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.
Unlike an emergency situation on land, when a ship faces a crisis at sea, Masters cannot simply dial the emergency services for instant assistance. They take responsibility for dealing with the situation, acting decisively to protect lives and prevent or minimise damage to the ship, environment and cargo.
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) have worked in partnership to provide the industry with a practical guide
Peril at Sea and Salvage: A Guide for Masters outlines the actions a Master should take when confronted with an emergency: from the initial assessment and immediate actions, through to towage or salvage arrangements, as may be necessary. It also explains the importance of prompt notification to relevant parties with onshore support, particularly coastal States and the company.
A section is included with recommendations for a company’s shore-based personnel.
Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping commented: ‘Over the years we have seen a reduction in shipping emergencies and major incidents due to the development of regulations governing the safe operation and management of ships. Crews are regularly trained in emergency response preparedness and the industry has adopted a compliance culture.
‘But, when accidents do occur, they often have a high impact, and of course they threaten the safety of personnel, ships, the environment and cargo. Whilst it is good news that many seafarers have never experienced an emergency on board a ship, it also means that they can lack the anticipatory knowledge needed to deal with an emergency. Peril at Sea has been designed to help provide seafarers – and shore-based personnel - with the decision-making support that they need.’
Peril at Sea contains information on the initial response to an incident, implementing the emergency response plan, updates and follow-up actions, and towage and salvage.
It also focusses on the contingency planning a company needs to undertake to prepare for an emergency. This Guide provides clear guidance on best practices for the Master, but should also be read by anyone who might be involved in managing emergency situations on a ship, including shore-based personnel, emergency assistance service providers and training institutions.
Rob Drysdale, Managing Director of OCIMF, added: ‘Our industry continues to evolve, and vessels are more sophisticated and technically advanced than ever before. While this has made ships and their operations safer, it has also changed how a ship’s Master responds to a crisis at sea and the level of preparation required. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that personnel both at sea and onshore are armed with the knowledge, resources and tools to manage crises and minimise harm to themselves, their vessel and the environment in any emergency situation.
‘Peril at Sea is the definitive guide to preparing for and responding to incidents, accidents and emergencies at sea. Drawing upon experience from across the industry, this updated edition explains the operational and regulatory changes that have taken place since the last edition was published. I urge all Masters, crew and personnel ashore to familiarise themselves with the revised recommendations, safety management systems and emergency response protocols contained within this new edition.’
Peril at Sea and Salvage: A Guide for Masters is published by Witherbys, price £155. For further information readers are invited to visit https://www.witherbyseamanship.com/peril-at-sea-and-salvage-a-guide-for-masters-sixth-edition.html
In the UK the results of a recent Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT; see: CILT Home (ciltuk.org.uk) ) survey investigating the preparedness of Institute members ahead of the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, reveals that a clear majority of members are concerned about the UK’s transition period coming to an end.
It is understood that the results show that 82% of CILT members who are involved in the movement of goods in and out of the EU are concerned (44% of them greatly concerned) about the transition period ending at the end of the year.
CILT stated that it is pleased to see 79% of respondents believe their organisation is at least moderately prepared for the end of the transition period. However, alarmingly, 31% of respondents told CILT they had made little or no progress with regards to EU exit preparations since the start of the year, although 77% of those questioned have made or are planning to make changes to their supply chain operations before 31 December.
Many respondents believe their organisation understands the key requirements for what needs to be done as a third-party country exporting or importing with the EU. However, members commented on feeling increasingly concerned over the lack of clarity that remains as the nation approaches the end of the transition period. Respondents also raised concerns about how imports from Northern Ireland will be handled.
As the UK Government launched the Freeports competitive bidding process towards the end of November DP World and Forth Ports advanced their bid for a Thames Freeport with London Gateway, the Port of Tilbury and Ford’s Dagenham engine plant at its heart.
Backed by the City Corporation of London, Essex Chamber of Commerce, London First, the Port of London Authority, the Thames Estuary Growth Board, Thurrock Council and the South East LEP, a Thames Freeport will, it is reported, drive innovation and transformational productivity gains by growing regional clusters in next generation logistics, automation, clean growth and advanced manufacturing. Vivid Economics is providing economic analysis in support of the bid, it is understood.
With a network of global and European shipping connections, excellent road, rail and river distribution networks, in addition to unrivalled first hand expertise in operating freeports, the Thurrock-based combined port and logistics cluster has the scale to grow the associated aerospace, automotive and many complex manufacturing and processing businesses along the Thames. This was the substance of a media release issued by Forth Ports and DP World.
The joint communiqué advised that a freeport will act as a job creation and high-quality development catalyst in an area of severe deprivation and economic need.
Both London Gateway and Tilbury ports have consented development land that is available for expansion now, with the aim to improve the opportunities for skilled jobs, bringing prosperity to the residents of Thurrock and beyond.
In the words of Alan Shaoul, DP World UK’s Chief Financial Officer: ‘Freeports will be an effective way of underpinning Britain’s economy post-Brexit and post-Covid by further enabling trade with the rest of the world and creating zones which will act as catalysts for commerce, creativity and prosperity.’