An Emergency Wreck Marking Buoy is used to mark a new danger (newly discovered hazard to navigation) or a wreck that has not yet been shown on nautical charts, included in sailing directions, or sufficiently promulgated by Notices to Mariners. Details of the Emergency Wreck Marking Buoy can be found in Chapter 7 of the IALA Maritime Buoyage System NP735, a publication published by UKHO.
History of Emergency Wreck Marking Buoy
The Emergency Wreck Marking Buoy was introduced on a trial basis in 2006 and later adopted permanently in 2010. Before its introduction, new dangers or wrecks were marked with cardinals or lateral marks, which made it difficult for mariners to understand these new hazards, thus creating confusion.
To understand more about the emergency wreck marking buoy, we need to look into the sinking of the MV Tricolor in the Dover Strait in 2002, which was struck by two more vessels in the following days. Even though the wreckage was marked with new danger buoys, this tragedy occurred because earlier, new dangers were marked with lateral or cardinal marks, creating confusion for mariners. After this tragedy, the emergency wreck marking buoy was introduced to IMO on the recommendations of IALA. The purpose of the emergency wreck marking buoy is to provide a distinctive mark or buoy to quickly identify the new danger. It is designed to provide a highly conspicuous visual and radio aid to navigation. The emergency wreck marking buoy is to be kept in place until the permanent form of marking of the wreck is carried out or the wreck is well-known and sufficiently promulgated by notices to mariners.
Characteristics of Emergency Wreck Marking Buoy:
What is Topmark of Emergency Wreck Marking Buoy?
If fitted, the top mark is a standing or upright yellow cross.
What is the Colour of an Emergency Wreck Marking Buoy?
The Emergency Wreck Marking Buoy is coloured in equal number and dimensions of blue and yellow vertical stripes (minimum of 4 and maximum of 8 stripes.)
What are the Lights of an Emergency Wreck Marking Buoy?
The Emergency Wreck Marking Buoy exhibits an alternating blue and yellow flashing light with a nominal range of 4 nautical miles (authorities are authorised to alter the range depending on local conditions) where the blue and yellow 1 second flashes are alternated with an interval of 05 seconds.
For Example :
Blue Lt for 1.0sec +0.5sec period of darkness + Yellow Lt for 1.0sec +0.5sec period of darkness = 3sec (total period )
What is the Shape of an Emergency Wreck Marking Buoy?
The Emergency Wreck Marking Buoy is a pillar or spar buoy, with size dependent on location.
Other aids to navigation:
The Emergency Wreck Marking Buoy may be fitted with a racon Morse Code “D” and/or an AIS transceiver.