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Role of the Harbour Master

The Role of the Harbour Master

Ports can be busy places and, by the very nature of their business activities, may be hazardous places to work. The Harbour Master has a key role to play ensuring that people living and working in or close to the port, the port’s staff, customers or visitors to the port environment can go about their business safely. Harbour Masters must be familiar with all relevant safety, environmental and health laws at the international, national and local level.

Port Marine Operations

The safety of navigation for any vessel utilising the port and its approaches is the Harbour Master's primary concern. Harbour Masters regulate the manner in which vessels conduct their navigation in port. Most regulatory requirements are clearly set out in the form of port by-laws, general directions, Pilotage Directions etc and these clearly define what the “rules of the road” are in terms of safe navigation.

Ship Arrival

From initial information provided by the ship on draft, length overall and displacement, the Harbour Master will allocate a suitable berth and apply any restrictions he may feel necessary for the safe passage of that particular vessel in his port. Vessels arriving at a port will normally contact the port control or VTS station to receive instructions on the plan for their arrival and stay in the port. This exchange usually involves confirmation of the time the pilot will board and the berth to which the vessel is proceeding.

Harbour Masters normally designate a safe pilot-boarding area where the vessel boards her pilot who then subsequently communicates with the port authority shipping control office or VTS whilst proceeding towards the intended berth. If the vessel is exempt from pilotage, in compliance with port regulations, then clear instructions on the manner of entry and navigation will be given and the vessel will be asked to register and confirm its passage plan. The passage plan is the detailed and recorded confirmation of what the ship intends to do at every stage of its passage from the pilot station to finally arriving alongside. Any subsequent movement of the vessel, a berth shift, for example, will also be subject to passage planning.

The Harbour Master has a duty to inform vessels about any hazards or problems that may affect safe navigation, for example:

  • Any obstructions in channels or alongside berths
  • Limitations of tugs
  • Weather restrictions in the harbour or at berths
  • Any failure of any aids to navigation such as lights or buoys

Vessel Types

Ports handle a huge variety of ship types ranging from supertankers, through cruise and cargo ships, large container vessels, bulk carriers, warships, Ro-Ro vessels and ferries right down to smaller but no less important vessels such as fishing vessels and pleasure craft. Different types of vessel require different port facilities to enable then to be handled efficiently and safely. Part of the Harbour Master's role is to be fully conversant with the types of vessel that represent the port's main business and to have a thorough knowledge of their requirements whilst they are in port.

Ship's Stay in Port

The role of the Harbour Master in terminal and cargo operations will vary according to the governance of the port. The Harbour Master's advice is regularly sought during a ship’s stay by companies, organisations or government officials associated with such activities as fuel bunkering, tank cleaning and the delivery of stores, water and crew.

The Harbour Master has a role to play in determining the berthing of ships and the control of the front quay or ship-shore interface. This includes the removal or segregation of dangerous goods for a determined period on the terminal, the measures to be taken by stevedores and dockworkers to prevent safety or environmental irregularities and the accessibility to the ship-shore interface by unauthorised persons.

The success or otherwise of a ship's stay in a port will be measured by how the Master, crew and ultimately the operator/owner consider the port has met their operational requirements. Port operations must be carefully planned well in advance of the vessel's arrival alongside. There are many planning considerations for the Harbour Master but amongst the main ones are: a suitable and safe berth; provision of pilotage and tugs; confirmation of mooring resources such as linemen, line boats, mooring teams etc; liaison with stevedores on the ETA/ETD of the vessel to enable them to plan their resources for loading/discharge effectively; key loading/discharge plant and equipment availability and reliability; security requirements and liaison with statutory authorities where necessary. Another key element is a good relationship with the ship's agent who will have first-hand knowledge of the ship's requirements.

The Harbour Master’s expertise is also essential for the management of any incidents and in the timely implementation of response and emergency plans.


Port Management

In addition to the technical and statutory responsibilities of the role, today’s harbour master is increasingly involved in the day-to-day management of port operations. Increased involvement and greater responsibility for the commercial business of a port is a growing area of activity for many harbour masters.

Strategic Planning Process

If they are to remain competitive, ports must move with the times in response to global shifts in maritime trade. Strategic-level business plans must be developed. Harbour Masters may contribute to the development of a long-term master plan for the port.

Other Authorities in the Port

The Harbour Master may co-operate with a number of authorities including representatives of port state control, customs, veterinary agencies, health agencies, environmental agencies, local government and utilities.

Local Community

Ports, as with all businesses, are expected to engage with their stakeholders in an open, honest and transparent manner. Working in the port environment inevitably brings the Harbour Master into contact with the wider community. Although Harbour Masters may exercise jurisdiction over the water frontage or waterway of their port – a decision that may be determined by statute or regulation – they are also expected to consider the requirements or concerns of the community on the use of the port’s navigable area and its impact on the community.

It is not only commercial vessels that make use of a port. Recreational fisherman, diving clubs, rowing clubs, tour boat operators, visiting yachtsmen and power boat drivers, marina operators and many more must all be consulted. Conflict may arise between those pursuing different activities. The harbour master has an important role in engaging with interest groups, resolving such issues and ensuring the safety of all harbour users.

Leisure Use of Ports

Leisure activities may take many forms, including recreational boating (both power and sail), swimming, diving and organised aquatic events. The Harbour Master can mitigate the risks associated with large aquatic events through the application of safety management principles and risk assessment. However, private and irregular use of the port for recreation is difficult to monitor and control. Many ports and harbours now use their websites and social media to promulgate safety information to port users. The zoning of activities to separate, for example, swimmers from personal watercraft may be introduced. Prohibiting access to some areas may be required and will require local regulation. The focus should be on community engagement and finding a harmonious method for the co-existence of recreational activities. 

Latest News & Events

In the Med

The story continues to evolve more than a week after the ship was embargoed in Gibraltar on suspicion of violating EU sanctions against Syria, where the UK believed it was heading with two million barrels of crude oil. Her Master and Chief Officer were arrested on 4 July and the following day two other officers were taken into custody. It is understood from The Gibraltar Chronicle that all have now been bailed and released with conditions.

Early on the afternoon of 13 July Gibraltar’s Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo, spoke with the Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt, about the political issues surrounding the detention of the Grace 1 last week.

Mr Picardo said in a statement issued from Gibraltar on 13 July at 1857 GMT: ‘I was pleased to discuss with the Foreign Secretary the political issues surrounding our initial detention of the Grace 1, the investigation that is ongoing and the extended period of detention presently ordered by the Gibraltar Supreme Court.

Mr Hunt called me ahead of speaking with the Foreign Minister of Iran, Mr Javad Zarif. I therefore asked the Foreign Secretary to clarify to the Iranian authorities on my behalf that all the decisions made by Gibraltar in respect of the detention of the Grace 1 were made exclusively with a view to the Syrian destination of the vessel, the Baniyas oil refinery which is subject to EU sanctions, and without any regard to the origin of its cargo.

IHMA is pleased to announce that Ms Alexandra Thomson McIntosh, Marine Manager, Aberdeen Harbour Board, will represent…

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Latest Events

Mary Ward House Conference & Exhibition Centre, London

IHMA is pleased to announce that Alex Mc Intosh, Marine Manager, Aberdeen Harbour Board, will represent the Association at the Women in Shipping Summit, 10-11 September 2019, London. Furthermore, there is a 20% discount available for IHMA members attending the Summit.
The following information is provided by the conference organiser:

Winds of change within the maritime industry have seen the women's movement improve shipping. The wave of equality may not be perfect, but through embracing the talent and value of women, the industry has become more innovative and more open to change. But understanding the challenges women face and acknowledging the value they can provide is only the start. Focused on topics from empowerment to action, the Women in Shipping Summit t is built around the unique challenges women face, acknowledging the value they provide and taking your next steps. Shaping thoughts, empowering leadership, and helping to progress your career.

The summit will feature a line-up of some of the most impressive names in shipping, both men and women who will tell the story of their journey through the industry to inspire and empower your personal career development plans. Speaker line-up includes:

  • Jaz O’Hara, Founder, The Worldwide Tribe
  • Magda Kopczynska, Director for Innovative and Sustainable Mobility, European Commission Directorate General for Mobility and Transport
  • Sue Probert, Chair, UN/CEFACT
  • Helen Buni, Principal Programme Assistant, Technical Cooperation Division, IMO
  • Katharina Stanzel, Managing Director, INTERTANKO
  • Karin Orsel, CEO/Co-Chair, MF Shipping Group/Dutch Ship Owners Association
  • Karin Orsel, CEO/Co-Chair, MF Shipping Group/Dutch Ship Owners Association

VIEW FULL SPEAKER LINE-UP

Key themes include:

  • Challenging unconscious bias in day-to-day interactions: Are we glorifying aggressiveness?
  • Maternity, return to work and working arrangements
  • Finding your executive voice
  • What women bring to the table: fight-or-flight vs tend-and-befriend
  • Addressing women's health - advancements and resources
  • Why men [should] promote women in shipping
  • Attracting talent: Analysing our call to arms
  • Digital transformation in shipping and opportunities for diversity
  • Beyond gender – addressing the wider diversity challenge in shipping

VIEW AGENDA

Save 20%

As we are supporters of the event, you're entitled to a 20% saving! In addition to our early bird discount, which is available until Friday 2nd August. To claim, use VIP code FKT3628IHMA during registration or follow links in this email.

BOOK NOW

Limited capacity

Please note this event will sell out, currently we have less than 50 places left. Make sure you secure your place early to avoid disappointment.

Novotel Clarke Quay, Singapore
smart ports summit asia

There is a 20% discount available for IHMA members attending the Smart Ports Summit Asia, 17 September 2019, Singapore.

The following information is provided by the conference organiser:

How should ports leverage opportunities for development to ensure effective and sustainable results?

Join the key industry stakeholders at the Novotel Clarke Quay in Singapore for the Smart Ports Summit Asia to discuss how to integrate smarter operations across port and terminal activity and look at real-life examples of ports transforming from bottlenecks into the digital nexus of the supply chain.

IHMA members can save 20% on the standard rate by using an exclusive VIP code FKT3652IHMA at checkout online: http://bit.ly/SPSA-book.

What’s on the agenda?

The summit will showcase terminal operator and port authority strategy, and discuss how this is being shaped by evolving global patterns and shifting client demands. Find out what a successful digital strategy should look like, how this is led from the top, and how the business case for innovation is best made. To see the full agenda, please visit: http://bit.ly/SPSA-agenda.

The stellar speaker line-up will feature experts including: 

  • Michael Bergmann, President, Comité International Radio-Maritime
  • Mikael Lind, Research Manager, Sustainable Transports, RISE Victoria
  • Okan Duru, Assistant Professor, Programme Director, Nanyang Technological University Singapore
  • Marco Neelson, CEO, Port of Tanjung Pelepas

The up-to-date speaking faculty is available at http://bit.ly/SPSA-speakers.  

Pair the summit with the Shipping2030 Asia conference (18-19 September, Novotel Clarke Quay, Singapore) to meet 250 marine shipping professionals, and gain strategic knowledge and practical tools for long-term growth through wider blue economy and circularity, business model innovation, adding value, digital platforms, culture of innovation, increasing your competitiveness and resilience to change.

Those attending Shipping2030 Asia will have unlimited access to Global Liner Shipping Asia conference and its networking opportunities at no extra cost.

Registration options and package discounts:

1. Register by 19 July to claim £200 off your place in addition to the IHMA discount.   

2. Smart Ports Summit Asia is part of the Shipping Transformation Asia series – attend four events, taking place at the Novotel Clarke Quay over three days. For more information and to save 20% on your all-access pass, please go to: http://bit.ly/ShippingTransformation.  

3. To book only Smart Ports Summit and Shipping2030 Asia, please click here and use code FKT3652IHMA to save 20%.

4. Attend as a group to save 50% on the third and subsequent bookings. The standard rate is £799 + VAT (if applicable).

If you have questions about the event or registration process, please email maritime@knect365.com or call +44 (0) 20 7017 5511.

Bonhill House, London, UK
Ports & Terminals Insurance Seminar

You are invited to attend the Lloyd's Maritime Academy Ports & Terminals Insurance Seminar between 11-12 June, London.  

This two day seminar offers a complete guide to assessing what claims a port is liable for and how to handle risks and insurance. The agenda has been specifically written for ports and terminals operators. All of the attendees will be able to claim CPD points and will leave with a thorough understanding of the insurance market through expert presentations from underwriters, solicitors and legal counsel.

20% Discount

All IHMA members will receive an exclusive 20% discount. To claim your discount please quote FKT3572IHMA when booking, or follow the links in the email, and the discount will automatically be applied. 

The agenda has been specifically tailored for the challenges and insurance considerations which port and terminal operators are facing today. Through interactive formats, case studies and Q&A sessions, our experts will guide you through the market, insurance processes and how to asses new risks such as cyber security, environmental regulations and extreme weather affects on ports. 

Key areas which will be covered include:

  • Understanding the insurance market
  • Cyber Security - How big is the risk?
  • Interactive Sessions: port disruption, harbourmaster negligence and infrastructural damage
  • Answering the big questions: What is good insurance? What evidence is needed? Who are the 3rd parties and what can they hold operators liable for?
  • What is the best approach for insuring your port post 2020?
Book in one of three easy ways:

Register online | Email: maritime@KNect365.com | +44(0)20 7017 5511

Please use VIP code FKT3572IHMA when registering to benefit from your 30% discount

Attendees will be able to claim CPD points>>

Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Copenhagen
Shipping 2030

There is a 20% discount available for IHMA members attending the Shipping2030 Europe conference, 20-21 March, Copenhagen.
The following information is provided by the conference organiser:
Co-located with
Green Ship Technology, Shipping2030 Europe (20 – 21 March 2019, Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Copenhagen) will bring together 300+ global maritime professionals from across the industry to discuss all things digital and how to achieve excellence with the use of new technologies,processes and strategies.
More information about the event:
http://bit.ly/Shipping2030-IHMA.

As a member of IHMA, you can receive an exclusive discount of 20% on the standard rate. To claim the offer, use VIP code FKT3545IHMA at checkout:

http://bit.ly/BookShipping2030-IHMA.

Agenda highlights:

  • Gain the latest updates from the cutting-edge innovators in practical case studies on: Autonomous shipping, digital twinning, connectivity and satcom solutions, IoT, cybersecurity and performance monitoring.
  • Maximise your strategic planning with insight from expert panels discussing: Digitalisation ROI and financing, fostering a culture of innovation, supply chain optimisation, new workforce demands.

Download the full agenda: http://bit.ly/AgendaShipping2030-IHMA
Key speakers for 2019 include:

  • K D Adamson, Futurist & CEO, Futurenautics
  • Peter Schrøder, CDO, Maersk Tankers
  • Inge André Sandvik, CDO, Wilhelmsen Group
  • Deanna MacDonald, CEO & Co-Founder, BLOC
  • Aron Sørensen, Head of Maritime Technology & Regulation, BIMCO
  • Tommy Olofsen, Chief Commercial Officer & Deputy CEO, OSM Maritime Group
  • Annika Elfström, Head of Digital Transformation Lab, Stena AB
  • Christopher Rex, Head of Innovation, Danish Ship Finance
  • Leif Arne Strømmen, Vice President Innovation, G2 Ocean

View all the confirmed speakers: http://bit.ly/Shipping2030Speakers-IHMA.

New this year: Sustainable Ports Summit

(22 March 2019, Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Copenhagen)
Discuss how ports are rising to the challenge in terms of the infrastructure and services provided, the proactive measures many ports are taking to limit harmful emissions, while protecting the marine
environment from potentially harmful discharges and bioinvasions.

Key topics include: bunkering for a multi-fuel future, ship to shore power supply, and local response to air quality concerns.

Keynote speaker announced: Patrick Verhoeven, World Port Sustainability Program Coordinator & Managing Director, International Association of Ports and Harbours

See the full summit agenda and up-to-date speaker line-up: http://bit.ly/AgendaSPS-IHMA.

Additional discounts:

  1. Group bookings: the third and subsequently registered delegates save 50% on the standard rate.
  2. Shippers and shipowners can attend for free as VIP guests.

To apply for your complimentary pass, please visit http://bit.ly/Shipping2030VIP-IHMA.

Register today at http://bit.ly/BookShipping2030-IHMA or contact us for additional information or assistance with booking your tickets.

E.: maritime@knect365.com

T.: +44 (0) 20 7017 5511

Hilton Canary Wharf Hotel in London

We are delighted to invite you to the inaugural Smart Ports Summit, taking place from 19 to 20 February 2019 at the Hilton Canary Wharf Hotel in London. This two-day summit will bring together key stakeholders from the entire supply chain to discuss how to integrate smarter operations across port and terminal activity, looking at all types of ports – from containers, tankers and dry cargo to passenger and crew facilities.
As a member of IHMA, you are entitled to an exclusive discount of 20% on the standard rate. To claim
your discount, use VIP code FKT3566IHMA at checkout.

Register here:
http://bit.ly/SmartPortsbook-IHMA

Learn more about the event: http://bit.ly/SmartPorts-IHMA

Highlights from the agenda:

  • The drivers behind change and the biggest challenges ahead to digitalise ports
  • How to determine business critical processes that require digital applications
  • Adopting AI and predictive analytics to improve information flow
  • Specific challenges around container terminals, passenger ship ports and tanker terminals
  • Working towards optimising the supply chain and potential integration strategies
  • The latest cyber security threats and how to mitigate these risks
  • What will the port of the future look like and how will it impact and benefit other stakeholders
  • And plenty more

Download the agenda: http://bit.ly/SmartPortsagenda-IHMA

Key speakers for 2019 include:

  • Anton Rhodes, Project Officer, IMO
  • Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive, British Ports Association
  • Sven Daniels, Director IT, Hamburg Port Consulting
  • Johan Gahstrom, Senior Marine Manager, Intertanko
  • Yoss Leclerc, Port Operations, Quebec Port Authority
  • Monica Swanson, Business Manager Digital Development, Port of Rotterdam

Meet all the speakers: http://bit.ly/SmartPortsSpeakers-IHMA

Additional discounts:

  1. Port authorities and terminal operators: 50% off the standard rate (paying only £799 + VAT)
  2. Shippers and shipowners can attend for free as VIP guests. For more information, please email Ellen at ellen.minshull@knect365.com.
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Latest News & Events

Grace 1 moree MV Grace 1, more…

In the Med

The story continues to evolve more than a… FIND OUT MORE

20% off Women in Shipping Summit (10-11 September, London) for IHMA Members

IHMA is pleased to announce that Ms Alexandra Thomson McIntosh, Marine Manager, Aberdeen Harbour Board, will represent the Association at the Women in Shipping Summit, 10-11… FIND OUT MORE

Latest News & Events

In the Med

The story continues to evolve more than a week after the ship was embargoed in Gibraltar on suspicion of violating EU sanctions against Syria, where the UK believed it was heading with two million barrels of crude oil. Her Master and Chief Officer were arrested on 4 July and the following day two other officers were taken into custody. It is understood from The Gibraltar Chronicle that all have now been bailed and released with conditions.

Early on the afternoon of 13 July Gibraltar’s Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo, spoke with the Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt, about the political issues surrounding the detention of the Grace 1 last week.

Mr Picardo said in a statement issued from Gibraltar on 13 July at 1857 GMT: ‘I was pleased to discuss with the Foreign Secretary the political issues surrounding our initial detention of the Grace 1, the investigation that is ongoing and the extended period of detention presently ordered by the Gibraltar Supreme Court.

Mr Hunt called me ahead of speaking with the Foreign Minister of Iran, Mr Javad Zarif. I therefore asked the Foreign Secretary to clarify to the Iranian authorities on my behalf that all the decisions made by Gibraltar in respect of the detention of the Grace 1 were made exclusively with a view to the Syrian destination of the vessel, the Baniyas oil refinery which is subject to EU sanctions, and without any regard to the origin of its cargo.

IHMA is pleased to announce that Ms Alexandra Thomson McIntosh, Marine Manager, Aberdeen Harbour Board, will represent…