Darwin Sailing Club

News from the Darwin Sailing Club

Sail, socalise and dine in the heart of Darwin

Posted on 06 September, 2018

Darwin Port and Changes to Sailing Instructions

On Tuesday evening  Sailing Committee received a briefing from Ian Niblock, Operations Manager - Port of Darwin. Ian provided an update about the significant increase in large vessel shipping movements which will commence soon, with the commencement of exports from the Inpex project at Bladin Point. 190 extra ships per year will mean a significantly increased risk of unsafe interactions between commercial vessels and recreational boats, including yachts.

Ian made the point that a yacht passing in front of a typical LNG carrier disappears from the view of the pilot and captain as far as one kilometer in front of the ship, so what seems plenty of room for a racing yacht skipper, provides huge stress for that captain and pilot, hence the exclusion zone surrounding the ship.

The Sailing Committee will be undertaking several race management actions to help provide safe racing, including some modification of course design and increased monitoring of Darwin Harbour shipping movements (VHF Ch. 10)

A further change is in the General Sailing Instructions where provision for competing yachts to motor away from the path of an oncoming commercial vessel without penalty has been introduced. The new clause will read:

" Yachts shall keep clear of all commercial shipping (vessels more than 35 metres in length) whilst within Darwin Harbour and particularly while transiting the shipping channels. Ships are restricted in their ability to manoeuvre within the Port of Darwin and yachts should take any necessary avoiding action early. In the event of avoiding action becoming necessary, a yacht may start its engine then motor to avoid a shipping hazard on a course away from the conflicting traffic for as long as necessary. A yacht that takes such action shall return to the position at which the engine was started, cease motoring before completing a 360° turn and resume racing as soon as possible. The details of any such action must be reported to the Race Officer as soon as practicably possible and not later than five minutes after finishing. Attention is drawn to Rule 9 (a) and Rule 9 (b) of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at sea, 1972. Yachts deemed to have impeded the progress of a commercial vessel may be disqualified without a hearing. This amends RRS 61.1."

Thanks to supporters of the Darwin Sailing Club