200259 A Dredger's View

28 Feb 2002 MARS

A Dredger's View
Report No. 200259

As chief mate I work on a Dutch flagged dredger in Singapore on the Tuas View project. We dredge in Karimun and dump the sand on the western side of Singapore. Consequently, we cross the east and westbound lane twice in one trip. We depart near the western buoy and on a course of 200 we have almost a 90-degree angle on the traffic lanes. After dredging we head for the western buoy on a course of 020.

On one of these course 020 trips we were about to cross the eastbound lane at night, on my port bow there was a general cargo ship on a CPA of zero with our vessel and a course of 115 degrees, speed about 17 knots. We have the benefit of a VTIS so on 4 miles distance I asked the name of the vessel, which was provided. At 3 miles distance I called the vessel on VHF and we made an agreement he would alter course to starboard and pass my stern, in other words we would follow the COLREG so I kept my course and speed. At two miles distance he didn't alter any course, so I called him again and he said he was altering course to starboard immediately. At a distance of 1 mile nothing had happened yet, and VTIS West called to tell us what we had already noticed, the other vessel maintained course and speed, I gave hard starboard and we started turning quickly to starboard, I called the vessel again and he started to turn to starboard as well, at a distance of 0.7 miles. We stopped our vessel turning and meanwhile he passed our stern at 0.1 miles. There where no other vessels in the vicinity, the weather was fine, clear sky and a full moon. I wondered what's on a man's mind to alter course so late when there's so much time. Even when there's the benefit of a TSS you still have to apply to the COLREGS.