Ship Routeing


Ship routeing or managing shipping traffic is the most important aspect of the entire maritime industry. Managing shipping traffic, especially in regions of high traffic load or congested areas, Ship routing comes as an even more important task. Ship routeing can be done in several ways. It has several motives behind it, The core principle remains to ensure that all ships reach the destination safely. Ship routeing is done not only for managing marine traffic but also predicting weather conditions too.

The key points of ship routing as mentioned by IMO are –

  1. Ship routeing is done with a prime motive of traffic management. Taking into account activity over a particular shipping route, appropriate traffic lanes need to be set to avoid accidents.
  2. All the key elements for ship routeing are well defined. These elements include traffic lanes, Separation zones and round abouts.
  3. Traffic lanes are provided only for purposes of one-way traffic such shipping routes are found mainly in congested regions so as to avoid ship being stuck in a spot.
  4. Separation zones are given special importance as they help in maintaining different traffic lanes simultaneously. They also help in keeping a tab on a ship moving in the opposite direction.
  5. IMO defines recommended routes for vessel in a particular region or on a particular voyage. These routes are generally having undefined width and are safest for travel.
  6. Deepwater routes are monitored and defined especially for underwater marine traffic. Such routes are surveyed for clearance of sea bottom and are devoid of any submerged articles that could hinder the vessels journey.
  7. Precautionary areas are especially defined by IMO as areas where extra caution is advised. Locating and monitoring such areas become one of the many key features performed by various nations under IMO’s Guidelines. Traffic volume and flow direction are carefully regulated at all times on such maritime shipping routes.
  8. IMO also defines “Areas to be avoided” as the shipping routes which are almost prohibited for ship navigation because of the extreme danger they pose. Such routes could be considered dangerous for a certain class or all types of vessel.

STANDARD OPTIMUM SHIP ROUTEING SERVICE The ship routeing deals with recommending a vessel with most safe shipping route prior to sailing along with monitoring its progress throughout the journey. The setting for shipping Route, Ship speed and other conditions are done taking into account the weather conditions, Route safety and a minor proposition for unprecedented events. This is, however, personalized service and is not a standardised measure for ship routeing

Elements used in traffic routing systems include:-

  1. Traffic separation scheme: A routeing measure aimed at the separation of opposing streams of traffic by appropriate means and by the establishment of traffic lanes.
  2. Traffic Lane: An area within a defined limit in which one-way traffic is established. Natural obstacles, including those forming separation zones, may constitute a boundary.
  3. Separation zone or line: A zone or line separating traffic lanes in which ships are proceeding in the opposite direction or nearly the opposite directions; or separating a traffic lane from adjacent sea area; or separating traffic lanes designed for particular classes of ships proceeding in the same direction.
  4. Traffic roundabout: A separation point or circular separation zone and a circular traffic lane within defined limits.
  5. Inshore traffic zone: A designated area between the landward boundary of a traffic separation scheme and the adjacent coast.
  6. Recommended routes: A route of undefined width, for the convenience of ships in transit, which is often marked by centreline buoys.
  7. Deepwater : A route within defined limits which has been accurately surveyed for clearance of sea bottom submerged articles.
  8. Precautionary Areas: An area within defined limits where ships must navigate with particular caution and within which the direction of flow of traffic may be recommended.
  9. Area to be avoided: An Area within defined limits in which either navigation is particularly hazardous or it is exceptionally important to avoid casualties and which should be avoided by all ships or by certain classes of ships.