2012 Volume 88 Issue 2 Pages 71-80
When a major ship collision occurs, such as the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) destroyer Atago case, investigators will attempt to determine whether action to avoid the collision was taken in accordance with the navigation rules. The important point in the navigation rules is not the ship size but the ship position whereas small ships could easily avoid a collision. The dimensions of colliding ships were investigated using the case reports from the Marine Accident Inquiry Agency Japan from 1977 to 2008. The results indicated that there were many collisions between ships of different dimensions in various crossing situations. In view of these factors, it was suggested that the navigator should take into account the navigation rules as well as previous experiences and timing when taking action to avoid a collision. The need for further research on human factors regarding navigators was also pointed out.