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    Re: lights and shapes
    From: Trevor Kenchington
    Date: 2003 Jun 12, 10:09 -0300

    George Huxtable wrote:
    > I've taken a look at my copy of colregs. Unfortunately, the up-to-date one
    > is on my boat 100 miles away. All I have at home is the 1972 version, which
    > came into effect in 1977. It must differ in some respects from Doug's,
    > because rule 22(d), referred to by Doug, didn't exist then.
    22(d) merely refers to the light required on a towed object:
    "In inconspicuous, partly submerged vessels or objects being towed: a
    white all-round light, 3 miles".
    It was not so very long ago that every merchant ship at sea had a log
    line leading out astern yet not one of them carried the lights for a
    towing vessel. (It would have negated much of the point of having
    different lights for tugs from those of other vessels!) So I don't think
    that the intent of the ColRegs can extend to the second masthead light
    of a tug being used to indicate that there is a log line astern.
    Doug Royer quoted an example:
    > A case in point was given to me by the inspector.A vessel was towing astern
    > an accustic array for mapping and showing all proscribed signals for a tow >
    > 200 meters.Another vessel,not seeing the towed object, crossed astern of the
    > towing vessel and fouled the gear in her props.The crossing vessel had to
    > pay for all the damage and loss of time that the towing vessel incured in
    > this incident because the towing vessel showed the proper lights and shapes
    > even though the towed object was submerged.
    I cannot know the rules and lighting arrangements under which that
    incident took place. However, I do have some involvement with seismic
    surveys, using arrays, off the Canadian coast under current rules.
    The seismic vessel has the same 500 metre exclusion zone around it that
    applies to drill rigs. I think that that is a Canadian rule, rather than
    an international one. (The only copy of the ColRegs I have to hand is
    the U.S. version in Reed's.)
    The seismic vessel will show the red/white/red lights and corresponding
    daymark for a vessel restricted in her ability to manoeuvre and probably
    also two red lights and balls at her stern to indicate an obstruction --
    marks that are only available to a vessel engaged in dredging or
    underwater operations [see Rule 27(d)].
    The airgun array and the hydroplane streamers (the latter extending a
    _very_ long distance astern) are marked with lights (not sure of their
    characteristics) and radar reflectors -- the streamers certainly so
    marked at their ends but I think also at intervals along their lengths.
    There is often a chase boat working with the seismic vessel and
    certainly someone at the radio warning off any approaching vessels. In
    addition, I think that the locations of seismic surveys are publicized
    through Notices to Mariners and announcements on Coast Guard Radio.
    If, despite all of that, some ship ploughed through the airguns and
    streamers astern of a seismic vessel, I am not in the least surprised
    that a court held the offending vessel liable. But I would not attempt
    to bring a legal claim for a lost log impeller before a judge by citing
    such a decision as a precedent!
    In short, I don't think the ColRegs help protect log impellers, save for
    Rule 2: "Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel [...] from
    the consequences of any neglect [...] of any precaution which may be
    required by the ordinary practice of seamen". In other words, people
    playing with small boats should know not to cut close under the stern of
    other vessels, while people choosing to use taffrail logs should know to
    recover their log lines before entering waters frequented by idiots who
    have never heard of the "ordinary practice of seamen" and the
    extraordinary expectations that it imposes on those who go to sea.
    Trevor Kenchington
    Trevor J. Kenchington PhD                         Gadus@iStar.ca
    Gadus Associates,                                 Office(902) 889-9250
    R.R.#1, Musquodoboit Harbour,                     Fax   (902) 889-9251
    Nova Scotia  B0J 2L0, CANADA                      Home  (902) 889-3555
                         Science Serving the Fisheries

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