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.
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has expressed his deep concern about the escalation in the number and severity of attacks on ships and crew in the Gulf of Guinea region. He insisted on the need for all stakeholders to work together to restore security and reduce the threats to the safety and security of crews and vessels operating in the region. This was reported by IMO on 15 February.
The urgency of the situation has been underlined by the attack on the container ship Mozart on 23 January 2021, which resulted in a fatality and the kidnapping of 15 seafarers.
In a circular letter (No. 4382, issued 10 February1), the Secretary-General said that IMO has been taking action to enhance the coordination of initiatives among stakeholders, including facilitating meetings with representatives of the industry, the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Interregional Coordination Centre for the Implementation of Regional Strategy for Maritime Safety and Security in Central and West Africa (ICC).
The Secretary-General also highlighted that ships need to implement the IMO endorsed Best Management Practices (BMP) for West Africa (WA) to avoid, deter, delay and report attacks. The BMP cover risk assessment, ship protection measures and reporting.
The BMP can be downloaded here:
IMO intends to convene a maritime security working group focusing on the Gulf of Guinea at the next session of the Maritime Safety Committee, MSC 103, scheduled to take place in May 2021. This will provide an opportunity for Member States and international organizations to discuss further collaboration and possible action to address the existing problems.
IMO continues to provide technical assistance to Member States in the region regarding the implementation of maritime security measures. The Organization is currently working with the Interregional Coordination Centre (ICC) to assist with the implementation of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct (YCC), a regional code aimed at enhancing maritime security and addressing piracy, armed robbery against ships, illegal fishing and other illicit maritime activity.
The IMO West and Central Africa Maritime Security Trust Fund enables the Organization's maritime security capacity-building programme to assist Gulf of Guinea coastal States as well as regional centres under the framework of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct.
A comprehensive list of recommendations and guidance adopted/approved by the Maritime Safety Committee on the prevention and response to acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships can be found in the Guidance on piracy section of IMO’s maritime security webpage to be found here:
Image shown here provided by Inter-Regional Coordination Center (ICC) Yaoundé, Cameroon.
It relates to an attempted attack on 7 February 2021, when the Oil/Chemical tanker mv Sea Phantom was boarded by suspected pirates on the high seas off Sao Tome & Principe.
Following coordination between the Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea navies, response units were dispatched. As a helicopter from Equatorial Guinea arrived on scene, at least eight people that had managed to board the vessel fled the ship.
The Cameroonian patrol boat Dipikar also arrived on scene to assist. Fortunately, the crew was found uninjured in the tanker's intact citadel. The vessel has since been escorted to the port of Malabo, in Equatorial Guinea.
Aids to Navigation (AtoN) have evolved over time.
As new technology emerges, asset managers have a large range of options and features to consider. This document identifies how clever AtoN design and functionality can help authorities reduce operational costs and improve the visibility of their connected devices.
Aids to Navigation (AtoN) play a pivotal role in maritime safety and extend much further than being the traffic lights of the sea.
We are a long way from the days of a traditional lighthouse whose kerosene lamp served as a simple warning of danger ahead.
The navigational tools available to mariners today are vast and they continue to evolve as new technologies are realized.
Types of AtoN
Congestion within the world’s ports and shipping channels continues to grow, with the maritime industry relying on AtoN to ensure navigational safety and to manage traffic conditions.
On 2 March the (UK) Maritime & Coastguard Agency issued the eleven-page document entitled: MIN 656 (M): Understanding the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on seafarer wellbeing.
This Marine Information Note (MIN) provides guidance for ship owners on the stressors which have been created or exacerbated by the conditions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and provides some mitigating strategies.
The document provides information on the potentially long-lasting and far-reaching impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on seafarer wellbeing. It provides guidance for ship owners on the stressors which have been created or exacerbated by the conditions throughout the pandemic and provides some mitigating strategies.
In this document the term ship owner is used in the sense that it is used in health and safety regulation, as the person responsible for the operation of the ship.
This is often the same organisation as the ‘company’ referred to in the ISM code.