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.
Hutchison Ports Harwich International, on England’s east coast reported on 21 September that it has become a new base for the British Antarctic Survey’s two ice-strengthened Royal Research Ships, RRS James Clark Ross and the RRS Ernest Shackleton.
The two vessels made their inaugural calls at the port in September before deploying to the Antarctic, where they will remain until summer 2019.
Commenting on the port calls, Mark Seaman, Finance Director, Hutchison Ports (UK), said: ‘Harwich International is well known for its excellent ferry links to the Continent, however, the port has a wide range of facilities and handles a variety of cargoes and ship types. We normally see general and project cargoes as well as both dry and liquid bulks, cruise and offshore-support vessels, so the two survey ships fit well with this and are an exciting addition to our customer base.
‘The British Antarctic Survey undertakes research in the Polar Regions to aid our understanding of the impact of human activity on the environment. We are pleased to be able to help them, albeit in a very small way, with their very important work.’
RRS James Clark Ross is one of the world’s largest polar research vessels. Launched by HM the Queen in 1990, she is primarily a marine research vessel for biological, oceanographic and geophysical operations. She is equipped with a suite of laboratories and winch systems that allow scientific equipment to be deployed astern or amidships. The ship has an extremely low noise signature, allowing the deployment of sensitive acoustic equipment, it is understood.
RRS Ernest Shackleton, launched in 1995, is primarily a logistics vessel used to transport cargo, fuel and scientific staff. The ship also has a basic scientific capability and undertakes some research work. The vessel also has a cargo tender Tula on deck for ship-to-shore transfer of equipment for those occasions when the ship cannot berth alongside.
While in Harwich the vessels loaded ships’ stores and a diverse range of supplies, from snow mobiles and foodstuffs, to construction materials and bonded goods, all destined for the UK’s Antarctic bases. Additionally, the vessels completed a full crew change, as well as embarked a host of scientific staff and their equipment.
RSS James Clark Ross is pictured making her inaugural call at Harwich International before deploying to the Antarctic.
Hutchison Ports Harwich International is one of the UK’s leading multi-purpose freight and passenger ports with excellent road and rail links to the Midlands, London and the South East. It is ideally located for North Sea freight and passenger traffic to and from Scandinavia and the Benelux countries, offering first class ro-ro, ferry, container and bulk operations as well as support services for the offshore renewable energy industry.
Hutchison Ports Harwich International is a member of Hutchison Ports, the port and related services division of CK Hutchison Holdings Limited (CK Hutchison).
The company is one of the world’s leading port investors, a developer and operator with a network of port operations in 52 ports spanning 26 countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australasia. Over the years, Hutchison Ports has expanded into other logistics and transport-related businesses, including cruise ship terminals, airport operations, distribution centres, rail services and ship repair facilities.
It was reported on 5 December that MacGregor, part of Cargotec, has received deck machinery orders for four escort and four harbour tugboats from Cheoy Lee Shipyards Ltd in Hong Kong. MacGregor winches have been specifically designed to maximise vessel performance by minimising equipment weight, it is understood. These orders were booked into Cargotec’s fourth quarter 2018 order intake, with equipment deliveries planned on a rolling schedule commencing in the second quarter of 2019 through to the end of the third quarter.
Evolution not revolution. Autonomous and remote-controlled ships are being trialled but seafarers, for now, remain indispensable to safe shipping. These were key messages apparent from a special session held on 3 December of IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee, which is celebrating its 100th session. This was reported on 6 December by IMO which kindly provided illustrations.
Delegates were first treated to a song commemorating IMO’s 70th anniversary since the Convention establishing IMO was adopted in 1948) as well as the MSC 100 session.