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VHF for collision avoidance - to use or not to use?

Navigator's dilemma - confusion over applicability of COLREGS Rule 13 or 15, coupled with misuse of VHF led to Meghna Princess and Dream Star colliding in congested Singapore Straits.

Meghna Princess was outbound from anchorage and joining the westbound TSS, and was on the stbd. side of Dream Star. Latter was approaching the pilot stn. Rule 15 was held to be applicable, making Dream Star the give-way vessel. However, Meghna Princess was held 70% at blame even though she was the stand-on vessel, because of (i) her reliance on VHF in deciding on a course of action contrary to COLREGS, and (ii) false testimony of her crew & falsifying records.

The court clarified that in sight of one another means 'observed by eye or with aid of binoculars but not by Radar'. It was also acknowledged that there is no embargo on VHF communications as they remain helpful for information dissemination in some circumstances, such as where the give-way vessel informs the stand-on vessel of action being taken to comply with the COLREGS, or when the stand-on vessel is asking the give-way vessel what action the latter is taking in order to comply with the COLREGS.

VHF for collision avoidance - Feb 2019 Seaways
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