (Rule 5).  However, the fishing vessel Tina was also at fault: she was not displaying the correct signals for a vessel at anchor (Rule 30), contributing to the duty officer’s impression that the vessel was making way.  No lookout was being kept aboard Tina, even though she was anchored in a busy shipping lane.  What signal should the Cemtex General have made?  What day shape should Tina have displayed?

Source: Australian Transport Safety Bureau

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