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15 November 2007


What happened to "The Rule in Fog" that says a ship shall procede no faster than to be able to stop in half the distance it can see. Didd radar replace this rule?

Well I'm not sure about smarter but speedy is my middle name ( not really ;)

That's more of a geographical (and political?) rule of thumb. In Texas they close the Houston Ship Channel in nearly all fog conditions but It's fairly safe to navigate in SF fog IF you have reliable equipment and an experienced bridge team.

The actual rule states you must transit at a "Safe speed" taking into consideration (among other things) "The manageability of the vessel with special reference to stopping distance and turning ability in the prevailing conditions;" Which translates to "The Captain can go as fast as he want as long as he doesn't hit anything or can prove in a court of law he was acting responsible."

I suspect shipping continues in SF fog for two reasons... the bay is wide open and relatively easy to navigate and the high number of foggy days. Closing the port each time the visibility lowered would put a considerable strain on shipping traffic and result in the shipping companies moving operations elsewhere (maybe portland, tacoma or vancouver?). A result local politicians (rightfully) want to avoid.

Or maybe it's just because Houston pilots are scared of doing the Texas Chicken blind ;)

Moments later, while the ship was going 11 knots, the Chinese lookout in the ship's bow shouted in Chinese and rang a warning bell, reporting that he could see the bridge tower dead ahead.

The pilot had the helm turn hard to the right, Meadows said, and "that saved the ship from going head-on into the tower."


This is my favorite bit. The ship is loaded with state of the art navigation electronics and the thing that saves them from maybe knocking down the Bay Bridge is a good old-fashioned lookout in the bow of the ship who rang a bell. Nice use of thousand year old technology.

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