Rule 2 or 17?


You have the conn of the stand-on vessel. The collision is inevitable. Do you go by Rule 2 or 17 or… ? :thinking:

Rule 2; Responsibility
a) …by the special circumstances of the case.
b) …which may make a departure from these Rules necessary to avoid immediate danger.

Rule 17; Action by Stand-on Vessel
b) …she shall take such action as will best aid to avoid collision.
c) … shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, not alter course to port for a vessel on her own port side.

Note; your vessel is equipped with a right handed propeller, when you reverse, the bow swings to Stbd …

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Rule 17
Right rudder
reduce as much as possible collision angle
Pray the give-way vessel will do right rudder as well

As I understand it, Rule 2 trumps all.

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Both, #2 is responsibility #17 is actions of responsibility.

Dangers of navigation and collision or to any special circumstances;

A departure from the Rules may be required due to dangers of navigation or to dangers of collision. For instance, a power-driven vessel meeting another power-driven vessel head-on may be unable to alter her course to starboard, as directed by Rule 14, owing to the presence of shallow water close by to starboard or to the fact that a third vessel is overtaking her on her starboard side.

  • In our case, the give-way vessel might have been unable to alter course owing to the presence of traffic (fishing boats flotilla) or of shoals,

Immediate danger;

This Rule does not give any vessel the right to take action contrary to the Regulations whenever it is considered to be advantageous to do so. A departure is only permitted when there are special circumstances and there is immediate danger. Both conditions must apply. The departure must be of such a nature as to avoid the danger which threatens. If a departure from the Rules is necessary to avoid immediate danger a vessel would not only be justified in departing from them but may be expected to do so,

When collision with another vessel is considered to be inevitable, the foremost concern of the officer must be to maneuver his ship so as to reduce the effect of collision as much as possible. The consequences are likely to be most serious if one vessel strikes the other at a large angle near the mid length. The engines and the helm should be used so as to achieve a glancing blow rather than a direct impact. The damage would probably be the least serious if the impact is taken forward of the collision bulkhead. When a vessel is approaching on the port bow an alteration to starboard may well be the worst possible action to take. An alteration of course to starboard to avoid a vessel approaching from the port bow could be a very dangerous maneuver if there is insufficient time to get clear.

Rule 17, b) When the vessels are so close that collision cannot be avoided by the give-way vessel alone the stand-on vessel is required to take such action as will best aid to avoid collision. Thence, Rule 17, c) does not apply at this stage; therefore a power-driven vessel is permitted to turn to port for another power-driven vessel on the port bow. Turning towards the other vessel may be the best action to take at close quarters if one vessel appears likely to strike the other at right angles.

The diagrams illustrate crossing cases in which the best helm action for the stand-on vessel to take to avert collision dangers or critical damages would be to turn to port! :open_mouth:

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Why let it get in extremis

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Rule 8 (f) ii & iii
Rule 17 (b)

This is extremis and both vessels must take action to avoid collision. If neither do anything, then it is negligence on the part of both vessels for failing to take any action. Stage 5 as some would say to cushion the blow.

  1. Open ocean or confined waters?

  2. If the original drawing is to scale, and it’s open ocean, I’m left wondering why the stand-on vessel hasn’t already maneuvered. The 360 to starboard was always a good (assuming no other traffic/shoals).

  3. If the drawing is to scale, the turn to port yields less damage due to minimal angle of attack. A turn to starboard is good for a “T-Bone”,

When I did my Master’s Orals the examiner kept pushing me on this very situation.
I couldn’t quite get what he was after and he said that if collision is inevitable, do your best to keep it forward of the collision bulkhead.
Head to head is much better than a T-Bone.