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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

There is still time to complete the GLAs’ Differential GPS user survey

Survey responses can be provided until 31 December 2018. The survey can be completed online or may be posted.

The General Lighthouse Authorities of the UK and Ireland are conducting a survey to gauge current and future user requirements for their Differential GPS service.

The 1st International Shipmasters’ Congress

ISC ’19

Future Skills Requirements for a Digitized Maritime Industry

The India Habitat Centre

New Delhi, India

25-27 September 2019

www.ifsma.org

ISC ’19 Invitation to submit abstracts

IFSMA, the International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations, and CMMI, the Company of Master Mariners of India, cordially invite all members of the maritime / marine scientific and professional community to submit abstracts for oral or poster presentations at ISC ’19, the International Shipmasters’ Congress 2019, which is scheduled to be held from 25 to 27 September 2019 at the Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India addressing the theme Future Skills Requirements for a Digitized Maritime Industry.

ISC ’19 is organized by the International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations (IFSMA) in co-operation with the Company of Master Mariners of India (CMMI) and enjoys the kind support of the Indian Ministry of Shipping, the Indian Maritime University, the HSB | City University of Applied Sciences and the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology.

Role of Harbour Master/ Port Operations Professional
Security
Port Call Optimisation
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Vessel Traffic Services
Safety
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Emergency Management
Environment

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Latest Events

See attachment for dates and venues
Maritime and Cyber crime threat and risk mitigation workshop

Free to Attend – each event closing with a networking reception

Agenda

CSO Alliance will host a maritime security awareness brief aimed at enhancing risk awareness to security officials within the global maritime industry.while also providing a collaboration platform to debate related issues. There will also be an opportunity to learn more about the CSO, Maritime Cyber and our new Port Alliances. Agenda items include:

Regional threat update for West Africa, Indian Ocean and Asia/Far East

•  Information on successful ship boarding locations with a focus on stowaway issues

•  Awareness of cyber threat vectors and how the Maritime Cyber and other Alliances can play into crime reporting and sharing

• Port Security concerns and risk management

Open Floor Panel Discussion

Leading speakers:

• Mark Sutcliffe Managing Director CSO Alliance

• Harry Harper Director Ports & Maritime Chenega International Consulting

• Dr. Chris Henny Senior Technical Maritime Advisor Intelligence, Airbus

The CSO Alliance and Maritime Cyber Alliances provide ‘Security through Community’ enabling the maritime security community to submit incident reports and other information as well as collaborate in a secure environment about risks faced by the maritime industry. This can assist in delivery of a cost effective, threat-informed, risk-based approach.

Please join as your feedback helps shape our existing Alliances and the new PFSO Alliance.

Please confirm your attendance by emailing rsvp@csoalliance.com

Tel + 44 (0) 1296 325700 www.csoalliance.com

Trinity House, Tower Hill, London, EC3N 4DH
UK Ports for International Trade Launch Event

Dr Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State for International Trade, will give a keynote speech at the official launch of the UK Ports for International Trade campaign on Wednesday 17th October and an invitation has been extended to the maritime community. Readers who wish to attend are invited to inform the organisation by e-mail to: info@ukportsforinternaitonaltrade.com

UK Ports for International Trade is a new campaign led by businesses in the ports, maritime and logistics sectors - supported by the Department for International Trade. The campaign will be making a public case for the role international trade plays in driving growth and creating jobs in communities across Britain – and the integral role UK ports play in delivering that.

The campaign membership includes: Associated British Ports; the British Ports Association; UK Chamber of Shipping; UK Major Ports Group; PD Ports; Port of Dover; Belfast Harbour; Bristol Port; Forth Ports; Hutchison Ports; Maritime UK; Mersey Maritime; Milford Haven; P&O Ferries; Peel Ports; Port of London Authority; Port of Tyne; Rail Freight Group; Shoreham Port; UK Warehousing Association. 

Launch details:

Date: Wednesday 17th October

Time: 2:30 – 4pm

Venue: Trinity House, Tower Hill, London, EC3N 4DH 

We need to reimagine the UK’s coastal communities into a coastal powerhouse 

We have an unprecedented opportunity to transform our coastal communities 

UK ports ‘need to shout about the benefits of trade’ 
 

PORT OF GOTHENBURG

Thursday 27 - Friday 28 June 2019

How and with who will the ship of the future communicate?

This is the question that industry, ship owners and managers, ports, nautical service providers, university and research projects will seek to answer in this biennial EHMC seminar.  The day will include live demonstrations of industry products and a visit by boat within the Port of Gothenburg that will also take us around the harbour area.

The host: Port of Gothenburg

The Swedish shipping industry has recently been labelled a role model for the global shipping community because of the work being done to reduce emissions.  The Port of Gothenburg is not only Sweden's, but moreover Scandinavia's most important gateway for goods, cruise and passengers.  The hinterland includes three capital cities - Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm and almost 3o per cent of Swedish foreign trade passes through the port.

For further details please contact the EHMC Secretary, romers.ehmc@harbourmaster.org

Tanger Med

"Port Choice"

The 2017 seminar was a first in the history of our Committee, as it was held in the Moroccan port of Tanger Med. This was a consequence of the previous seminar in 2015, which was held in Marseille and where we reached out to our North African colleagues who are Harbour Masters, Port Captains and their deputies.

Tanger Med has built a leading hub port on the south shore of the Strait of Gibraltar. Beginning service in July 2007, the Tanger Med port is now operating amongst the world's leading ports.

 

Download includes
Programme en Francais Le program complèt du jeudi et vendredi 11 et 12 mai, séminaire EHMC, Tanger Med
Program in English - The full program for the Thursday and Friday 11 and 12 May 2017, EHMC seminar, Tanger Med

 

 

Marseille

On the occasion of the 2015 seminar in Marseille, we reached out to our North African colleagues who are Harbour Masters, Port Captains and their deputies. 

Le séminaire biennale de l’ EHMC est un événement sur deux jours qui permet aux Commandants des port Européens de se rencontrer pour se connaitre et échanger sur des sujets d'intérêt commun.

 

Download includes
Group picture
Press article  ’L’accueil des géants préoccupe les commandants de port’ le Marin, l’hebdomadaire de l’économie maritime  12 juin 2015
Press article  ’Le gigantisme cause commune des commandants de ports européens’ l’Antenne, les transports au quotidien   29 mai 2015
Presentation; Grand Port Maritime de Marseille -’Improve weather forecasts, more accurate navigation positioning, use of tugs, information to masters, improve experience’ AMAURY DE MAUPEOU, Harbour Master Port de Marseille et Marseille Fos
Presentation; The container ship market in 2015 ’Ultra-large box vessels: scaling effects in the container trade’ JAN TIEDEMANN, senior analyst liner shipping and ports, Alphaliner
Presentation; Le Port Tanger Med ’L’accueil dans le port des grands Porte-Conteneurs’ Cdt. KHALID SAMIR, Harbour Master Tanger Med Port Authority
Presentation; pilotage Marseille Fos “Piloter les plus grands navires dans le port en toute sécurité avec deux pilotes et la mise en œuvre du PPU” Capitaine NICOLAS PETIT, Pilot Station de Marseille Fos
Presentation; Bigger container vessels; more P&I claims? ’Replies from; the ship’s side, statistics, lessons learned & port installations’ JEAN-FRANCOIS REBORA, Director France P&I
Presentation; IHMA Congress 2016 ’Theme; Port expansion, challenges and opportunities’ PAUL O’REGAN, IHMA congress papers committee Port of Cork
Presentation; Weather forecasts ’Improving weather and wind forecasts in ports’ PAUL HUTCHINSON Vaisala
Presentation; Weather forecasts Text version; ’Improving weather and wind forecasts in ports’ PAUL HUTCHINSON Vaisala
Presentation; The Mariner’s Handbook ’What is the maximum draught that can fit into the port?’ SUSIE ALDER, Product Manager UK Hydrographic Office
Participants Registrations until 21-5-2015
Full program EHMC seminar, in English The full program of the seminar, 28 May, and the technical visit on 29 May
Programme complète du séminaire EHMC, en Francais Le programme complète du séminaire le 28 mai et de la visite du port et cocktail le 29 mai
The Port of Marseille, in English Presentation brochure Marseille Fos; ’Global Port & Multi-Activities’

 

 

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Latest News & Events

There is still time to complete the GLAs’ Differential GPS user survey

Survey responses can be provided until 31 December 2018. The survey can be completed online or may be posted.

The General Lighthouse Authorities of the UK and Ireland are conducting a survey to gauge current and future user requirements for their Differential GPS service.

The 1st International Shipmasters’ Congress

ISC ’19

Future Skills Requirements for a Digitized Maritime Industry

The India Habitat Centre

New Delhi, India

25-27 September 2019

www.ifsma.org

ISC ’19 Invitation to submit abstracts

IFSMA, the International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations, and CMMI, the Company of Master Mariners of India, cordially invite all members of the maritime / marine scientific and professional community to submit abstracts for oral or poster presentations at ISC ’19, the International Shipmasters’ Congress 2019, which is scheduled to be held from 25 to 27 September 2019 at the Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India addressing the theme Future Skills Requirements for a Digitized Maritime Industry.

ISC ’19 is organized by the International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations (IFSMA) in co-operation with the Company of Master Mariners of India (CMMI) and enjoys the kind support of the Indian Ministry of Shipping, the Indian Maritime University, the HSB | City University of Applied Sciences and the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology.