What is meaning of Passage Planning ?

Written by Amit Sharma

Passage planning is practical preparation of ship to take a ship from one point to another point in Safe and Economic manner.

Alternatively passage planning can be defined as 

Passage planning or voyage planning is a procedure to develop a complete description of a vessel’s voyage from start to finish. The plan includes leaving the dock and harbour area, the en route portion of a voyage, approaching the destination, and mooring, the industry term for this is ‘berth to berth’.

 Objectives of Passage planning:
  • The development of a plan for voyage or passage, as well as the close and continuous monitoring of the vessel’s progress and position during the execution of such a plan, are of essential importance for safety of life at sea, safety and efficiency of navigation and protection of the marine environment.
  • The need for voyage and passage planning applies to all vessels. There are several factors that may impede the safe navigation of all vessels and additional factors that may impede the navigation of large vessels or vessels carrying hazardous cargoes. These factors will need to be taken into account in the preparation of the plan and in the subsequent monitoring of the execution of the plan.
  • Voyage and passage planning includes appraisal, i.e. gathering all information relevant to the contemplated voyage or passage; detailed planning of the whole voyage or passage from berth to berth, including those areas necessitating the presence of a pilot; execution of the plan; and the monitoring of the progress of the vessel in the implementation of the plan. These components of voyage/passage planning are analysed below. 
Passage planning consists of four stages:
  • Appraisal,
  • Planning,
  • Execution,
  • Monitoring

All information relevant to the contemplated voyage or passage should be considered. The following items should be taken into account in voyage and passage planning:

  1. The condition and state of the vessel, its stability, and its equipment; any operational limitations; its permissible draught at sea in fairways and in ports; its manoeuvring data, including any restrictions;
  2. Any special characteristics of the cargo (especially if hazardous), and its distribution, stowage and securing on board the vessel;
  3. The provision of a competent and well-rested crew to undertake the voyage or passage;
  4. Requirements for up-to-date certificates and documents concerning the vessel, its equipment, crew, passengers or cargo;
  5. Appropriate scale, accurate and up-to-date charts to be used for the intended voyage or passage, as well as any relevant permanent or temporary notices to mariners and existing radio navigational warnings;
  6. Accurate and up-to-date sailing directions, lists of lights and lists of radio aids to navigation; and
  7. Any relevant up-to-date additional information, including:
    • Mariners’ routeing guides and passage planning charts, published by competent authorities;
    • Current and tidal atlases and tide tables;
    • Climatological, hydrographical, and oceanographic data as well as other appropriate meteorological information
    • Availability of services for weather routeing (such as that contained in Volume D of the World Meteorological Organization’s Publication No. 9);
    • Existing ships’ routeing and reporting systems, vessel traffic services, and marine environmental protection measures;
    • Volume of traffic likely to be encountered throughout the voyage or passage;
    • if a pilot is to be used, information relating to pilotage and embarkation and disembarkation including the exchange of information between master and pilot;
    • Available port information, including information pertaining to the availability of shore-based emergency response arrangements and equipment; and
    • Any additional items pertinent to the type of the vessel or its cargo, the particular areas the vessel will traverse, and the type of voyage or passage to be undertaken.
    • On the basis of the above information, an overall appraisal of the intended voyage or passage should be made. This appraisal should provide a clear indication of all areas of danger; those areas where it will be possible to navigate safely, including any existing routeing or reporting systems and vessel traffic services; and any areas where marine environmental protection considerations apply.

On the basis of the fullest possible appraisal, a detailed voyage or passage plan should be prepared which should cover the entire voyage or passage from berth to berth, including those areas where the services of a pilot will be used.The detailed voyage or passage plan should include the following factors:

About the author

Amit Sharma

Graduated from M.E.R.I. Mumbai (Mumbai University), After a brief sailing founded this website with the idea to bring the maritime education online which must be free and available for all at all times and to find basic solutions that are of extreme importance to a seafarer by our innovative ideas.

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