Information for mariners and users in the Port of Bilbao
The General Regulations governing shipping and maritime safety in the maritime waters of the maritime province of Bilbao, published in the Official Gazette of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia on 19 March 2012, stipulate the following, among other things:
– In the waterways, entrances and inside the harbour basins, in the vicinity of the quays and narrow passages, small boats and other craft must at all times avoid potentially hazardous situations affecting the vessels whose manoeuvrability could be restricted as a result of their size or characteristics.
Likewise, the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea stipulate the conditions that must be met so that vessels can safely transit narrow waterways or passages. They are:
– Any vessel transiting a narrow passage or waterway shall keep as close as possible to the outer edge of the passage or waterway that lies to its starboard side, as long as it can do so without posing any hazards (Regulation 9.a.).
– Any vessel less than 20 metres long or sailing boats shall not hinder the transit of a vessel that can only proceed safely inside a narrow passage or waterway (Rule 9.b).
– Fishing vessels shall not hinder the transit of any other vessel proceeding through a narrow passage or waterway (Rule 9.c).
– Vessels must not cross a narrow passage or waterway if by doing so they will hinder the transit of another vessel that can only proceed safely inside the said passage or waterway (Rule 9.d).
– As long as circumstances allow, vessels shall avoid dropping anchor inside a narrow waterway (Rule 9.g).
It should be remembered that, in accordance with the above-mentioned General Shipping Regulations in force for the Maritime Province of Bilbao, and which are applicable to all vessels, boats and craft, the waterways into and out of the harbours and the canal of the Estuary of Bilbao, from the Punta Lucero docks in the case of Bilbao, shall be regarded as narrow waterways.
Infringement of the above regulations is covered by Articles 307 and 308 of the Royal Legislative Decree 2/2011, which endorses the recast text of the Law governing the Ports of the Spanish State and the Merchant Navy, and the penalties are established in Article 312.