Navigational aids


A report detailing difficulties approaching a berth due to issues with navigational aids.

What the Reporter told us:

Currently I am trading on a liner route between two ports. In Port A, we load pipes for discharge in Port B. The berth in Port A is located on the island of xxx. It is not a busy berth and it is now mostly used for the transportation of pipes.

There are two problems with this berth. The main leading line is mostly useless because the upper light      is obstructed by a pipeline. According to a pilot, this issue was reported to the authorities six  years  ago,  but  it still has not been rectified. Another problem is the position   of one of the buoys. The location of this buoy makes for a challenging approach in a strong northerly or southerly wind. I have already experienced several close encounters with this buoy and it is not helped that the buoy is unlit. Re-positioning of the buoy would help a lot. (See pictures below).


Leading lights obscured by a pipeline, and a view of the approach to the berth – looking west.

Lessons learned

  • Approach to the berth is difficult in some conditions.
  • The position of one (unlit) buoy is not logical given the layout of the berth.
  • Obstructed navigational aid has not been recognized and corrected, thus making navigation dangerous.

Further Dialogue:

CHIRP wrote directly to the port Operations  Manager but received no response. We then wrote to the Chief Hydrographer for the relevant country, who immediately responded. CHIRP was thanked for the report and the email was passed to the proper department that supervises local port authorities and those responsible for fairways and nautical aids within their waterfront. No further comment from that particular department was forthcoming.

CHIRP Comment

The Maritime Advisory Board commented that all information printed on a chart should always be up to date. In this case, the information relating to the leading lights was incorrect. Although the issue was stated to have been reported to the local authorities some years ago, it would appear that no action had been taken. It is irrelevant that the berth is now infrequently used – the point is that all information that is published on any chart should always be correct.

CHIRP has sighted the relevant chart and it is clear that the buoy mentioned in the report does appear to obstruct the approach, particularly when leeway sets you towards the buoy. Whilst the charted information is correct in this case, CHIRP can only agree that the approach does seem to be problematic.

As a general comment, there is always the option of reporting inaccurately charted navigational aids to the Hydrographic Office. In the case of British Admiralty Charts, the process is described in the link below and can be used by all mariners to report any updated information they may have. In addition, further information may be found in The Mariners Handbook – Chapter 8 (NP100) h-notes#hydrographic-notes

Report Ends