Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
Captain Gray had a 20 year career at sea and traded on various vessels including RO-RO, container, bulk and LPG tankers. On coming ashore he was a Vessel Traffic Manager at Mackay/Haypoint and Reefcentre. He joined Fremantle Ports in July 2006 as Deputy Harbour and was appointed Harbour Master in September 2008. Captain Gray was previously the Federal Master for the Company of Master Mariners Australia and was later awarded Life Membership.
On his appointment Captain Gray said,
“Harbour masters come from a broad range of backgrounds and experience, and ports around the world vary in structure and resource. My vision for IHMA is to see an organisation that supports its members, that speaks for them at the international level particularly at IMO, and which is close enough to its members to help meet their concerns as they face increasing expectations of port stakeholders and future challenges facing ports. We will continue to provide a forum for the exchange of professional expertise and support, and aim to expand our services for members. I am delighted to being taking on this role and will do my best to strengthen and develop this fantastic organisation to which all harbour masters should belong!"
The IMO has agreed to address maritime corruption by including this important issue in its work programme for the Facilitation Committee. The decision to include an anti-corruption agenda came at the latest meeting of the IMO’s Facilitation Committee (FAL 43 held 8-12 April) in response to a submission from Liberia, Marshall Islands, Norway, UK, US and Vanuatu. The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) co-sponsored the submission along with a number of other non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping (illustrated) commented: ‘Corruption erodes trust in government and undermines the social contract. Corruption impedes investment, with consequent effects on growth and jobs. This is a global issue but we all need to work to eradicate corrupt practices. We are pleased that the IMO will be working to address this important issue and we will support the member states in stamping out this scourge.’
A mass rescue operation – indeed, any incident beyond everyday capability – is a challenge for any State and any SAR organisation; but this is particularly so for small States and organisations, whose planning and response capabilities are naturally limited. A cruise ship accident in the Caribbean, for example, where many such ships trade, is a very rare event, but still a possible one. Rarity is part of the problem.
Thus the scene is set by the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF see: www.international-maritime-rescue.org ).
This then begs a question
How do you prepare for such huge, once-in-a-career challenges?
In the UK IMRF Member the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), an executive agency of the UK Government, takes this question very seriously.