The Business Times

Cut the VHF chatter, follow the rules!

A recently launched guide says many investigations reveal VHF radio communication is a contributing factor in collisions at sea

Published Tue, May 27, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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TOGETHER with shipping industry organisation Bimco, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore have jointly published what is described as a "handy pamphlet for users of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS)". It covers best practices to be observed, and the importance of keeping to the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (Colregs).

A statement announcing the pamphlet's launch noted that SOMS remains one of the busiest and most important shipping lanes in the world. It is a vital sea line of communication, carrying about one-third of the world's traded goods and used by ships voyaging from west to east. So not surprisingly, the publishers stress that "safety of navigation and the protection of the marine environment in the SOMS are of paramount importance".

In a perfect world, where all masters and watchkeepers knew the collision regulations by heart and always conducted their vessels in a seaman-like manner, there would be no need for a SOMS guide. It does contain some local information but in general it reinforces behaviour that should be deeply engrained in all professional mariners anyway.

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