Annex 5 - Use of IMO Adopted Routeing Systems

The IMO General Provisions on Ships' Routeing (resolution A.572(14) as amended) contain advice on the use of routeing systems in general as follows:

1.1) Unless stated otherwise, routeing systems are recommended for use by all ships and may be made mandatory for all ships, certain categories of ships or ships carrying certain cargoes, or types and quantities of bunker fuel.

1.2) Routeing systems are intended for use by day and by night in all weathers, in ice-free waters or under light ice conditions where no extraordinary manoeuvres or icebreaker assistance are required.

1.3) Bearing in mind the need for adequate under-keel clearance, a decision to use a routeing system must take into account the charted depth, the possibility of changes in the sea-bed since the time of the last survey, and the effects of meteorological and tidal conditions on water depths.

1.4) A ship navigating in or near a traffic separation scheme adopted by IMO shall in particular comply with rule 10 of the 1972 Collision Regulations to minimize the development of risk of collision with another ship. The other rules of the 1972 Collision Regulations apply in all respects, and particularly the rules of part B, sections II and III, if risk of collision with another ship is deemed to exist.

1.5) At junction points where traffic from various directions meets, a true separation of traffic is not really possible, as ships may need to cross routes or change to another route. Ships should therefore navigate with great caution in such areas and be aware that the mere fact that a ship is proceeding along a through-going route gives that ship no special privilege or right of way.

1.6) A deep-water route is primarily intended for use by ships which, because of their draught in relation to the available depth of water in the area concerned, require the use of such a route. Through traffic to which the above consideration does not apply should, as far as practicable, avoid using deep-water routes.

1.7) Precautionary areas should be avoided, if practicable, by passing ships not making use of the associated traffic separation schemes or deep-water routes, or entering or leaving adjacent ports.

1.8) In two-way routes, including two-way deep-water routes, ships should as far as practicable keep to the starboard side.

1.9) Arrows printed on charts in connection with routeing systems merely indicate the general direction of established or recommended traffic flow; ships need not set their courses strictly along the arrows.

1.10) The signal YG, meaning "You appear not to be complying with the traffic separation scheme" is provided in the International Code of Signals for appropriate use.

For MCA Guidance on use of Traffic Separation Schemes refer to MGN 200 - Observance of Traffic Separation Schemes
See also:    MGN 128 - Navigation in the Dover Strait, and
                    MSN 1781 and MSN 1781 amnd. - COLREGS

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