Sovereign

There is a set of rules, known as the Collision Regulations, which have been designed to prevent collisions at sea. The original regulations were the 1960 Collision Regulations. These regulations were revised and updated under the recommendations of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to take into account the technical advances made in recent years and the increased use of specialist craft such as hovercraft, hydrofoils, etc. Under International Law any sovereign nation which is a party to an International Convention is bound to incorporate its terms into its own legal system. This does not occur automatically, and the United Kingdom Parliament did not incorporate the Collision Regulations until 1977. The Regulations were originally adopted, so as to make them have the binding force of law in the United Kingdom, by the Collision Regulations and Distress Signals Order 1977 (SI982). From then on the Regulations applied to British ships ‘on the high seas and all waters connected therewith navigable by seagoing vessels’. The 1972 Collision Regulations (incorporated into English law by the 1977 Order under SI982) were amended by Resolution A464 (xi) of the IMO. The 1977 Order in English law was revoked in 1983 when the Merchant Shipping (Distress Signals and Prevention of Collisions) Regulations 1983 were introduced. They were made effective as from the 1st June 1983 by Statutory Instrument 708 of 1983 (SI708). The object of the 1983 Regulations is to give effect to the amendments to the 1972 Regulations. Under the 1983 Regulations, United Kingdom vessels (wherever they may be) and any other vessels in United Kingdom waters are required to comply with the International Regulations as so amended. A detailed study of the Regulations is not necessary for this Course. It suffices to say that a breach of one of the Collision Regulations may well amount to a breach of the duty of care as imposed by the tort of negligence. The Regulations mainly concentrate on navigational issues such as sailing, steering, maintaining a proper lookout, face speeds, determining the risk of collisions, traffic separation, head-on situations and the exhibiting of lights and shapes, etc.