Duty Bound to Assist

Twocky61
4th April 2018, 20:37
I have heard the nearest ships to a ship transmitting on Marine "Mayday" or "Pan" is expected to assist

Is this under nautical legal legislation or is it a common shipping courtesy?

nhp651
4th April 2018, 23:06
legal nautical legislation.............my daughter until recently studying to become a deck officer told me as such when the ship she was on received a mayday in the Pacific. when I asked her did they assist she told me that there were ships much nearer and faster and therefor required to assist under maritime law.

Alistair Macnab
4th April 2018, 23:16
At the time of the Vietnam Boat People problem in the South China Sea when three Bank Line ships were involved in four incidents, the survivors who were saved all reported that many ships had ignored their distress messages and passed by their overcrowded and sinking boats. The comment was that several 'mainstream' ships flying well-known flags of registry had simply ignored their obvious distress signals. Is the obligation to render maritime assistance not universal?

James_C
4th April 2018, 23:55
The obligation is universal and enshrined in SOLAS.

D1566
5th April 2018, 06:51
https://mcanet.mcga.gov.uk/public/c4/solas/solas_v/Regulations/regulation33.htm

Twocky61
5th April 2018, 09:22
Thanks guys :)

But if they refuse like mentioned above?

Would that be cause for the courts?

lakercapt
5th April 2018, 22:52
Twice in my career I was the nearest vessel to another who had transmitted "Mayday" I was on these two occasions ask to tow the vessel in distress to the nearest port. One sank while dong so but the crew were taken on board. The other I towed until near port and another boat came and took t into port.
On both these occassions I received letters from lawyers stating "in the first instance I had not done enough to save the vessel". In the second case they claimed I towed the boat too fast and damaged the stem bar.
So much for helping.
In the second instance the charterer took us off hire for the period of deviation. I think it made me wairy about offering help [email protected]!!!

Basil
5th April 2018, 23:18
The obligation is universal and enshrined in SOLAS.
Even for those who deliberately put themselves into a dangerous situation from which they will definitely require to be rescued?

You know who I mean.

Basil
5th April 2018, 23:20
Twice in my career I was the nearest vessel to another who had transmitted "Mayday" I was on these two occasions ask to tow the vessel in distress to the nearest port. One sank while dong so but the crew were taken on board. The other I towed until near port and another boat came and took t into port.
On both these occassions I received letters from lawyers stating "in the first instance I had not done enough to save the vessel". In the second case they claimed I towed the boat too fast and damaged the stem bar.
So much for helping.
In the second instance the charterer took us off hire for the period of deviation. I think it made me wairy about offering help [email protected]!!!
Agreed. That's the sort of reaction which helps me to understand societies in which they will walk past a person in distress and do nothing.

Wismajorvik
5th April 2018, 23:54
Even for those who deliberately put themselves into a dangerous situation from which they will definitely require to be rescued?

You know who I mean.

Several vessels came into Indonesian waters from Vietnam. The official response was to supply water, food, fuel and guidance for maintaining their voyage southwards. However most scuttled their vessels once seeing aid and possible “rescue” was available but at least one was actually set on fire, which was somewhat disconcerting to personnel on the oil platforms and storage tanker.

James_C
6th April 2018, 00:14
Even for those who deliberately put themselves into a dangerous situation from which they will definitely require to be rescued?

You know who I mean.

It's the law and failure to comply is not only morally indefensible but will also likely see the transgressor end up in court and at the very least lose his ticket and job.

Basil
6th April 2018, 11:53
It's the law and failure to comply is not only morally indefensible but will also likely see the transgressor end up in court and at the very least lose his ticket and job.
Thank you for the clarification.
Now had a look at Reg 33 and see what you mean.

James_C
6th April 2018, 12:23
To clarify the consequences, if the Master of a British ship (I can't speak for other countries) fails to respond to or assist a distressed person/vessel which he is in a position to assist, then on conviction they can be levied an unlimited fine and/or 2 years in prison.
Not forgetting consequential loss of Masters ticket etc.

Cutsplice
6th April 2018, 21:27
To clarify the consequences, if the Master of a British ship (I can't speak for other countries) fails to respond to or assist a distressed person/vessel which he is in a position to assist, then on conviction they can be levied an unlimited fine and/or 2 years in prison.
Not forgetting consequential loss of Masters ticket etc.

I understood that the penalty was a max of £250,0000 and 5yrs imprisionment,the same applies for taking an unseaworthy vessel to sea, plus a vessel undermanned.
It's quite awhile since I don my masters so my memory could well be suspect.

James_C
6th April 2018, 22:07
I understood that the penalty was a max of £250,0000 and 5yrs imprisionment,the same applies for taking an unseaworthy vessel to sea, plus a vessel undermanned.
It's quite awhile since I don my masters so my memory could well be suspect.

2 years now (as per the latest 1998 regs) and the max fine was made unlimited a few years back.

Cutsplice
7th April 2018, 17:01
Thanks Jim for updating me, everyday is a school day.

Satanic Mechanic
9th April 2018, 09:24
legal nautical legislation.............my daughter until recently studying to become a deck officer told me as such when the ship she was on received a mayday in the Pacific. when I asked her did they assist she told me that there were ships much nearer and faster and therefor required to assist under maritime law.

Did your daughter give up the cadetship? Or did I read that wrong!

nhp651
9th April 2018, 22:25
Did your daughter give up the cadetship? Or did I read that wrong!

sadly, her cadetship, yes.........her dreams, no.........PM SENT.:@

tsell
10th April 2018, 01:41
Outward bound in the early fifties, I was on the wheel and we were some hundred miles or so, off Key West when I spotted a distress flare some considerable distance off our star'bd beam.
Simultaneously, it was reported by the lookout. The second, who was in the chart room, snoozing I think, went out on the wing, saw a flare and contacted the old man.
His response was, "Due to breakdowns we are behind, so keep going." or words to that effect. Give him his due, second argued with the OM but got nowhere and he came close to disobeying the order.

Unbelievably, about four or five days later, a single flare was spotted just on dawn. Apparently, a similar response was given to a request to investigate. I was off-watch that time so didn't see it.

Both events were the talk of the ship, but warnings were issued that the 'imagined sightings were shooting stars' and we were to cease discussing the matter.
Attempts were made to see if the reports had been logged, but we never found out and the second and whoever was on the bridge at the latter sighting, wouldn't talk about anything but 'shooting stars'.

I have never forgotten the incidents and will always wonder about the souls who were forced to send out for assistance, by flares, only to be ignored by such a heartless bastard who should have been stripped of his ticket. Had their radios failed as there was no mention of distress calls?


Taff

Allend
13th April 2018, 00:22
Which organisation is it that oversees the International Convention For The Safety Of Life at Sea? And where are they based? Thanks.

sbkenn
13th April 2018, 00:28
I grew up on a barge, my parents ran a boat rental company in Ireland. IMO, if someone is in trouble, at sea, or just in the water, that is pretty much all that matters. A small tanker, "Steersman" came to my aid some years ago. Having a small fire on board, they didn't approach, but stationed broadside to the swell to make our position more comfortable, and to be close by if we needed to abandon ship. It took 4 hours for the lifeboat to reach us, then another hour before they started the tow. Many thanks to Steersman and her crew for their assistance and prayers that were signaled by turning on their fire monitors.
A few years later, someone needed help in the harbour where I am. I called 999, and ran to help. I called to the bouncers of a nite-club that someone needed help, but they ignored me. I swam out to the guy, and pulled his inert body back to the steps where emergency services took over. I found out later that he had intended to take his own life (he succeeded). 2 weeks later, passing the club, I said "thanks for your help the other day". The response was "if someone wants to top himself, why should we interfere".

standeasy
13th April 2018, 01:04
I have heard the nearest ships to a ship transmitting on Marine "Mayday" or "Pan" is expected to assist

Is this under nautical legal legislation or is it a common shipping courtesy?
If you were the one putting out the Mayday what would you want to happen ??
It's just common sense !

arfabuck
13th April 2018, 08:08
I responded to a distress flare and found a "Gin Palace" whose inebriated passengers thought they would have some fun having fireworks add to the party.
It was duly recorded and reported but I did not follow up with the result. Disgusted.
When by the "Law of the Sea", let alone SOLAS, you are morally obligated to respond to a distress signal, yet know the shareholders take a dim view of anything that detracts from their profit and your career is on the line, it does make you stop and think twice before going into action.
A clear case of turbulent weather/bona fide ship and a distress call and the brain responds immediately. However the mentioned boat people and deliberate dustruction of their craft when close alongside? Hmmmm
Human life is sacrosanct in my view, but human greed and stupidity is not.

George Bis
13th April 2018, 11:25
I grew up on a barge, my parents ran a boat rental company in Ireland. IMO, if someone is in trouble, at sea, or just in the water, that is pretty much all that matters. A small tanker, "Steersman" came to my aid some years ago. Having a small fire on board, they didn't approach, but stationed broadside to the swell to make our position more comfortable, and to be close by if we needed to abandon ship. It took 4 hours for the lifeboat to reach us, then another hour before they started the tow. Many thanks to Steersman and her crew for their assistance and prayers that were signaled by turning on their fire monitors.
A few years later, someone needed help in the harbour where I am. I called 999, and ran to help. I called to the bouncers of a nite-club that someone needed help, but they ignored me. I swam out to the guy, and pulled his inert body back to the steps where emergency services took over. I found out later that he had intended to take his own life (he succeeded). 2 weeks later, passing the club, I said "thanks for your help the other day". The response was "if someone wants to top himself, why should we interfere".

Steersman was one of Rowbottoms fleet I am thinking

tom roberts
13th April 2018, 11:42
In the fifties I recall or I may be wrong but did the Danish navy refuse to help a British trawler in distress during a fishing dispute?maybe some of our brethren can recall this? I hope I am mistaken it's hard to imagine anyone not going to aid anyone in such circumstances.

Mad Landsman
13th April 2018, 11:46
Which organisation is it that oversees the International Convention For The Safety Of Life at Sea? And where are they based? Thanks.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) ia a part of the United Nations. The Headquarters is in London.
The IMO formulates various conventions, of which SOLAS, COLREGS and MARPOL are probably best known.
The majority of Maritime Nations are signatories to these conventions.
Responsibility for enforcement lies with either the Flag State of the ship or ships on the high seas and/or The appropriate maritime organisation in territorial waters.

Voyageur Sam
13th April 2018, 12:03
In the days when ships carried Radio Officers (What were they? - Look in your history books!) on hearing a Distress Message (SOS) the RO was obliged to log the message and acknowledge it immediately - note "Acknowledge" not Reply. Acknowledgement could only be briefly delayed to allow vessels apparently closer to the scene to acknowledge first. The RO also immediately advised the Master of his ship and then made such reply as the Master should order. Thus, if done properly, there was a public record of the Distress Call. As an RO I participated in several such operations, mostly I am glad to say, without the calamitous results some members have reported. The only exception was in the case of the loss of the Munchen when we were obliged to report that we would assist once we had repaired our own storm damage. Regrettably we were in any case too far away and the disaster too comprehensive for anyone to assist. It was a very great storm.

Voyageur Sam

sbkenn
14th April 2018, 17:31
One thing that I really like about mariners and aviators : If someone needs help, they do what they can and don't count the cost. Fishermen are competing with each other, but that is forgotten if someone is in trouble. There are exceptions of course. Near here, one fisherman demanded compensation for his loss of earnings in helping someone else, only to need help himself a year later.