Rule

In The General VII (1990) a collision occurred between the vessel Rora Head and the motor tug General VII in the River Thames. The overriding cause of the collision was the failure on the part of both ships to maintain a proper look out in accordance with Rule 5. General VII was also at fault for approaching the fairway in a manner which obstructed Rora Head. It was the navigation of General VII which created the situation of difficulty and for which she must bear the greater proportion of blame. General VII was 60 per cent to blame and Rora Head was 40 per cent to blame. Rule 6 introduces the idea of safe speed instead of moderate speed. In The San Nicolas and Fraternity L (1994) it was held that the sole cause of the collision was the alteration of heading to port by Fraternity L. The Fraternity L was proceeding at an unsafe speed which caused her to be unable to control herself. Rule 7 is largely new and lays down emphasis on the importance of determining the ‘risk of collision’. Rule 8 (providing for action to avoid collisions) has been strengthened by the substitution of the word ‘shall’ in place of ‘should’ in describing the obligation to take positive action. Rule 10 is based on traffic separation schemes which have developed in recent years. (Now amended and defined by IMO Resolutions. Traffic separation schemes are listed in Notice to Mariners No. 17 and the Department of Transport has issued an ‘M’ Notice regarding observation of traffic separation schemes.) Part C of the Regulations deals with lights and shapes and now applies in all weather conditions. Part D of the Regulations deals with sounds. Under s. 92 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1992 a master of a U.K. ship or foreign ship within the U.K. has a duty, in any case of collision, to render assistance where possible to the other ship and to give details to the other ship of his own ship and a voyage route. Failure to comply does not go to the presumption of fault of the collision but is an offence. Under s. 93 (RSA 1992) the master has a duty to assist ships, etc. in distress.