200033 I am Overtaking - Keep out of the Way

02 Feb 2000 MARS

I am Overtaking - Keep out of the Way
Report No. 200033

Last year I was on a loaded tanker on northerly course with 3 miles clearance from the coast on my starboard side. I was being overtaken by a cargo ship which seemed to be in ballast, on my port side. She was overtaking my vessel very slowly but her range kept on decreasing continuously until she came to within 0.5nm. I called her on VHF and asked her about her intentions. She made it clear that she wanted to alter to starboard for her next course. I called her again and informed her that she was dangerously closing on to me and in no way she could pass ahead of me for her alteration, so better she should pass astern of me. In return she asked me to reduce my speed and let her pass ahead of me. It was ridiculous as I was stand on vessel and she had plenty of sea room to turn to port and then pass astern of me. But she didn't take any action and came up to 3 cables on my beam. The situation for me was extremely dangerous as I didn't have much room to starboard and on port side she was closing in. I then called master and altered my course to starboard for full round turn. As I started swinging to starboard I had to continuously monitor my stern was passing clear of the other vessel as we were very close. Finally we passed astern of her and she altered to starboard. In open seas where no traffic control is present are we not supposed to follow the Collision Regulations? Is it right to take chances with your own or another ship?