What can YOU say in six sentences?
Ruby red port, an old mnemonic much beloved of navigation students to explain which side of the ship the navigation light colours belong to, the red light goes on the port side, the green on the starboard. The ship was about 5 miles distant and from the starboard bridge wing Kane could only see her lights through his binoculars, the vessel itself disembodied, a ghost in the night, he could see one red navigation light and the white masthead light slightly above, he couldn’t see the green light which meant the ship was showing her port side to him and was steering a southerly course, since Kane was heading west, they were converging.
Anybody who has been involved in a ship collision will know the colossal forces involved, ships are big things. If you look dead ahead and can see the other ship's red and green navigation side lights with the masthead light dead centre and this aspect doesn’t change over time, then your ships are head on, strangely this scenario isn’t so bad since he will be seeing you in exactly the same way and there are standard course change rules that both ships will take, both should alter course to starboard and pass port to port, converging course lines though are a bit more tricky.
Kane walked to the autopilot and spun the dial to alter his course to starboard remembering another student mnemonic: ‘If to starboard red appear, tis your duty to keep clear,’ this way he would pass well astern of the other ship and their courses would not cross, it meant a few more miles and some extra fuel but those were the rules, he had to give way. He called a few times on the VHF radio, but only silence replied, so he went back on the bridge wing to find he could see both her red and green side lights with the masthead light dead centre, and as his own ship swung to starboard, the other ship swung to port, which she should not be doing, it was as if this ghost ship was trying for a collision !! ... Kane didn’t believe in ghosts, but he suddenly felt very cold.
Note: if you stand on the bridge looking ahead starboard is on your right, port is on your left.