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.
On 13 March the Fairplay Towage Group announced that it had been awarded the licence to operate harbour tugs in the port Las Palmas / Gran Canary and extended its operational area now into Spanish waters for the first time.
Walter Collet MD and spokesman of Fairplay Towage Group: ‘We are confident, that this expansion into Spanish waters will be appreciated by our international clients. The preparation and the necessary documentation of our application under Spanish rules was quite challenging. The conditions to be met are considerably higher compared to other jurisdictions in Europe, however our Fairplay Team and legal consultants handled all aspects of the licensing process very focused and professional.’
Collet added: ‘Our tugs all named after landmarks on the Canary Islands already performed the first assistances in the Port of Las Palmas. The fleet currently consists of four modern tugs under Spanish flag manned by Spanish sailors under a local Spanish contract. This setup allows us to offer to our clients an attractive and competitive package for harbour towage and for the first time clients have a choice in the Port of Las Palmas.
‘Currently the licence Conditions for the surrounding waters at Lanzarote, Tenerife and Fuerteventura are under review. Once the conditions have been published Fairplay Towage Group will comply with such conditions in order to work in the entire Canary Islands region. At the same time we are of course monitoring the developments on the Spanish mainland.’
The Fairplay Towage Group activities are handled by the Spanish outfit Odiel Towage SLU. The office located in Las Palmas is also coordinating the local harbour towage operations.
The Fairplay Towage Group operates a fleet of more than 100 tugs and ranks among the leading European tugowners. It is headquartered in Germany with branches in Poland, Belgium, Netherlands and Bulgaria. After the successful takeover of the German Bugsier Group in 2017 Fairplay Towage Group is also a leading O & G Service Provider in the North Sea and the Baltic. The Group also operates several Oil Recovery vessels and the Emergency Towing Vessels (ETV) in Germany and the Netherlands as part of the European Coastal Protection Scheme.
Seafarers UK is a charity that has been helping those in the maritime community for over 100 years, by providing vital support to seafarers in need and their families.
This aid has been achieved by grants to organisations and projects across the Merchant Navy, the Fishing Fleets, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.
In 2019 Seafarers UK awarded 53 grants totalling £2.2m to 43 maritime welfare charities.
On 3 April Seafarers UK made an open appeal on the world wide web to draw attention to the unprecedented times when the effects of COVID-19 are being felt all over the world with the seafaring community being no exception.
As an island nation, the UK is particularly dependent on its seafarers to keep the UK supplied with food, medicine, fuel and other essential supplies. As such, the Government has acknowledged the importance of those who work in the supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic and has officially designated seafarers as key workers.
As the world fights the Coronavirus pandemic seafarers are silently playing a vital role in keeping the nation afloat, under extremely challenging and unpredictable conditions.
On 2 April cruise ships Zaandam and Rotterdam disembarked more than 1,200 passengers in Port Everglades, Florida. These developments, combined with one remaining disembarkation being coordinated, represents the processing of more than 120 vessels in the last three weeks to remove 250,000 passengers from cruise ships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was reported by USCG HQ Media service from Washington.
US Coast Guard, under guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and working with Department of Homeland Security partners Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), as well as state and local entities from multiple port jurisdictions, facilitated the safe landing, screening, quarantine and repatriation of these passengers in a manner that has prevented further spread of the COVID-19 virus. Many passengers were brought to safe harbour in the United States when international ports refused entry.