2010-11-08

What was Zhan Qixiong plan when he was intercepted by Yonakuni?

This is the video taken by Yonakuni on the collision when it tried to intecept Minjinyu 5179.

First, let's note a few facts (see previous post for background and screenshots)
1. Yonakuni has taken a long circle to come in front of Minjinyu, starting from about 8 O'clock direction (of Minjinyu 5179) to reach 2 O'clock in the begining of the video, and was at around 11:30 O'clock when its end collided with Minjinyu 5179
2. At around 8'30", you can see another JCG ship, probably Hateruma (Let call it H), behind Yonakuni and to the right of Minjinyu 5179. Since we did not see it before earlier while Yonakuni was circling in front of Minjinyu 5179, we can conclude that  H was probably either at 7-8 O'clock direction for Minjinyu 5179, or some distance from the 3 O'clock direction
3. The track thickened a lot right behind Yonakuni at the moment of the collision, most likely indicating it has slowed down and parked (confirmed by the relative motion of Yonakuni with the sea wave track in the video)
4. You can see an island right behind Minjinyu 5179 (wiki said it is Huangwei Yu, also called Kubashima by Japan), indicating that Minjinyu was trying to sail away from the island and halted when being cut in front by Yonakuni
The situation is illustrated in this diagram below (click to enlarge)

What would you do if you wre captain Zhan at this moment?
• Your boat is much slower than Yonakuni (10 knots vs 30-40 knots), so it is useless to go anywhere in front of it. 12-9 O'clock directions are ruled out. It takes some time for Yonakuni to make a u-turn so your best chance is go behind it.
• You cannot go backward. You probably arrived at this position and were planning to move forward. But you had to stop your engine because Yonakuni is cutting in front of you. Going backward will bring you closer to Huangwei Yu and bring you more trouble. You want to be as far away from Huangwei Yu as you can now.
• You should also see JCG H coming from behind and trying to round you up on the other side, so you should try to get as far away from Huangwei Yu as possible. You hope if you can get out of the 24 nm radius you would be free and avoid being caught and result in financial losses
• You options are anywhere from 3-12 O'Oclock. 12 O'clock (proceeding directly ahead) offer you the best chance to escape, because JCG H is behind you and may intercept you from behind on your right hand side Another reason to avoid your right hand side is that H probably is already at your 3 O'clock now.
• You see Yonakuni is moving, there are some 100-200m between you and Yonakuni, so by the time you reached its current position (Y0), it should have moved to Y1 already.
So you took the short path, charging directly ahead to break the trap. M0 to M1.

Yonakuni knew that and saw that. It braked/backpedaled and stayed at Y2 instead. You tried to avoid it but you still got to its tail.

Should you have taken 1 O'clock or 2 O'clock instead to be safe (even if H is at 3 O'clcok coming to you)? You probably should, and you probably had done all those earlier that morning. This is one of the many interceptions since early morning and the ordeal would take at least another 2-6 hours that day. Maybe they have videos for you trying hard to avoid collision as well. They are not going to show the public if all the other videos. If not for that over-zealous and over-confident sengoku38 san, no one in the public will be able to even see this video.

Maybe you should have made your own recording. But you cannot afford such gadgets, and were not prepared to bring a video-camera to this trip, After all, you are a poor fisherman trying to make some bugs. You are not coming here for eco-tour.

arkhangelsk said...

1) Yonakuni's motion: Nothing wrong with it. MYJ was fishing b/f it restarted motion, so it is a privileged vessel (which must NOT have helped the JCG's captains' tempers; think trepasser, in the act of crime (economic exploitation in other people's waters), and the law says for safety reasons you can't get on with arresting or even "elbowing" him!).

Since the fishing trawler will have to stop fishing and get moving someday, the Japanese took the legally logical action of setting up a port circuit - according to the rules of the road, in any potential collision situation, by putting the other vessel on your port side, the MYJ (in this case) is burdened and responsible for taking evasive action (generally by passing behind the privileged ship).

As an aside, the HK expert is wrong to describe it as overtaking. In a port circuit, at SOME point Yosakuni would have to be behind MYJ. However, another condition to set up the overtaking situation is that there must be a collision risk. That may be why the Japanese captain is in the long oval you describe - by keeping his bow as far away from MYJ as feasible while he's behind, he weakens any attempt to call it an overtaking situation. Still obviously the better position would be somewhere at MYJ's starboard bow, so it is plausible that Yosakuni was moving faster when behind MYJ than when it is getting in front.

2) Interesting but not very relevant to discussion.

3) Personally, I don't notice any thickening, and if anything, thickening may mean an increase in propeller wash (read: Yosakuni is speeding up to get out of MYJ's critical angle). But let's grant your observation anyway. It might make for a talking point at a protest, but it would still be MYJ's responsibility to evade by the Rules of the Road.

4) It might be trying to sail away from the island, but navigational safety surely comes first.

Courses of action:
1) Certainly, and going behind is while not TECHNICALLY required under the Rules of the Road, is recommended.
2) If one is desperately being harassed, one does not fish.
3) What you are saying here is that he is trying to run, like a criminal. Generally, this is not going to attract sympathy.
4) Navigational safety is MUCH more important for a merchant than trying to escape.
5) The next 3 paragraphs are so inconsistent with the rather hard left break (it is hard to imagine any maneuver on Yosakuni's part that could have forced it) to ram that there is little point in discussing them. However, even if you are right that it is going straight, since it is the burdened vessel the bulk of the blame would still fall onto it.

The rest disintegrates into speculation. How about speculating that this MYJ had been thumbing his nose at the JCG for most of the day?

As an aside, the Rules of the Road makes no provision for bigger or faster ships to avoid smaller or slower ships though it may make some sense. This is probably because the Rules of the Road serve a dual, darker purpose in situations like this - you use the Rules to put the other side into legally burden, thus slowly edging him out from where he wants to be. Obviously, no nation will want their larger, faster vessels to be disadvantaged in such a context (for example, a USN carrier having to dodge some intelligence trawler) so such rules will likely never appear.

arkhangelsk said...

1) Yonakuni's motion: Nothing wrong with it. MYJ was fishing b/f it restarted motion, so it is a privileged vessel (which must NOT have helped the JCG's captains' tempers; think trepasser, in the act of crime (economic exploitation in other people's waters), and the law says for safety reasons you can't get on with arresting or even "elbowing" him!).

Since the fishing trawler will have to stop fishing and get moving someday, the Japanese took the legally logical action of setting up a port circuit - according to the rules of the road, in any potential collision situation, by putting the other vessel on your port side, the MYJ (in this case) is burdened and responsible for taking evasive action (generally by passing behind the privileged ship).

As an aside, the HK expert is wrong to describe it as overtaking. In a port circuit, at SOME point Yosakuni would have to be behind MYJ. However, another condition to set up the overtaking situation is that there must be a collision risk. That may be why the Japanese captain is in the long oval you describe - by keeping his bow as far away from MYJ as feasible while he's behind, he weakens any attempt to call it an overtaking situation. Still obviously the better position would be somewhere at MYJ's starboard bow, so it is plausible that Yosakuni was moving faster when behind MYJ than when it is getting in front.

2) Interesting but not very relevant to discussion.

3) Personally, I don't notice any thickening, and if anything, thickening may mean an increase in propeller wash (read: Yosakuni is speeding up to get out of MYJ's critical angle). But let's grant your observation anyway. It might make for a talking point at a protest, but it would still be MYJ's responsibility to evade by the Rules of the Road.

4) It might be trying to sail away from the island, but navigational safety surely comes first.

Courses of action:
1) Certainly, and going behind is while not TECHNICALLY required under the Rules of the Road, is recommended.
2) If one is desperately being harassed, one does not fish.
3) What you are saying here is that he is trying to run, like a criminal. Generally, this is not going to attract sympathy.
4) Navigational safety is MUCH more important for a merchant than trying to escape.
5) The next 3 paragraphs are so inconsistent with the rather hard left break (it is hard to imagine any maneuver on Yosakuni's part that could have forced it) to ram that there is little point in discussing them. However, even if you are right that it is going straight, since it is the burdened vessel the bulk of the blame would still fall onto it.

The rest disintegrates into speculation. How about speculating that this MYJ had been thumbing his nose at the JCG for most of the day?

As an aside, the Rules of the Road makes no provision for bigger or faster ships to avoid smaller or slower ships though it may make some sense. This is probably because the Rules of the Road serve a dual, darker purpose in situations like this - you use the Rules to put the other side into legally burden, thus slowly edging him out from where he wants to be. Obviously, no nation will want their larger, faster vessels to be disadvantaged in such a context (for example, a USN carrier having to dodge some intelligence trawler) so such rules will likely never appear.

arkhangelsk said...

1) Yonakuni's motion: Nothing wrong with it. MYJ was fishing b/f it restarted motion, so it is a privileged vessel (which must NOT have helped the JCG's captains' tempers; think trepasser, in the act of crime (economic exploitation in other people's waters), and the law says for safety reasons you can't get on with arresting or even "elbowing" him!).

Since the fishing trawler will have to stop fishing and get moving someday, the Japanese took the legally logical action of setting up a port circuit - according to the rules of the road, in any potential collision situation, by putting the other vessel on your port side, the MYJ (in this case) is burdened and responsible for taking evasive action (generally by passing behind the privileged ship).

As an aside, the HK expert is wrong to describe it as overtaking. In a port circuit, at SOME point Yosakuni would have to be behind MYJ. However, another condition to set up the overtaking situation is that there must be a collision risk. That may be why the Japanese captain is in the long oval you describe - by keeping his bow as far away from MYJ as feasible while he's behind, he weakens any attempt to call it an overtaking situation. Still obviously the better position would be somewhere at MYJ's starboard bow, so it is plausible that Yosakuni was moving faster when behind MYJ than when it is getting in front.

2) Interesting but not very relevant to discussion.

3) Personally, I don't notice any thickening, and if anything, thickening may mean an increase in propeller wash (read: Yosakuni is speeding up to get out of MYJ's critical angle). But let's grant your observation anyway. It might make for a talking point at a protest, but it would still be MYJ's responsibility to evade by the Rules of the Road.

4) It might be trying to sail away from the island, but navigational safety surely comes first.

Courses of action:
1) Certainly, and going behind is while not TECHNICALLY required under the Rules of the Road, is recommended.
2) If one is desperately being harassed, one does not fish.
3) What you are saying here is that he is trying to run, like a criminal. Generally, this is not going to attract sympathy.
4) Navigational safety is MUCH more important for a merchant than trying to escape.
5) The next 3 paragraphs are so inconsistent with the rather hard left break (it is hard to imagine any maneuver on Yosakuni's part that could have forced it) to ram that there is little point in discussing them. However, even in an alternate reality where it is going straight, since it is the burdened vessel the bulk of the blame would still fall onto it.

The rest disintegrates into speculation. How about speculating that this MYJ had been thumbing his nose at the JCG for most of the day?

As an aside, the Rules of the Road makes no provision for bigger or faster ships to avoid smaller or slower ships though it may make some sense. To put it bluntly, it is probably because the Rules of the Road serve a dual, darker purpose in situations like this - you use the Rules to put the other side into legal burden, thus slowly edging him out from where he wants to be. Obviously, no nation will want their larger, faster vessels to be disadvantaged in such a context (for example, a USN carrier having to dodge some intelligence trawler) so such rules will likely never appear.