Weather Routing

Today’s more sophisticated systems of weather reporting and forecasting have enabled specialist companies to offer a service to ship’s masters. On contracting with the Weather Routing company the Master is given information about the weather likely to prevail on his voyage with advice as to courses to steer to avoid the worst of it. During the voyage the ship keeps in touch with the routeing service both to report on the weather the ship is actually experiencing and to receive any amendments to the suggested route as a result of the forecast being updated. Not only does this service make for safer/quicker passages but also the data recorded by the routing company can provide expert evidence when a dispute arises about the affect of weather on a voyage. Even without actual routeing service advice, satellite communication systems now enable ships to receive up to the minute weather information including forecasts, charts and satellite images. Nevertheless, casualty reports still contain references to ships being sunk without trace or survivors due, it is presumed, to the stress of weather. The insurance world also takes account of the increased risks caused by climatic conditions and requires shipowners to pay increased premiums if they intend to trade outside the Institute Warranty Limits.