Section II – Conduct of vessels in sight of one another
a. Notwithstanding anything contained in the Rules of part B, sections I and II, any vessel overtaking any other shall keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken.
Meaning: It does not make a difference whether any ship ahead of the own vessel has permitted by signaling that overtaking may take place. As far as the Rules are concerned especially Rule 13, the overtaking vessel is duty bound to keep clear.
b. A vessel shall be deemed to be overtaking when coming up with another vessel from a direction more than 22.5° abaft the beam, that is, in such a position with reference to the vessel she is overtaking, that at night she would be able to see only the stern light of that vessel but neither of her sidelights.
Meaning: This part determines whether or not a vessel would be deemed to be overtaking or not.
In general overtaking is a clear cut understanding, however, in certain circumstances, it becomes difficult to judge whether a ship is overtaking or not. So this Part clarifies what is overtaking.
c. When a vessel is in any doubt as to whether she is overtaking another, she shall assume that this is the case and act accordingly.
Meaning: Again the same instruction – when in any doubt whether a vessel is overtaking or not, it is accepted that the vessel is overtaking.
d. Any subsequent alteration of the heading between the two vessels shall not make the overtaking vessel a crossing vessel within the meaning of these Rules or relieve her of the duty of keeping clear of the overtaken vessel until she is finally past and clear.
Meaning: A vessel which has overtaken another, but is not very clear of the overtaken vessel, cannot alter her course and cross the bows of the other vessel claiming to be a crossing vessel.
If a vessel has overtaken then the other vessel would have to be left absolutely clear and then only the overtaking vessel’s responsibility ends.