Mauritius to South Africa Day Seven - 28 02.602S 044 31.570E
Mike and Liz Downing
Thu 7 Nov 2013 13:16
Had one of those 'I don't believe it' incidents yesterday. With AIS showing ships at such big distances, going out to a range of 150 miles was showing 12-15 yesterday and it felt like we were riding a peddle bike up the motorway the wrong way. But all were missing us until the evening when this, over 1000ft, supertanker came on the scene at around 100 miles out. We watched him for the next few hours and his course didn't waver - it was heading straight for us. When within 30 miles we decided to change course and went south a bit, opening up the CPA (closest point of approach) to 3 to 4 miles, so not a problem. At least not for another 15 minutes when for some reason he changed course (the first time for hours) and was again heading straight for us! Why did he do that?! Okay, what to do now. 30 miles is a very long way to call up a ship (we normally wait until it's half that distance or less), but I was waiting to go off watch and go to bed, so call him up we did. He was very polite and said he couldn't see us on AIS or on his radar and didn't know we were there. So we gave him our position and he said he would look out for us. So far so good. After 20 minutes or so he called us back to say he still couldn't see us on AIS or radar. So we said if he changed course by a few degrees to 062 he should give us a sufficiently wide berth. Okay, he said, and this huge supertanker changed course to 062 (we could monitor it on AIS) and stayed there, eventually passing 3.5 miles to the north of us. A bit bizarre telling a supertanker skipper what course to steer his ship! Wish they were all like that.
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