Judge Davis explains that The Rules comprise 4 sections & 40 rules in total. In addition there are 3 appendices to the rules. Rule 22.4 provides that the rules in this subsection apply in any condition of visibility. Rule 22.7 relates to Risk of Collision & part 4a. ‘Such risk must be considered to exist if the compass bearing of an approaching vessel does not appreciably change.’
Rule 22.8 sets out action to Avoid Collision – to be positive, made in ample time & be substantial.
Judge Davis says “There is no dispute that on the day in question there was no other sea traffic in the vicinity of either Seaway or Classique such that if an alteration of course was required to be undertaken & such alteration could have been done both in good time & in a substantial fashion that would have avoided a 2nd close quarters situation”
(What the Judge has been kept unaware of by the prosecution witnesses is the proximity of Browns Island, its Light & shallows. M Pigneyguy has excluded them from his photos, Barry Young would not allow Bolton to deduce their location & say that’s why Classique would not turn in that direction nor would any other vessel be there either.)
Rule 22.15 – Crossing situation. ‘When 2 power driven vessels are crossing so as to involve risk of collision, the vessel which has the other on its own starboard side must keep out of the way. The vessel required to keep out of the way must if circumstances allow, avoid crossing ahead of the other vessel”
Judge Davis applies the rule to the situation at hand saying,if a crossing situation existed the onus was on Classique to keep out of the way of Seaway.
(Essential is – the crossing must have Risk of Collision existing 1st)
Rule 22.16 – Action by give-way vessel – ‘Every vessel which is directed to keep out of the way of another vessel must take early & substantial action to keep well clear’
Judge Davis again applies this rule to the situation at hand, if a crossing situation existed the onus was on Classique to take early & substantial action to keep well clear of Seaway.
Rule 22. 17 Action by Stand-on vessel – part 1 : It must keep its course & speed. 2 : If the Give-way vessel is not taking appropriate action, 2a : It may take action to avoid collision by its maneuver alone. 2b : If the circumstances of the case allow, it must not alter course to port for a vessel on its own port side. 3 : In extremis it must take whatever action will best avoid collison.
(The prosecution witnesses lead the Judge to believe that the keeping of Course & Speed is maintaining its same compass course & engine revolutions but a Legal definition is “to keep the course and speed in following such nautical manoeu’vres in which, to the knowledge of the other vessel, the vessel is at the time engaged” This allows a boat to stop for a pilot, to swing a compass or in the case of the ferry, to turn as it normally would on a Regular Run)
Judge Davis applies Rule22.17 to the situation saying the onus was on Seaway to maintain its course & speed & if the give-way vessel is not taking appropriate action, the ferry may take action to avoid collision but under no circumstances can the stand-on vessel alter its course to port. The rational being that the onus may have remained for Classique to turn to its starboard & if the ferry were to turn its course to port each vessel would turn into the other.
(For the Judge & M Pigneyguy to say “under no circumstances” is to forget that the rule says “if the circumstances of the case allow, it must not turn to port for a vessel on its port side” In Photo 2 Classique was not longer on the ferry’s port side, leaving the ferry to turn as it wished.)
Returning to the facts of the case …
In this case the prosecution mislead Judge Davis, who had professed his ignorance of Nautical matters,
as to the interpretation of the Rules & omitted any reference to the violations on the part of the ferry.