Impact of ship collision on marine environment
1. Introduction
From the above summary, we can find that this paper focuses on all aspects of ship collision that are related to the marine environment. We can also see that it can be divided into separate sections, starting from the introduction part until the somewhat conclusion part. In the introduction part, we find that the writer would like to emphasize the fundamental understanding of the marine environment. This is very useful as the readers do not have previous knowledge on the related topic, so this knowledge would help readers to understand better the overall content of the paper. On top of that, the writer should point out the problem related to the marine environment after the introduction. This approach can show the relevance between the content of the paper and the title of it. Last but not least, the outline of this paper is given, which is very helpful because it can help readers to expect what is going to be discussed. This summary is very useful as it can provide a literature of understanding on the related topics of ship collision. With the support of these literatures, it can help enhance the understanding of the readers on the significance of the problem and the motivation of the paper. Last but not least, the objective of writing this summary is to provide a detailed overview of the understanding of the impact of ship collision on the marine environment. So, this can also help the writer to write in a more organized way and make the readers’ understanding more thorough. So, this summary can be something like a literature review but in a more detailed way of understanding. By providing the very first information as the background of the marine environment, which is very useful and important as it is a new thing to the readers. The details of where and the types of the marine environment have also been given, which is giving a basic understanding to the readers. After the background of the marine environment, it is stated that the ship can have a physical impact on the marine environment. But then, what does the writer want to address regarding the problem? Is it the “physical”? Yes, the oil that is released from the ship during the ship collision will become the main problem and cause a lot of damage to the marine water and the marine environment itself. So, the problem that is addressed in this paper is to further understand the impact of the oil release. For your information, it’s not just an ordinary research about citing a lot of facts and listing out the problems.
1.1 Background
The background to the problem that is being investigated in this research is discussed in this section. Over the last decades, the marine shipping industry has grown by leaps and bounds. There is more and more reliance on ship transportation for the collection of natural resources, as well as the transport of cargo due to globalization. With the increase in marine activities, impacts on the marine environment from human activities are also increasing. One of the potential man-made marine environmental problems is oil contamination, which may arise from shipping activities. Major oil pollution in the sea mostly comes from three different sources, which are the discharges from the normal operation of ships, illegal discharge of oily wastes from ships, and seafloor leakage. Today, technological advances as well as international oil pollution prevention and control conventions have helped reduce the potential for accidental oil contaminations, such as those from major oil spill incidents. However, the threat of accidental oil contaminations in the sea from marine shipping activities is still present, with the increasing pressure on the marine environment from the increase of marine shipping activities. It is found that ships are navigating the world’s oceans at a huge rate. With over 90,000 commercial vessels currently at sea, and hundreds of occurrences of collision every year (Molinari et al, 2004), ship collision is found as one of the major safety hazards in marine transportation. However, the possibility of the impact of ship collision on the marine environment has not been discussed often in the existing literature. This research aims at assessing the potential impacts of ship collision on the marine environment. The purpose of the original research is clearly and statfully set out by stating the aim and many steps in the background of the problem. In the last paragraphs of this research, potential findings and outcome of the clear guided step by step objectives of the research are being presented. The knowledge on propeller, the detailed reasons for oil contamination types, and water quality test procedures. It has been approved. With this valuable information available for access, it shows that the research has achieved its objectives.
1.2 Problem Statement
Ship collisions can have devastating impacts on the marine environment, such as oil spills, the release of other toxic chemicals, and the destruction of habitats. The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation has reported 2,679 accidental spills from ships between 1970 and 2016, with more than 70% of the oil spilled being the result of just 85 incidents. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration defines an oil spill as “the release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment due to human activity”. The spill can be fuel or oil from a ship or cargo tank, or oil from an offshore drilling rig. These spills can have a range of environmental effects, such as smothering of plants and animals in the environment, the illness or death of exposed organisms, the destruction of habitat, and a decrease in property values in the area around the spill. It is estimated that between 9 and 30% of the oil volume of a typical spill may ultimately evaporate, between 5 and 47% will be dispersed, and between 5 and 10% will be recovered, depending on logistical, weather and chemical factors. This oil into the water will float on the top and begin to rapidly spread out, forming a thin layer over the surface of the water. This can harm birds by disrupting their natural waterproofing and destroying their insulating ability, which can result in hypothermia. For example, the UK’s biggest ever common guillemot rescue operation took place after the Sea Empress oil spill in Milford Haven in February 1996, where over 6,000 were affected by the spill. However, other animals such as fish can be harmed through contact with the oil or through inhalation of fumes. For example, the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council estimated that several hundred thousand sea birds, thousands of sea otters and hundreds of bald eagles died as a result of the Exxon Valdez incident. Also, many species in the marine environment lay eggs on the floor of the ocean. These eggs, if exposed to oil, may not hatch, and more animals may be affected. For those animals that do hatch and develop an oil-dependent life, they can have long term impacts on their growth and development. For example, the effects of direct ingestion of petroleum oil by fish can include various types of liver disease. The destruction of habitats is another potential impact of ship collisions on the marine environment. Oil can persist in the environment for decades and can disrupt the balance of an ecosystem. Oil and chemical spills can have a severe impact on the reproductive system of marine life, for example by affecting the development of eggs in the ovaries of adult fish or by reducing egg and sperm counts in sexually mature animals. Also, the loss of chemical contaminants can lead to bioaccumulation, which is the gradual build up of toxic chemicals in an organism’s tissue over time. Bioaccumulation and the presence of toxic chemicals can disrupt the entire food web and cause several severe forms of cancer and other genetic mutations in marine life in the future. This can lead to a severe loss in genetic diversity in the wider marine environment. The introduction of invasive species to an area through the ballast water of colliding ships is also a major environmental concern. Ballast tank water is used to steady a ship and maintain trim when it’s not fully loaded with cargo and may be taken up many thousands of miles away. However, if this water is taken in in an area where a species has adapted to living there then it discharged in a different area, it can have catastrophic impacts on the native species due to the introduction of foreign organisms. For example, zebra and quagga mussels accidentally introduced to North America in the ballast water from a ship have caused $1 billion worth of damage in the last 20 years through clogging of water pipes and filtration systems.
1.3 Objectives
The main objective of this study is to assess the environmental, social, and economic impacts of major ship collisions in the marine environment, using the Mauritius oil spill case study. The specific objectives that the researcher plans to achieve for the successful execution of the research project are to review and summarise available literature in relation to the environmental and ecological impacts of ship collisions and oil spills in the marine environment, to critically examine the extent of the impact of major ship collisions on the marine environment, to assess the management strategies that can effectively prevent major ship collisions in the future, to assess the effectiveness of the current emergency and contingency measures in place to prevent marine pollution following ship collisions, to make an objective assessment of the potential challenges and issues that may hamper the effective implementation of measures that are designed to prevent major ship accidents and to make informed recommendations for improvement in the management of major potential marine accidents such as oil spills in the future. These objectives are achievable by means of the research process that has been planned and is going to be started very soon. This includes reviewing relevant literature and conducting fieldwork on the affected areas as well as examining legislative provisions that are currently in place to prevent major ship accidents in the marine environment. The expected findings will provide a solid foundation for the formulation of effective measures and strategies to prevent and manage major ship collisions and oil spills in the future.
2. Overview of Ship Collisions
An incident at sea can occur in a number of ways, including not only actual collisions between two vessels or a vessel and an object, but also incidents where a vessel runs aground, breaches or overflows, or damage occurs to the vessel’s hull or structure. There are many different factors which can give rise to a ship collision, but the most fundamental and common cause is simple human error. Other causes can include adverse weather and sea conditions, technical problems with the vessel’s equipment or navigation systems, or indeed a combination of these factors. There are very strict legal time limits within which any potential claim following a ship collision must be commenced in court, known as the “limitation periods”. These are usually as short as two years from the date of the incident for “personal injury” or “death” claims and three years for material damage claims. However, in cases where the collision occurs in or near a foreign jurisdiction, shorter time limits, increased security demands and other local legal and procedural requirements can apply. It is therefore vital that investigation of a potential claim following a ship collision begins as soon as is practicable, to secure essential and potentially time-sensitive evidence to support the case. This will often involve involving an experienced legal team with a network of international contacts to coordinate the necessary investigations and provide advice on the nature, weight and admissibility of evidence collected. Taking prompt and effective legal advice can give the best possible chance of success in any potential legal action arising from a ship collision, and the claim will ensure any potential claim is brought within the relevant time limits. The aftermath of a ship collision can be difficult and distressing, whether a person has suffered injury or has lost property and possessions. However, by being armed with the best quality legal advice and support from an early stage, there is assurance of the best possible protection of the claim and a satisfactory outcome for all involved.
2.1 Definition and Types of Ship Collisions
Ship collisions in general terms are referred to as “allision” or “running down”. An allision is a type of marine accident that takes place when a moving vessel strikes a stationary object, whereas the term “running down” describes the situation if a moving vessel hits another that is not stationary. Such collisions can occur for any number of reasons, including imprudence and inattention of navigators, defects in the ship, or even from the forces of nature. Vessels are instructed to maintain a proper lookout, which is the practice of paying diligent attention to the navigation of the ship and to the sea ahead and around to avoid accidents. Further, despite the advanced technology of nowadays, the use of radar and automatic radar plotting aid, a collision could still occur. And it is also important to note the large variety in terms of the size of vessels and in the maritime sector as ships can range from cargo ships to oil tankers and to offshore supply vessels in the shipping industry. It is the duty of the vessel’s owner to appoint a properly qualified and experienced person known as a “surveyor” to investigate and assess the cause of the collision. These qualified surveyors will be able to provide a reliable and expert report on matters such as collision damage, condition of the vessel, or personal injury claims as a consequence of such collision. On the other hand, the owner of the vessel will have a right to recover compensation for the damage to his or her ship (caused by collision) from any other person who is wholly or partly to be blamed for the accident, given that if the incident is brought by the person’s negligence or wrongful act. If two or more ships are at fault, then liability shall be apportioned. However, if the ship on which the damage occurs is also at fault, then the owner of that vessel would not be able to recover the full amount of compensation. Additionally, if the collision occurs within the remits of a harbor or dockyard, the harbor authority requires that the incident be reported as it is mandatory to report any ship impact against harbor facilities, moorings, or buoys and such. Due to the severity of potential injury and damage and the possibilities of loss of life, bodily injuries, and damage are great (especially in collision cases), there are also specific laws and regulations that govern such cases in the present legal system. For example, in the UK, investigation for the cause of any collision is carried out by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) under the framework of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, which provides for an independent investigation into the occurrence of accidents in the shipping and the prevention of such accidents. Also, in the Registration of Ships Act 1994 and the Merchant Shipping Act 1988, it is stated that certain types of vessels are required to be registered and they are defined as “ship” in the Act. Such investigation mechanisms are in place to prevent and avoid accidents from occurring again by identifying the cause of a collision, reviewing and learning from any defects, and taking appropriate methods to lessen the possible risks and impacts.
2.1 Definition and Types of Ship Collisions
2.2 Causes of Ship Collisions
Over the years, the maritime community has observed two types of causes that contribute to ship collision incidents: navigational causes and non-navigational causes. Navigational causes consist of a wide range of factors like inattentiveness on the part of the OOW, inefficient lookout, excessive reliance on ARPA, improper use of helm or engine, and ignoring the COLREGS. On the other hand, non-navigational causes, which are often categorized as ‘human error’, refer to errors of judgment or conduct that are made by the people who plan or manage the conduct of a ship, rather than those who are responsible for operating it. However, the term is used, three sub-categories of non-navigational causes emerge from the jurisprudence, and these are ‘failure to have proper procedures’, ‘failure to give proper instructions’, and ‘deviation from proper procedures’. Like the major ship collisions, the report should also focus on engineering work identity that has numerous causes and a high number of fatal work accidents. 99.8% of the accidents were caused by human, environmental, and organizational factors rather than machinery and technical failure. For my knowledge today, Kissalytics Autorelease is the kind of news website that is quite different from the others. It focuses not only on the technological sides like ‘big data’, which was introduced in the ‘New York Times’ today, that I probably won’t understand everything because the people in the ship work that is related to technological parts are probably all human and organization. Well, what made me choose this? When aiming to provide detailed information, the guidance stipulates that, if possible, only the latest data should be presented, and if the data is ten years old, the age of the data must be conspicuously displayed in the graph.
2.3 Frequency and Severity of Ship Collisions
The frequency of ship collisions overall, as well as the frequency of ship collisions with other ships, with fixed and floating objects, and with the shore, will depend on many factors. These frequencies will also depend upon the specific type of ship and intended use. In general, experience has shown that a significant number of ship collisions occur because of human error. Such errors may include errors in navigation, failure to maintain a proper lookout, and mistakes in ship handling. If, however, a ship collision case goes to court, it must be shown to have been caused by the violation of a specific statute or rule designed to prevent ship collisions, or by a deviation from ordinary care. This means that in order to be held liable, the offending party must have actually done something wrong. The injury was not a result of some unavoidable accident, or solely the result of the injured party’s own negligence. The severity of ship collisions is usually calculated by considering the striking and struck masses, the angle and speed of their approach, the materials from which the boats are made, relative states of damage to the boats, and so on. However, this analysis has limited use. It is common for navigational assessments to be made on the basis of so-called “light” and “heavy” ships and what those ships are likely to come into contact with. Heavier, manned ships used for commercial or military purposes and likely to encounter similarly substantial objects. Such ships are usually expected to undertake an analysis of their ship collision risk and what might happen if an impact does occur. On the other hand, lighter ships such as those of a pleasure craft nature and which might come into contact with less substantial objects like moored boats, likely fall under a separate category of legislative protection. Specifically, recreational ships likely must have insurance, including cover for potential ship collisions. The factors involved in these frequencies and severity assessments are many and varied.
3. Environmental Impacts of Ship Collisions
When ships collide and oil pollution causes damage to a marine environment, the person or company responsible is held liable for any clean-up costs. Oil spills during and after ship collisions can have a higher environmental impact on water, the sea bed, the coast, and marine resources, such as commercial fisheries, than oil spills in other situations. The oil released from a ship spreads out on the water in a thin layer and can be broken down by natural processes, such as the action of wind and sunlight. However, this can take time and, depending on weather conditions at the time of the collision, can give rise to a substantial claim for cleaning up the pollution. In comparison to other types of claims, such as for cargo or ship damage, claims for clean-up costs can be very substantial. That’s because of many factors, including the manpower and equipment, such as specialized vessels and dispersants but also some contribution towards the cost of the emergency response to the oil pollution. When a ship strikes coral reefs or important marine habitats, such as nature reserves, mangroves, seagrass beds, and sponge fields, the damage can be permanent and devastating. In addition to cleaning up the pollution, there may be liability for compensation for replacing or restoring the habitat. The approach to replacing or restoring an impacted habitat can often be a long process involving detailed scientific investigation and research to establish what should be done. Nonetheless, the cost of replacing and restoring habitats can be very substantial, often exceeding the cost of repairing the damage to the ship itself. At present, compensation for habitat damage is typically awarded under national laws and regulations, rather than international conventions.
3.1 Oil Spills and Pollution
Oil spills are one of the most immediately visible and damaging environmental impacts of a ship collision. When a ship carrying oil or oil-based products runs aground on a reef or the ocean floor, or is otherwise breached, the petroleum product immediately begins to escape into the surrounding water. Since oil and water do not mix well, especially in the rough and turbulent waters that often accompany storms or submerged or partially submerged obstacles that might cause a ship to sink, large amounts of the oil stay in its distinct form. This is a problem because the chemicals in oil – the components that give it the properties it has, and affect the life and health of the plants and animals in an ecosystem – are, by and large, toxic to life. Applicable to this, even in relatively small spills, large numbers of fish, birds and other animals perish either through direct contact with the oil or through inhalation of oil fumes. Of course, when a large and prolonged spill occurs as a result of a major shipping disaster, such as the Exxon Valdez grounding, the impact on the local and global environment can be truly devastating. Governments and private companies with experience in cleaning up environmental disasters have developed a number of techniques to minimise the impact of large scale oil spills. One of the most important is the construction of physical barriers and the deployment of chemical dispersants. Booms, which are large floating barriers that surround a ship or absorbent materials that are used to physically block the spread of oil across the surface of the water, can keep the oil contained in a smaller area, which means that the recovery teams can focus on a known and limited damage zone. On the other hand, chemical dispersants are specially manufactured products that are carefully sprayed over the oil slick from the air. These cause the oil to form into small, individual droplets that are much more easily broken up and then diluted into the surrounding water. This significantly increases the speed at which the oil will break down naturally and minimises the ability of the oil to adversely affect marine life.
3.2 Habitat Destruction and Biodiversity Loss
Apart from oil spills and underwater noise, another major impact resulting from ship collisions is habitat destruction and biodiversity loss. The habitats that are most susceptible to collisions are coral reefs, seagrass beds, salt marshes, mangroves, and intertidal mud flats, many of which are commercially and ecologically important areas. These areas are particularly vulnerable because of their location. Extensive areas of shallow subtidal habitat can often be located close to shipping lanes and ports. It is these areas that are typically earmarked for land claim and development, due to their central location and the ease with which the shallow ground can be reclaimed from the sea. Vessel strikes are even more problematic for marine mammals such as manatees, dugong, and whales because of their low reproductive rates. The loss of even a small number of individuals from a localized population can have a serious impact on the genetic viability of a species. This is in stark contrast to most fish species which have large numbers of offspring and are more resilient to population decreases as a result of ship collisions. The vulnerability of a species to ship collisions therefore depends on its breeding biology and life history. It has been suggested that the impact of ship collisions on fish is currently underestimated in comparison with the impacts on marine mammals and reptiles, due to the general lack of data on the number of fish killed by vessel strikes. However, given the huge number of fish that reside in any given body of water, vessel strikes are unlikely to present a risk to the survival of a fish species as a whole. Overall, the scientific community agrees that habitat destruction from ship collisions, particularly in shallow waters, is an ecological concern that can only be mitigated by substantial changes in maritime policy and infrastructure. This is why the vast majority of research on ship collisions and habitat destruction to date has been focused on working out where and why vessel strikes occur, and how we can best prevent them in the future.
3.3 Introduction of Invasive Species
The discharge of ballast water has been identified as another major factor contributing to the spread of invasive species. Ballast water is routinely discharged from ships for stability or trim (the longitudinal attitude of the boat), often thousands of kilometers away from where it was taken in. The water is frequently taken in port and coastal areas, where species concentrations are highest, and this means that invasive species are often transported from their source region to a new area via ballast water. Given that shipping trades are continuing to focus on a limited number of species, the conditions for the establishment of new and successful invasions appear to be ideal. The spread of invasive species resulting from the discharge of ballast water has had a range of negative impacts on the environment, human health, and the economy. Waiting for someone to say that particular causes have been affected due to the spread of such species before referring to other causes. For example, the impact of invasive species on biodiversity or particular species in certain regions, such as zebra mussels in the Great Lakes, could be mentioned ahead of any additional comments related to the spread of disease. Such an approach can help the author to provide a logical structure and a clear line of argument for the reader. On the other hand, if the contention is that the sheer number of invasive species makes them very difficult to control without an effective legislative response, this could be supported by findings that show the extent of species immigration as a result of ballast water discharge, followed by a reference to the fact that new methodologies which have proven successful in preventing the introduction of invasive species are often only partially adopted. This could help to guide the reader through a more comprehensive investigation into the causes and consequences of a history of relative inaction. It is expected and acceptable for this type of essay that a combination of transport level controls, such as the introduction of new ballast water management systems. On a final note, if the chosen topic for coursework specifically relates to the interpretation of ‘invasive’ in the context of invasive species, it is crucial to include such definitions in the introduction, thus demonstrating clear understanding of how the focus of the essay is set by the question posed. Coherence in the order of the essay’s content provides a more logical and clear explanation to the reader of how the chosen topic is being addressed, in this case, an analysis of the causes and consequences of marine invasive species.
3.4 Effects on Marine Mammals and Fish
The effects of ship collisions, including habitat destruction and pollution, often have serious consequences for marine mammals, such as whales and dolphins, and fish. One of the most significant consequences for marine mammals and fish is the introduction of hazardous materials into their natural environment. This is often caused by the spillage of toxic chemicals, such as pesticides and other synthetic materials that are carried by many cargo ships. When these substances enter the marine environment, they can have adverse effects on marine mammal and fish populations. For example, the chemicals can contaminate the tissue and organs of individual wildlife, potentially leading to widespread health issues for different species. In some cases, the ability of individual marine mammals to reproduce can be affected, hampering efforts to conserve and increase vulnerable populations. Similarly, toxic chemicals can weaken fish immune systems and reduce their capacity to survive in a contaminated environment. The destruction of marine habitats and changes in water composition caused by ship collisions pose serious threats to many different species of wildlife. Whales, who are particularly vulnerable to shipping accidents due to their large size and tendency to inhabit areas that overlap with major shipping lanes, face serious danger from habitat destruction. For example, many whale species rely on echolocation, a vital sense that allows them to communicate, hunt, and navigate their environments. However, if their natural habitat is damaged by a ship collision, the complex underwater terrain that whales depend on for successful echolocation may be altered or lost. This can make it difficult for whales to find food and suitable breeding grounds. On top of the physical and chemical dangers to marine life, the noise created by ship traffic and collisions can have a range of negative effects on the behaviour, health, and communication of different species. For example, certain cetaceans, such as whales and dolphins, rely on the sophisticated use of sound to navigate and to maintain social bonds within family groups. However, the increasing levels of underwater noise from ships can interfere with this intricate, sound-based way of life for many marine mammals. Psychological distress, disorientation, and migration away from key habitats are all associated with exposure to the high-intensity noise created by ship collisions.
4. Mitigation Measures and Prevention Strategies
The implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) conventions, standards, and recommended practices is a key strategy to address the issue of ship collisions. The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships are two vital legal frameworks designed to ensure maritime safety and the protection of the marine environment. Therefore, all commercial ships in international waters are required to comply with these conventions by carrying out regular maintenance, safety, and pollution prevention measures. Moreover, all new ships are required to undergo a formal safety assessment process during the design and construction stage, and the vessels that successfully complete the assessment will be issued with the International Safety Management Code (ISM). This code has provisions for the safe management and operation of ships, and on the other hand, ships that do not comply with the code may be detained and prohibited from leaving port. As such, the ISM Code helps to regulate and control the condition and operation of ships, reducing the likelihood of ship collisions. In Shenzhen, China, ships at berth are required to use onshore power supply to reduce air pollution. This regulation was enforced on 1st January 2019, and since then, every port in the city has been installed with electrical infrastructure to supply shore power to ships. By encouraging ships to use shore power, the regulation is not only effective in reducing air pollution but also in lowering the greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming.
4.1 International Regulations and Guidelines
Also, documents required to be shown when ships enter or leave port, the minimum standard of occupational health of seafarers, and mandatory insurance requirements provided for seafarers under the International Labour Organization (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC.2006) and the United Kingdom regulation called ‘Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Minimum requirement for seafarers etc.) and the flag state inspectors’ inspection regulation, are also definitions of the international regulations and guidelines for the ships.
The IMO has established a list of nations with special interest in navigational warnings and routing measures and according to the list, European Union countries should be notified when a vessel moves under the EU traffic monitoring measures. Also, the Automatic Identification System (AIS) was established under the SOLAS Chapter V. It is an automated tracking system used on ships and by vessel traffic services (VTS) for identifying and locating vessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships and with VTS. AIS transmissions also assist in coastal surveillance and monitoring. The data provided by AIS, with proper setup and interface with radar or electronic chart display, can be used to provide continuous real-time position and identification of each vessel. The system has been designed to avoid the risk of false indication or malfunction due to a single point failure and especially in open sea with high traffic density, users can exchange the information in a timely manner which will strengthen the overall collision avoidance system.
IMO also requires all ocean-going vessels to be equipped with AIS for better functioning of the traffic management in the Port and maritime authorities and avoid sea collisions. These two Conventions are the most significant and widely followed international regulations. In addition, there are also organizations and legal provisions that deal with specific types of vessels and situations.
Another main regulation is the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which came into force in 1980. The main objectives of SOLAS are to specify minimum standards for the construction, equipment, and operation of ships, compatible with their safety. It includes various measures designed to improve safety and reduce the risk to human life. For example, Chapter V of SOLAS regulates ‘Safety of Navigation’. It also divides the sea area into different routing systems and requires all ships to be fitted with suitable navigation systems. This chapter and the SOLAS requirement on the ship-borne navigational equipment and its performance ensure the capability and proper functioning of the automatic identification system (AIS) mentioned above.
In accordance with the provisions of the COLREG, Contracting Parties are required to notify other countries and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) of any changes to their national rules and regulations. This will enable other countries to be informed and take necessary adjustments of their ship routing measures and means of navigation.
The main international regulation for the prevention of collisions at sea is the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREG). Adopted in 1972, it provides rules to be followed by ships and there are currently 44 Contracting Parties to the convention. It is important to note that the rules and guidelines established in COLREG do not apply to warships, naval ships, and submarines. Instead, these vessels are governed by their own specific requirements.
4.2 Ship Design and Technology Improvements
There are technological and design improvements being made with the aim of preventing ship collisions and improving the survivability of ship crews. The importance of ship design and technical measures for preventing ship collisions has been frequently emphasized by researchers and marine engineers. For example, double hulls and mid-deck designs are now mandatory in tanker design under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). These designs can eliminate the potential risks of oil spills caused by low energy collisions by maintaining an oil tight barrier between the cargo and the marine environment. Revised and future amendments to MARPOL are also focused on promoting cleaner and environmentally friendly ship technologies such as promoting the use of alternative fuels and diesel engines with the adoption of the new MARPOL Annex VI. In naval architecture, researchers are actively investigating the application of advanced materials such as fibre-reinforced plastics and polymer composites in ship design to create more effective and practical structural enhancements to reduce collision damages. This is particularly important in the context of large container ships, which are vulnerable to catastrophic damages if the external form is breached. I believe the collaboration between material scientists, naval architects, and marine engineers will pave the way for further development and applications of such technology in the marine industry. In addition to passive forms of technological improvements in preventing ship collisions, alert and alarm technology has the potential to enhance survivability and safety. For instance, smart navigation buoys which make use of satellite and mobile communication provide real-time positional information to assist ships in a narrow passage without running aground. Another development is the Automatic Identification System (AIS), which is a technology that allows ships in proximity with each other to automatically exchange vessel’s identification and location information in the VHF band. AIS has various alerting and monitoring functions such as anti-collision, tracking history and remote control. From my interpretation, the emerging and future trends are to create a comprehensive system that merges on-board alert and alarm systems with the shore-based remote monitoring and support facilities, known as the Voyage Data Services (VDS). This will not only enable continuous analysis of voyage data including ship’s positional and motion parameters but also facilitate timely professional support to avoid dangerous situations and prevent collisions. The VDS has the potential to bring together marine IT technologies and the latest developments in navigation and communication systems. I am certain that future ships will be safer to navigate with such an advanced automated system. The above mentioned improvements, in my opinion, certainly represent promising achievements in the field of ship design and technology for the purpose of preventing ship collisions. However, given the life cycle of ships which can prolong over decades and the rigorous tests that maritime technology has to undertake for global adoption, some of these innovations can take a long time to become a standard requirement in practice. Besides, with the wide variety of tasks that different crews are expected to work on during navigation and the constraints of different sea conditions and geographic locations, more research and development in the human factors and operational aspects of these technologies are needed to ensure maximum safety benefits and effective implementation on board.
4.3 Training and Education for Maritime Personnel
Training and education for maritime personnel is a key mitigation measure to prevent ship collisions. This includes both initial and ongoing training for crew, as well as formal education for those working in the maritime industry. Currently, safety training and drills are required by the International Safety Management Code to ensure crew are competent and familiar with emergency procedures. However, emphasis should be placed on the development of generic non-technical skills, such as situational awareness, decision making, and communication as well. Such training should be interactive, undertaken in realistic working environments, and supplemented with both continuous assessment and interactive learning. Techniques such as simulation and virtual reality can be used to familiarize ship crews with normal operations, as well as providing practice in identifying and managing abnormal situations. This is particularly relevant for senior officers and those in command, who require a higher level of non-technical skills. As for education, the introduction of new technologies and working practices requires the next generation of maritime workers – such as deck and engine officers, to be taught according to modern curriculums. These should embed the principles of human factors and safety management from the outset and keep pace with the very latest developments in technology. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is increasingly embracing these future-looking strategies – for instance, the new second engineer officer certificate of competency requires approved education and training in both marine environmental awareness and electronic chart display and information systems. This ensures that young engineers are prepared for the important role of information technology in aiding safe and effective procedures at sea. In addition, continuous professional development and learning within the maritime industry is supported by the institution of Civil Engineers. Through its maritime division – a learned society for all maritime professionals, and its continuing professional development program, individuals can access a wide range of industry-specific training to aid career progression. Now the institution has also introduced the maritime supervisors and managers course which, upon successful completion, leads to registration as an incorporated member of the institution. This is an essential qualification for current and future industry leaders and will encourage the application of the most up-to-date safety and operational best practice. By combining experienced and well-informed leadership with comprehensive and ongoing training for all seafarers – from basic safety drills to more advanced and specific tuition, the risks associated with human error can be minimized. And as those working in the industry become more aware of the potential consequences of accidents at sea through better understanding of the environmental impacts and the ways in which stakeholders, such as local and national governments, take action to protect their environments, the culture of safety will be ingrained even further.
4.4 Enhanced Navigation Systems and Traffic Management
The availability of GNSS systems, particularly the widespread use of the American GPS as well as the upcoming European Union’s Galileo system and Russian GLONASS, has led to the development of dynamic positioning (DP) as well as the e-Navigation concept. DP is a computer-controlled system to automatically maintain a vessel’s position and heading by using its own propellers and thrusters. Nowadays, it is not uncommon for offshore work vessels and even large merchant ships to be equipped with DP capabilities. On the other hand, the e-Navigation concept aims to harmonize the exchange of information among vessels and shore-side traffic services, in order to enhance navigational safety and security, as well as the protection of the marine environment. This is achieved by implementing into a single display system many of the functions, routes and reporting capable systems that are already in use. Such user-friendly and interactive displays would replace the reliance on numerous paper charts and traditional methods of monitoring and updating a vessel’s progress. In fact, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has already started supporting the development and implementation of e-Navigation, recognizing that a harmonized, user-friendly information system is needed to improve the safety and efficiency of navigation.
Navigation is about more than finding your way. It’s also about keeping track of your surroundings and not losing sight of your objectives. With the rapid advances in technology, navigational systems are also undergoing significant changes. These include a shift from traditional means of navigation to the use of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), the integration of electronic chart display and information systems (ECDIS) into mainstream bridge technology, and the adoption of web-based marine applications for voyage planning and route checking.

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