Collisions between large merchant ships and fishing vessels are common, and often tragic occurrence, and the P&I Club said that every year it handles claims for collisions in Chinese waters.
As the seasonal fishing ban comes to an end in China, ship operators and masters are advised to take additional precautions when planning a voyage to and from Chinese ports due to the increased number of fishing vessels in Chinese waters,” Gard said in an alert.
The difference in size and momentum between fishing and merchant vessels means collisions can lead to severe damage and fatalities onboard the fishing boat while the merchant ship might even be unaware it has been involved in incident. According to the Chinese Maritime Safety Administration 248 fishermen lost their lives in collisions with merchant vessels between 2019 and 2021.
The seasonal fishing ban ends in three phases:
16 August: East and South China Sea between latitudes 26◦ 30’ N and 12◦ N
1 September: Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea North of latitudes between 35◦ N and 26o 30’ N
16 September: Yellow Sea and East China Sea between latitudes 35◦ N and 26◦ 30’ N
Gard recommended owners and managers note designated fishing zones during voyage planning; increasing watchkeeping level on the bridge in advance; proceeding at a safe speed with engines ready for maneuvering in areas of high fishing density; making full use of radar when navigating in fog; and keeping clear of clusters of boats if detected.
If collision occurs, of is suspected, the P&I club said the vessel should render assistance to the fishing vessel, contact the authorities, and maintain all evidence in including VDR records.
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