Close quarter situations with fishing vessels and/or their associated fishing gear remain common. This often results in loss of life, in addition to any damage to fishing gear or boats.
Although the COLREGS should technically apply to all vessels of all Member States, they are very often overlooked or ignored. On small vessels in some regions of the world, it is common to have an unqualified skipper and crew who know little about safe navigation. Remember, many of these fishermen are poor, ill-educated and desperate to make a living. Safety is often a secondary concern.
The cargo vessels may encounter a number of unlit or poorly lit small vessels, with no radar reflectors, no lookout, gear stretching out to an unknown distance and unknown direction and working close to or within the confines of a channel or harbour approach.
UK P&I club has put together an excellent guide for Masters and their Bridge teams on how to reduce the risk of collisions with fishing vessels.
Click on below image to download document.
Source: UK P&I club