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Not Under Command [CHIRP]

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  • Not Under Command [CHIRP]

    For those that receive a copy of the Telegraph, you should have received a copy of the Autumn edition of CHIRP along with the October Telegraph... Inside it they cover a point that has, I wouldn't say annoyed, but bothered me since qualifying.

    To summarise;

    Someone has wrote in enquiring why at a particular caribbean island (although this happens all over the world) there are numerous vessels who are drifting but have turned on "Not Under Command" lights. The CHIRP response amongst other things condones said behaviour and highlights the worrying concern that it has become an informal practice which is not in compliance with the regulations.

    Now having only served on passenger vessels myself, I haven't spent much time "drifting" awaiting orders, however to save fuel we did trial drifting overnight in the Gulf of Aqaba and in the Mediterranean Sea, during such times we shut down the engines, which were on immediate notice (10 mins start time) and drifted - we did not exhibit NUC signals and remained "underway". Several vessels passed us during this time - all clearly identified that we were drifting and through the practice of common sense / good seamanship kept clear of us - only 1 vessel called us up to enquire if we were "drifting" and then they altered to keep clear without having to be asked to / required to under the colregs.

    So the question is, on the vessel's you have been on, if drifting do you exhibit NUC or do you remain correctly "Underway"?
    16
    Yes we exhibit NUC
    0.00%
    0
    No we do not exhibit NUC
    87.50%
    14
    I have never been on a vessel that drifts
    12.50%
    2
    ?Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn?t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.?

    ? Mark Twain
    myBlog | @alistairuk | flickr | youtube Views and opinions expressed are those of myself and not representative of any employer or other associated party.

  • #2
    Do you mean this kind of drifting? *Tokyo drift music*




    [Serious hat on]Last time I was on ship and we were drifting about the place, then no I don't think we did as we were trying to keep all lights to a minimum. At the time we were in the middle of the red sea and trying to be as inconspicuous as a Suezmax Tanker could be as the Somali's and Sudanese were running a roaring trade in hijacking/kidnapping at the time....[serious hat off]
    I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

    All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

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    • #3
      Drifting is fine, but it is not the same as being genuinely NUC, though any vessel I encountered 'drifting' I would give them good sea room. But it is bad practice to call yourself NUC when you are not as per the rules. We often 'drift' waiting on weather off an installation/ platform but it's controlled and we are technically 'under way' with full steerage and able to alter course speed in minutes if necessary. A full navigational watch is still maintaines. The NUC thing is bad seamanship and a lazy way of saving money- but very common in certainly parts of the world.

      Encountered a fair few tankers in the Med under so called 'NUC'.. as we were on an AHTS my Captain would call them up and offer towing services... amazing how fast the NUC lights were switched off!

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      • #4
        No, I wouldn't say drifting was an exceptional circumstance, you are just choosing to stop, if required you could fire up and move if you so desired.

        Comment


        • #5
          I've only used NUC lights when something major exploded, which I suppose is why the rules call for 'exceptional circumstances' - Drifting on purpose would not fulfill those criteria to my mind.
          Cruise ship Captain with experience on-board Passenger Vessels ranging from 5500-150000 GRT.

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          • #6
            Have been on ships where NUC lights / shapes were used while drifting, but you are absolutely correct Alistair, they should not be.
            Go out, do stuff

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            • #7
              mgn 152

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              • #8
                This is obviously stuff I'll learn in the future, but it's been bugging me recently:

                What does 'Not under command' actually mean?

                Literally that no one's in charge - the bloke on watch has gone off to use the bog (for example)

                Or that if something were to happen that requires you to take action, you wouldn't be able to, so it becomes everyone else's to keep well out of the way?

                Or something else I missed entirely?

                Thanks

                Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk 2

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                • #9
                  Not under command means that the ship is unable to comply with the rules, usually due to a technical failure such as engine failure or steering failure.
                  Go out, do stuff

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Inland Pirate View Post
                    This is obviously stuff I'll learn in the future, but it's been bugging me recently:

                    What does 'Not under command' actually mean?

                    Literally that no one's in charge - the bloke on watch has gone off to use the bog (for example)

                    Or that if something were to happen that requires you to take action, you wouldn't be able to, so it becomes everyone else's to keep well out of the way?

                    Or something else I missed entirely?

                    Thanks

                    Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk 2
                    page 5, rule 3 f)

                    http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/msn_1781-2.pdf

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by HarmlessWeasel View Post
                      Opens up a whole argument as to what exceptional circumstances are though

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think unforeseen pretty much covers it, a planned period of drifting awaiting orders / a pilot / a scheduled arrival time etc is certainly not exceptional.
                        Go out, do stuff

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Clanky View Post
                          I think unforeseen pretty much covers it, a planned period of drifting awaiting orders / a pilot / a scheduled arrival time etc is certainly not exceptional.
                          Totally agree.

                          I was on a tanker that was on the spot market. We used to run towards our next port and then before we got there drift for a couple of days whilst it was all hands on deck tank washing. We would stop engines and drift without NUC lights because we were not NUC .... The Engines were on 5 minute standby and at night we would illuminate decks, which was not right, but it did make it clear we were not underway from our sailing lights, but we could always get underway pretty quickly and the Old Man made it quite clear if we were the keep clear vessel we had to start the engines and get out of the way. If you were on deck and the lights all went out at night you knew we were underway again.

                          Complying with the rules means that you can either alter course or speed in order to avoid another vessel. Therefore it follows that if you have either steering gear failure, engine failure or something such as a serious fire involving everyone in the firefighting or unable to control your engines or steering gear then you are NUC. If you are drifting, maintaining a bridge watch and complying with the rules then you can start your engines and manoeuvre to avoid a situation. You are not NUC.

                          Pignutpilot hit it on the head with the MGN 152. It has been a problem for some time - despite it being against the rules.

                          Hang 'em I say!

                          Ian
                          "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester.
                          "Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear." - Buzzy Trent

                          "Careers at Sea" Ambassador - Experience of General Cargo, Combo ships, Tanker, Product Carrier, Gas Carrier, Ro-Ro, Reefer Container, Anchor Handlers.

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                          • #14
                            Does that mean we are the only sensible people on the plant? Because there are so many out there who use the NUC lights as a get out clause to leave to the other ship to move, even when in high traffic areas, which is dangerous!! Would it be a good idea to make this a punishable offence??
                            If you can't laugh, you shouldn't have joined!!

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                            • #15
                              I have drifted we never displayed NUC lights. But I don't get why a drifting ship is not RAM seems to meet the definition in rule 3
                              " The term “vessel restricted in her ability to manoeuvre” means a vessel which from the nature of her work is restricted in her ability to manoeuvre as required by these Rules and is therefore unable to keep out of the way of another vessel. The term “vessels restricted in their ability to manoeuvre” shall include but not be limited to: (i) a vessel engaged in laying, servicing, or picking up a navigation mark, submarine cable or pipeline;
                              (ii) a vessel engaged in dredging, surveying or underwater operations;
                              (iii) a vessel engaged in replenishment or transferring persons, provisions or cargo while underway;
                              (iv) a vessel engaged in the launching or recovery of aircraft;
                              (v) a vessel engaged in mine clearance operations;
                              (vi) a vessel engaged in a towing operation such as severely restricts the towing vessel and her tow in their ability to deviate from their course."

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