Who May Depart From the Navigation Rules?
Operators must take into account all navigational risks, the possibility of collisions, and any unique circumstances, such as the capabilities of the participating boats, when adhering to the navigational regulations. These factors might necessitate breaking the navigational rules in order to avoid a dangerous situation right away.
When should a vessel deviate from the navigation rules? This article covers some everyday situations that warrant deviating from maritime law. In addition, this article discusses a few more common reasons a vessel may deviate from the navigation rules: Persons in distress, Research vessels, and mental health emergencies. Hopefully, this information will help you decide whether or not a departure from navigation rules is necessary.
Situations in which a vessel may depart from the navigation rules
The IMO navigation rules apply in most situations, except for stand-on or less maneuverable vessels. Every operator is responsible for avoiding collisions and taking into account all dangers inherent to the navigation environment, including any special conditions or limitations of the vessels involved. While departures from the navigation rules are not always advisable, they may be necessary to avoid immediate danger. The following are some everyday situations in which a vessel may depart from the rules.
Fog. If a vessel is experiencing fog, it must slow down and use extreme caution to maintain the course. A vessel may be required to stop or reduce its speed in certain circumstances if it is not clear whether it is safe to proceed. Likewise, vessels must navigate with extreme caution until the fog lifts and the danger of collision has passed. The rules also govern collision-avoidance rules, which apply when a vessel is involved in an accident or a collision.
Persons experiencing a mental health crisis
When a person has a mental health crisis, they may depart from the navigation rules. This is a departure from the traditional approach, which adheres to maritime law to the letter. Departing from the rules of navigation is permitted when there is an imminent risk to the person’s safety. This way, they can communicate with those threatening their lives. In the case of a mental health crisis, a person may also be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and may not be able to follow simple directions.
Research vessels must comply with the traditional maritime laws and regulations. Although they may occasionally deviate from the navigation rules, this does not mean they should not abide by them. The safety of all shipmates is the primary responsibility of the watch officers and scientific parties. While research at sea may be dangerous, it must be carried out safely and within the confines of the rules. Research vessels should not deviate from the standard track of the cruise plan without prior agreement from the ship’s Master.
In some circumstances, a research vessel may deviate from the navigation rules to conduct research activities. For example, while the science is on board, the crew may want to go on a shore excursion. The crew should be aware of any safety precautions and procedures. Those not accustomed to navigating a ship may be concerned about violating the navigation rules. This could lead to a collision, resulting in severe injury or death.