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Increased Risk of Collision Off Singapore -Passage planning in confined waters ?

Confined water navigational guideline for ship

Confined waters means an area of the sea where the Width of the Safely Navigable Waterway is not more than about 2 miles, such as a Strait, considering the Draft of the vessel and Water Depth. The Master shall assume con of the vessel on the Bridge and shall increase officer(s) and/or lookout(s) as required

Passage planning in confined waters

For navigation in confined waters, the Master shall consider the following matters in planning a passage:

  1. Presence / Absence of special navigational rules and items to report.

  2. Information from the sailing directions, coast pilot, and so on.

  3. The draft of the vessel and the navigable sea area.

  4. The effect of squat and the need to keep sufficient under keel clearance.

  5. Expected tides and tidal currents.

  6. Weather conditions and countermeasures against restricted visibility.

  7. Use of navigation aids to maintain Continuous monitoring of vessels position, such as setting of Parallel Index line or ARPA Mapping, etc

  8. Passing time of danger points (Daylight / Night-time)

  9. The traffic density including the presence of fishing and the countermeasures

  10. The vessel's maneuvering ability

  11. Any necessity for adjustment of the vessel's speed.
Navigation in confined waters

Navigational guideline for ships in congested waters and The Check list for "Navigation in Confined Waters should be complied with


Traffic Separation Schemes (TSS)

TSS’s are frequently monitored by radar coverage by coastguard personnel, (e.g. Dover Strait). With AIS it is easy to identify vessels. Particular emphasis is therefore required regarding compliance with Rule 10 and in particular when crossing the traffic lanes. The rule requires:

(c) A vessel shall, so far as practicable, avoid crossing traffic lanes but if obliged to do so, shall cross on a heading as nearly as practicable at right angles to the general direction of traffic flow.

This is strictly enforced and vessel Masters have been fined in European Courts. It is essential that all Deck officers fully understand the requirements of Rule 10.



All passage plans must clearly show that the intention is to cross the lane at right angles or as close to as is practical. This minimizes the time a crossing vessel is in the lane irrespective of the tidal stream and should lead to a clear encounter situation with vessels passing through the main traffic lanes.

The UK MCA have issued MGN 364 which relates to the Dover Straits, however, the general separation scheme principles in Section 2 (Traffic Separation Schemes – Application of Rule 10) are equally applicable toall schemes and should be fully understood by Officers of the Watch.


Increased Risk of Collision Off Singapore

Vessels transiting through, or anchoring in, the territorial waters of Singapore, including the Eastern and Western outer port limit (OPL) anchorages of Singapore, are urged to be especially careful in the avoidance of collisions with other ships.

Evidence points to an increased risk of collision in this area where there is a large accumulation of vessels lying at anchor. A cargo vessel was recently in a situation, through no direct fault of her own, where she got entwined with another vessel that had dragged anchor.

It is important that while a vessel is at anchor in these areas that a full anchor watch is maintained at all times, with the vessel’s engines being kept at short notice of readiness. Bridge watch keeper(s) must not be distracted from their duties by other work or duties and must carefully monitor vessels both underway and at anchor that could pose a threat. If in doubt regarding another vessels or intentions, the Master must be called immediately, the main engine put on stand-by and the anchor party called to proceed forward immediately.

Masters should be aware that the Singapore Port (MPA) has no authority or control of the OPL anchorages. Caution should be used in selecting a suitable location to anchor, with due regard to the proximity of other anchored vessels, the strength and direction of prevailing tidal currents and the speed and direction of the wind at the time maneuvering takes place. Planning and execution of anchoring should be carried out in full compliance with local and international rules.

Maintain a good lookout and monitoring vessels in the vicinity is of course essential at all anchorages, and vessels must not hesitate to take action to avoid a collision, even though a vessel while at anchor is not classed as being ‘underway’.



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