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Mar 2015

28 Feb. 2015, Sailing around Western Cuba.

Cuba forms a natural Northern boundary for most of the Caribbean Sea and as it consists of one island you either go around it on the west side; Cabo San Antonio or the east side at Cabo Maisi.  For us going to Tampa it means the west side, using the Yucatan channel and keeping Cabo San Antonio to the East.  As all ships have to do something similar it can be – sometimes hair raisingly – busy at the Cape and thus the Wise Men of the IMO have introduced a Vessel Separation System for this area. The IMO (International Maritime Organisation) is a sub organization of the United Nations and is tasked with regulating the shipping world. A task which gives headaches as each member of the UN wants something different and once something has been decided it  takes a minimum number of member states to ratify it before it can be implemented worldwide. Approving new Vessel Separation Schemes is often one of the easier problems to tackle although also here the bickering can be intense about having the boundaries one inch to the East or one inch to the West so to say.  Still, most of the time it goes fairly smoothly as everybody see’s the logic in trying to prevent collisions. It saves lives, it saves headaches for the adjacent Country and it saves money for the ship owners.  Before the VSS was there, things would go “bump” on a regular basis with ships because when they came around the Cape they simply kept doing their own thing; which was not doing anything, and even then a very large body of water can suddenly be very small. Thus the VSS are there now, how to deal & comply with them is stipulated in the Rules of the Road or Colregs  and since then the number of “bumps” or worse have been greatly reduced. More and more of these VSS areas are appearing around the world all with the aim to reduce collisions and the often secondary effect of Environmental Catastrofies. When the Ryndam sailed through the VSS which […]

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