Voyage Planning

A safe and executable Voyage Plan is the aim of every deck officers, to safely navigate the ship from one port to another. I have discussed from my previous post “How to make a Voyage Plan“, the basic things that you need on making your Voyage Plan. I will be discussing today at Pinoy Maritime, a more specific aim of making a Voyage Plan.

A Voyage Plan or Passage Plan is intended to make the Bridge Management Team to be well informed about the intended voyage of the vessel, including its contingency plans in the event of an emergency. The Voyage Plan is from berth to berth and must be updated in case there are any changes made from the original plan. The Captain is the overall responsible for the proper, safe approval of the plan and may delegate a responsible officer who will create it. As we all know, Voyage Planning is normally delegated to the Navigating Officer of the ship. A Voyage Plan contains the following:

Appraisal – is confirming that you’re intended Voyage Plan is safe. This can be achieved through consultation of relevant publication that will be used in your Voyage Plan. It includes:

  • Information Gathering
  • Maneuvering characteristics of your ship and its limitations (e.g. draft, air draft)
  • The voyage charts and publications that will be used must be the latest and updated
  • Voyage charts to be used must be the largest scale available
  • The use of tide tables, tide atlases, and current tables
  • Traffic routing schemes and reporting system must be included and be followed diligently
  • Weather information must be considered
  • Port guides and procedures is also included

Planning – In the planning stage, the actual voyage plan is executed. The charts must be neatly and well prepared giving due regard to safety and contingencies in the event of an emergency. It includes:

  • Plotting the courses in the chart (True Course)
  • Safe passing distance off land, dangerous areas, giving due regard to safe speed
  • Alteration point or wheel over position
  • Methods of fixing position and the position frequency
  • Parallel index line must be marked in the chart
  • Contingency plans, contingency anchorage, etc., as necessary

Execution – is the actual implementation of the planned voyage of the ship as per “voyage plan”. It involves:

  • The accurate prediction of high and low tides, their flows, including the time
  • Weather or Meteorological information must be obtained
  • Calculation of ETA
  • The traffic density at certain locations of the Voyage Plan should be considered.

Monitoring – in this stage the vessels progress is constantly checked and if there are any necessary changes to the planned route, it must be changed prior to arrival at port and be documented regarding the reason for the change of route. The Bridge Management Team must be well informed about it. It also includes:

  • Latest weather or meteorological information
  • Cross checking of fixing positions and methods
  • Regular checking of navigational equipments during your four hour watch.
  • ETA update
  • Mandatory reporting procedures must be followed diligently
  • Information given by AIS must be confirmed to be correct and updated.

All of this are to be included in your Voyage plan form and to be signed by the Bridge Management Team.

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