Ferries taking shortcuts

vasco
10th May 2009, 15:19
I have recently been anchored off the Isle of Wight in the St Helens Road anchorage.

This is a fairly busy anchorage used by coastal tankers, my size is about 6000t. Some of the tankers are loaded, some are gas and I guess all would make a bang of some kind if hit. We were well spaced with a clearance of 0.4 mile.

I was surprised to see ferries of all types and sizes coming between us, obviously only having a clearance of 2 cables at the most. There is a perfectly good channel to the North. Apart from the obvious facts of saving 1 mile or less than 5 minutes off a journey is there any reason for these vessels to do this?

It seems to me madness, one hiccup with their steering and they will hit somebody. The cargo I was carrying was the same as the Kashmirs, if you want to see what happens to that in a collision look here http://gcaptain.com/maritime/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/chemical-tanker-kashmir-on-fire.jpg .

Is there a bit of the Port mentality creeping in? In port some close quarter situations are inevitable, perhaps a bit of complacency creeps in?

I know if I passed that close at sea I would soon get a blast and maybe a mention in CHIRPS.

Vasco

NoMoss
10th May 2009, 16:48
I live in Bembridge and often see the ferries pass very close in, especially the Commodores. Having sailed on ferries there is a mentality of saving minutes to safeguard slots sometimes perhaps that is why - or perhaps it is familiarity breeding contempt. Perhaps a brief note to CHIRPS would be a good idea.

Pompeyfan
11th May 2009, 11:13
I have noticed that the Commodores go close inshore in and out shore side of the Nab anchorage, then onto the St Helen's anchorage, and the Britanny St Malo ferry comes in close as well in and out along with Pride of Bilbao. I remember being aboard these ferries and seeing how close they got especially to those anchored in St Helen's Road.

At present according to AIS there are four ship anchored in St Helen's Road and 6 at the Nab anchorage. Commodore Clipper has just come through the inside of the Nab anchorage ships, and at present off St Catherines on her way to the channel islands.

It can get quite rough at both anchorages which must make an accident more likely as well as fog. The area was once renown for ships coming ashore especially in fog. Naturally radar helps prevent that now and collision, but being so close in this area is not good.

At what point do they come under QHM Portsmouth, and VTS Southampton. I thought they called up QHM for example if going into Portsmouth around the Nab anchorage area?. Don't QHM tell them what route to take?.

David

vasco
11th May 2009, 11:22
At what point do they come under QHM Portsmouth, and VTS Southampton. I thought they called up QHM for example if going into Portsmouth around the Nab anchorage area?. Don't QHM tell them what route to take?.

David

Southampton VTS monitors the approaches right the way up. QHM most probably handles Portsmouth area.

I have not noticed VTS giving instructions except to warn of traffic, deep draught or other types such as dredgers.

Most VTS use phrases such as 'if you are happy doing this Captain' or 'other ships anchor here'. They are, and I suspect have to be, exremely careful with their advice.

We were told to anchor in St Helens "only if we are happy to do so".

The exception being the deep draught anchorages to the SW of the Nab, there the vessels are designated an anchorage.

Vasco

Nick Balls
11th May 2009, 11:29
These are all very interesting points.
I am not familiar with this particular area , but am becoming increasingly concerned at some of the "Antics" around our coasts. The "Who's responsible?" bit is also extremely worrying. Off our Suffolk coast at present we increasingly see large numbers of tankers (Some fully loaded) anchored. Many of these appear to be in a fairly sensible position . However some ,in my humble opinion , place themselves at grave risk, being far to close to the banks, in totally the wrong position , This begs the question as to the level of competence on those vessels . It also raises another point, namley "Commercial pressure" A thing , Gentelmen , I m sure , like me , that you are only too familiar with.

Orbitaman
11th May 2009, 11:34
It should be borne in mind that VTS do not have the power to 'order' a vessel to do anything, even if risk of collision or grounding is imminent. All they can do is give advice, even if it is in the most forceful of terms.

ray bloomfield
11th May 2009, 14:55
Regarding the reporting points. I used to report in/out at the Owers or Needles fairway bouy and various points along the way, no pilots carried. Isn't the actual jurisdiction of Soton VTS the same as the harbour limits? Have also noticed the ferries taking the short cuts but is it much different from navigation in rivers and apps. etc to more congested areas, ie HvH, Schelde, Thames estuary or the Humber.

vasco
11th May 2009, 15:12
Regarding the reporting points. I used to report in/out at the Owers or Needles fairway bouy and various points along the way, no pilots carried. Isn't the actual jurisdiction of Soton VTS the same as the harbour limits? Have also noticed the ferries taking the short cuts but is it much different from navigation in rivers and apps. etc to more congested areas, ie HvH, Schelde, Thames estuary or the Humber.

Southampton Port Limits roughly NW from Cowes and NE from cowes, Portsmouth NE from cowes and very roughly ssw from Hayling Island then due west to bottom of Wight.

As for Vts jurisdiction, think the thread above explains that the VTS have no power to do much except inform and then no doubt start the paper work for any near misses!

I will try to attach a chartlet later explaining things clearer.

ROBERT HENDERSON
11th May 2009, 15:33
I can understand Vasco's point having anchored with various coasters in that are. I found a lot of risk taking with ferries in the Dover Strait, I called a British ferry up once whiltst he was crossing a separation scheme he was on route to Dover, only to be told he had me on radar and would pass 2 cables ahead of me, which in my opinion too close for comfort.

Regards Robert

RayJordandpo
11th May 2009, 20:46
I was mate on car ferries running from Harwich to Flushing. It was horrendous. Oversee the loading of the cars in Flushing, lash the cars, paperwork, sort out the crews overtime etc. general maintenance, steaming watch, unlash cars at Harwich, oversee unloading the cars etc. then start all over again for the next trip. You cut every corner you could to maintain the schedule. Sometimes on that short run you literally didn't know if you was coming or going. I thought supply boats could be busy but that run took the biscuit. It was that hectic the company maintained that you could only do that particular schedule for a few weeks then you did the Germany or Spain run to catch up on some sleep but in reality it seldom actually happened.

sidsal
11th May 2009, 21:47
Ray: You seem to have had a very interesting and dangerous career. Handling anchoors and wires etc is a very skilled occupation. As for ferries - the pressure must be pretty awful>
I was on what was then a very large tanker ( a minnow now - 36K tons) on the run Aruba to E.Cosat US ports. There was a mosquito fleet of smal tankers supplying the refinery on Aruba from the oil fileds in Lake Maracaibo and Esso had brilliant idea. They laid up the small ships and put us on the run - 54 miles. We were knckered in short time and when all were about to throw in the towel they would send us on a trip to the States - and then back on the short run. It was what finally decided me to swallow the anchor.

vasco
12th May 2009, 02:13
Courtesy of the Admiralty attached are the reporting points as mentioned earlier.

The Harbour limits are about the same, magenta(?) for Southampton, green for Portsmouth and Pink for no mans land.

Gettting some good replies on this subject. Still seems like its an accident waiting to happen, wether grounding or collision.It seems there is no reason why a decent distance off should not be used.

Thanks all for your input.

Bill Davies
12th May 2009, 07:50
I would not make too much of what VTS do and do not do. Advice from VTS is based on the concept that it is 'result orientated' ( they tell you what they would like to achieve but do not tell you how to execute the manoeuvre).

Pilot mac
12th May 2009, 10:03
So many grey areas with VTS and varying standards across the globe. Whilst I believe VTS cannot 'order' you to do anything a Harbour Master has the power to 'direct' you when within port limits and you must comply with a 'direction'. It could be argued that the Harbour Masters powers could be transfered to VTS.

regards
Dave

ray bloomfield
12th May 2009, 12:42
I can understand Vasco's point having anchored with various coasters in that are. I found a lot of risk taking with ferries in the Dover Strait, I called a British ferry up once whiltst he was crossing a separation scheme he was on route to Dover, only to be told he had me on radar and would pass 2 cables ahead of me, which in my opinion too close for comfort.

Regards Robert


Rule 17?

Pompeyfan
12th May 2009, 23:16
Southampton VTS monitors the approaches right the way up. QHM most probably handles Portsmouth area.

I have not noticed VTS giving instructions except to warn of traffic, deep draught or other types such as dredgers.

Most VTS use phrases such as 'if you are happy doing this Captain' or 'other ships anchor here'. They are, and I suspect have to be, exremely careful with their advice.

We were told to anchor in St Helens "only if we are happy to do so".

The exception being the deep draught anchorages to the SW of the Nab, there the vessels are designated an anchorage.

Vasco

Many thanks for that Vasco, and other posts which explain the situation much better.

David

Mike Boyle
12th July 2009, 16:25
As a Southampton and Portsmouth PEC holder on a small tanker, 85m, which goes East and West through the Solent and uses the St Helens anchorage too. Can I just say that the ferries use it only as a route to the New Grounds or in the case of the Commodores/ Bilbao/ Bretagne to the West Princessa. If their draft or weather conditions dictate then they use the main channel, but usually they take the direct route leaving the deep water to the larger ships frequenting the area.

At some point all ships need to get close to the shore or to other ships, port approaches usually have both these ingredients.