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Maritime accident statistics reveal that ship collisions are among the most frequent and severe accidents. The same statistics indicate that most of them are caused by human error, mainly due to breaches of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs) and to the lack of communication between ships. There are also special situations where there is some ambiguity in the application of the COLREGs. In such occasions, and if there is no communication between the ships involved, compliance with the Rules may still end up in a collision. This article brings a new approach to Collision Avoidance Systems (CAS) and presents the earliest stages in the development of safety functions for the reduction of ship-to-ship collision risk on the high seas. These functions will help the concerned ships achieve coordinated compliance with the COLREGs. Functional safety standards are applied and, in their implementation, real, accessible electronic programmable systems (hardware and software) will be used.
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