It is now generally agreed that the principles of traffic separation, in formulation of which this Institute has played an important part, are proving themselves a success and now that Imco traffic separation schemes have acquired a legal status, specifically under Rule 10 of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (1972), it is appropriate to take stock of the situation and to look ahead.
As far as the Dover Strait is concerned it can be surely said that the number of ships contravening the Regulations continues to decrease and, more important, that the number of collisions has been reduced. Nevertheless apparent infringements continue to occur at the rate of nearly one. every hour and there have already been three collisions this year. In the Dover Strait we have a daily throughput of 300 ships and an average crossing population of about 200 passages each day. Nevertheless the average tonnage of all ships is only about 2000; it may well be a small ship which will precipitate a disaster, and it is mainly with the problems of the small ship that I am now concerned. The aim of this paper is to suggest possible steps which may be taken to improve the safety of navigation and by promoting discussion it may be possible to obtain a clearer view of the mariner's needs, what is practical in the way of meeting these needs, and what new ideas may have to be introduced if there should be a demand for further action. These include passive measures, which must be handled administratively and ashore, and active measures, which directly concern the master's navigation of his ship.