Use of VHF Radio in Collision Avoidance

Use of VHF Radio in Collision Avoidance

Until 1800s sailing vessels have not been of risk relating to collision at sea. As for the beginning of the 18th century, collision risks came forth with the rise of steamships at sea. Thus, as the ships are being power driven and equipped with engine propulsion, the number of collisions has gradually increased resulting the composition of certain rules and regulations. Regardless of the chronology, these regulations took the latest form in 1972.

Before the 19th century, human factor has emerged as a privileged cause of accidents at sea and statistical inference has been stated in the midst of 48% and 85%. Based on the research by United States Coast Guard (USCG), human factor has been stated as a major cause with 85% between 1999 and 2001. COLREGs were initially compiled in 1910. It has not been specified within the Regulations, yet the use of VHF radio has been preferred as one of the convenient and practical methods in order to avoid risk of collision.

People opt to the methods they think to be the best way out of a situation. Research shows that many navigators seem not disposed of fundamental investigation all the time on what sort of problems they can come across while trying to sort out the existing ones. Nonetheless, some methods to solve a case might relatively bring major ones along with them. In this article, it is intended to bring forward a few particular cases described, consequences and information regarding the issue of collision risk at sea considering the facts based on the reasons why officers on board ship have been referring to use VHF radio communication by simply ignoring to comply with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs/72) and eventually why it seems inconsequential to use VHF radio.

To illustrate with respect to research carried out by Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) on some of the collisions at sea, it has been determined that the Officers of the Watch seem to have tried to use VHF radio to communicate and prevent collision, thereof some are culminating in a waste of time leading to eventually collision at sea. With reference to those declared, many are subject to research into human factor.

There are many international personnel working on board ship. Thence the common language in the Maritime Industry has been specified as English. Occasionally, given the difference of mother tongue, accent and proficiency in English language and such criteria seem to have turned out to be complications in terms of effective communication. In such cases, it would be more feasible to fully comply with the actions in accordance with the rules and regulations simultaneously in ample time rather than trying to establish a communication of verbal form.

In line with the exemplary cases on inevitable collisions, one of the causes, which is establishing a VHF radio communication, has eventually detained the action that should have been taken in order to avoid collision. Consequently, even though the verbal communication is deemed to be a practical way to avoid risk of collision, it is hereby demonstrated to be unnecessary and waste of time to the core.


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