Date: 15 Aug 2022
Oasis Circular No.: 2207
Subject: Fujian MSA and Fishing Authorities Announced the 1st Batch of High Risk Warning Areas of Collision between Merchant Ships and Fishing Boats
As per the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of P.R.C (MOA), the fishing ban in the East China Sea and the South China Sea between 26°30′N and 12°N will be lifted starting from 16 Aug 2022, see below illustration on fishing ban in different waters of China.
Areas and periods of fishing ban in China
In order to regulate the ships’ navigation order in Fujian waters (including ports of Ningde, Fuzhou, Quanzhou, Xiamen, Zhangzhou) and prevent from collisions between merchant ships and fishing boats, the Fujian MSA together with Fujian Ocean and Fishery Bureau (“FOFB”) announced the 1st batch of High Risk Warning Areas of Collision between Merchant ships and Fishing boats on 11 Aug 2022, basing on AIS track data and analysis results of collisions between merchant ships and fishing boats along Fujian coast in the last ten years. The above warning covers 10 coastal areas. Please refer to the following illustration:
Translation of 10 high risk warning areas in Fujian waters issued by Fujian MSA and FOFB
The main risks in these warning areas include some or all of the following aspects:
1. The overlapping of merchant ships’ route with the fishing boats’ operational waters.
2. The high density of merchant ships and fishing boats.
3.Merchant ships’ routes are close to the waters of the fishing ports, and merchant ships’ routes meet the traffic flow of the inbound and outbound fishing boats.
4. Collisions between merchant ships and fishing boats have occurred frequently over the years.
The specific coordinates of the 10 warning areas announced by the Fujian MSA and FOFB is listed in the table below:
East of Lianjiang
East of Pingtan
Southeast of Niushan Island
Southeast of Dongshan Island
Note: The coordinates in the table adopt WGS-1984 coordinate system, and each warning area is connected by its 4 corresponding positions.
Our suggestions to ships
1. Get familiar with the starting times and ending times of the fishing ban periods. Carry out relevant safety training on the characteristics of fishing areas and fishing boats.
2. Avoid the traditional fish farms and fishing areas. When choosing a route, ships shall be properly away from shore, apply the recommended routes carefully and strictly obey the relevant ship routing system.
3. Fully comply with relevant provisions of COLREGS 1972 and Safety Management System, ensure there is proper and sufficient lookout, keep a safe speed and take early avoidance actions.
4. In the process of avoiding fishing boats, ship officers shall consider the particular operational characteristics of the fishing boat involved. If effective radio communication cannot be established between the ships and the fishing boats, all other available means shall be used to warn the fishing boats of the risk of collision.
5. Be familiar with the Safety guidelines for preventing from collision between merchant ships and fishing boats in Chinese coastal waters issued by China MSA on 06 May 2021. (See attached our free translation)
6. In case a collision incident occurs or is suspected to have occurred, rescue operation shall be immediately carried out taking into consideration various factors such as safety of the ship and her crews, the surrounding environment etc. Meanwhile, the ship shall contact the nearest VTS/MSA via VHF or their emergency telephone no. +86 12395 as soon as possible. The ship’s agents and P&I correspondent should also be informed.
We hope the above is of assistance. If there is any query, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org at any time.
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Attachment I - Schematic Diagram of 10 warning areas in Fujian waters issued be Fujian MSA and FOFB
1. Area No.1 and No.2 - Shacheng Baymouth and Funing Baymouth
2. Area No. 3 - East of Lianjiang
3. Area No. 4&5 - East of Pingtan Island and Southeast of Niushan Island
4. Area No. 6 - Southeast of Nanri Island
5. Area No. 7 -Quanzhou Baymouth and Chongwu Area
6. Area No. 8 -Xiamen Baymouth and Dongding Island Area
7. Area No. 9 -Futou Baymouth
8. Area No. 10 -Southeast of Dongshan Island
Attachment II -Free translation of Safety Guidelines issued by China MSA on 06 May 2021
Safety guidelines for preventing from collision between merchant ships and fishing boats in Chinese coastal waters
I. Navigational Method
1) The master shall carefully review the planned route, use the recommended public route as far as possible to reasonably formulate the route, avoid the waters where fishing boats are concentrated, and reduce the chance of meeting with the fishing boats.
2) Check and test navigational equipment or aids such as radar, electronic chart, AIS, VDR, VHF, navigation lights and sound signals to ensure normal operation.
3) Make proper arrangement for navigation watch on the bridge. At any time, the bridge shall keep at least 2 navigation watch and lookout personnel.
4) The navigation safety precautions and corresponding actions in the fishing area shall be displayed at the prominent position on the bridge.
2. Passing or approaching the waters ofhigh density of fishing boats
1) Navigators should keep in mind that safety is the first priority, take a deviation instead of taking risks! Try to avoid venturing into areas with many fishing boats!
2) Arrange personnel on duty reasonably, increase the number of navigation personnel on duty according to the density of surrounding fishing boats and the increased workload of navigation duty, and the master should be called to the bridge without hesitation when necessary.
3) The master shall formulate and issue night navigation orders according to the special warning requirements for night navigation in the fishing area.
4) The duty navigation watchman shall strengthen the lookout, turn on multiple radars, and strengthen the close and long distance observation. Do not rely too much on a single navigational aid. Each ship should always keep a constant lookout with vision, hearing and all effective means suitable for the current environment and circumstances.
5) Navigate at a safe speed.
6) Ensure that AIS information is correct and it is working normally.
7) Avoid fatigue and drunk navigating.
3. Special Precautions
1) The period after the fishing ban in the summer is lifted is the period with the highest density of fishing boats in China's coastal areas.
2. The period from 23:00 to 4:00 is the period of high incidence of collision accidents between merchant ships and fishing boats, and special attention should be paid.
3. Special attention shall be paid to the possibility that some fishing boats anchored at night may not have any one on duty, display lights or turn on AIS as required. Special attention should also be paid to the interference caused by a large number of fishing net’s location signals to the ship’s AIS, radar echoes and electronic charts.
4. If it is observed that the speed of the fishing boat is about 3 knots, the fishing boat is usually engaging in the fishing operation, and its maneuvering capacity is limited. It is necessary to coordinate with the fishing boat in terms of avoidance action as soon as possible, and it is best to keep a distance of more than 1 nautical mile.
5. Even if a merchant ship collides with a fishing boat slightly, the fishing boat may be damaged or capsize, and the personnel on the merchant ship may not be easily aware of it. Therefore, when passing a fishing boat at a close distance, it should be carefully observed to ensure that there is no collision, wave damage or suction.
6. It is recommended that ships from the southern waters of the South China Sea to the ports of Japan or South Korea and which are not to call at the coastal Chinese Mainland ports to sail in the waters on the east side of Taiwan, and stay as far away from the coastal waters of Chinese Mainland as possible.
II. Collision avoidance action
1. The collision avoidance rules shall be observed and the principle of "early, large, wide and clear" shall be adhered to. Try to call the fishing boat through VHF 16 channel in advance to coordinate the anti-collision action. If several call attempts receive no answer, it may mean that the VHF of the fishing boat is not in the watching status. During communication, the limitations of accent and language expression shall be fully considered to ensure that both parties understand each other's intention.
2. Watch out for collision caused by uncoordinated actions of fishing boats at close range. If a fishing boat is discovered and needs to be avoided in an emergency situation, the searchlight can be flashed at least 5 times, or the continuous sound signal can be used to attract the attention of the fishing boat.
3. In case of urgent avoidance, in addition to using the rudder, slowing down the vessel’s speed or stopping the engine shall also be considered at the same.
4. The surrounding environment shall be fully considered as collision avoidance action to avoid creating an emergency situation with other ships.
III. Emergency rescue
1. When the collision is unavoidable, direct hit by the bow of the ship against the fishing boat shall be avoided as far as possible.
2. In case of collision, the ship shall be stopped immediately, the rescue of human life shall be the top priority, and the rescue shall be carried out with all efforts. Before all the people in danger are considered safe, as long as one’s own safety is not seriously threatened, it is strictly prohibited to abandon the search and rescue or leave the scene. This act at sea which means giving up the life of other will face severe punishment by law! Don't take chances. With the help of current technologies, almost all the hit and run ships have been tracked down.
3. Immediately call the surrounding ships to participate in the rescue.
4. Immediately report to the nearest competent authority through all effective channels, including the location of the accident, the name of the ship in accident, casualties, damage to the ship or fishing boat, weather and sea conditions, rescue needs, etc.
Each person on watch duty should be familiar with the above contents.
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