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.
The Council of the IMO (see illustration here kindly provided by IMO © ) condemned recent attacks on commercial shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and Sea of Oman at its meeting in London held from 15-19 July.
After debate, the IMO Council decided to condemn the attacks and expressed its concern over the grave danger to life and the serious risks to navigational safety and the environment to which such incidents may give rise. The Council also emphasised the need for flag States and ship owners and operators to review the maritime security plans for their ships and implement necessary measures to address the heighted security risk to ships operating in the Strait of Hormuz and Sea of Oman.
Addressing the IMO Council, Secretary-General Kitack Lim also emphasised his personal condemnation of the attacks, asserting that: ‘…threats to ships and their crews, peaceably going about their business in any part of the world, are intolerable.’
On 12 May 2019, Saudi Arabian-flagged vessels Amjad and Al Marzoqah, the Norwegian-flagged vessel Andrea Victory and the Emirati-flagged vessel A. Michel, were attacked off the coast near Fujairah and suffered sabotage damage, and on 13 June 2019, the Marshall Islands flag Front Altair and Panama flag Kokuka Courageous were attacked, suffering hull damage and fire, while located in the Sea of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz.
The IMO Council decision recognizes the strategic importance of the navigational routes in and near the Strait of Hormuz, and reminds all flag States, ship owners and operators of the need to implement appropriate security measures for their ships at all times, in the light of the recent attacks in and near the Strait of Hormuz.
Mr Lim added: ‘I strongly urge all Member States to redouble their efforts and to work together to find a long lasting solution to ensure the safety and security of international shipping around the globe and the protection of the marine environment. We owe it to our industry, which is indispensable to the world, and to our seafarers.’
IMO’s mandatory maritime security measures, contained in the International Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, require ship owners and operators to implement appropriate measures to address security risks corresponding to a variety of operational factors, such as the ship’s location and destination.
The IMO Council was meeting for its 122nd session at IMO HQ in London. The statement on heightened maritime security measures for ships operating in the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman is included in its summary of decisions.
The IMO Council, the Executive Organ of IMO, consists of 40 Member States elected by the IMO Assembly.
Coronavirus: Let’s keep ships moving, ports open and cross-border trade flowing
Statement on 25 March by UNCTAD Secretary-General, Dr Mukhisa Kituyi
Note: There is a series of related links to be found at the foot of this article*
‘As the world battles the coronavirus pandemic, the global maritime transport industry is playing a critical role in the response.
‘A call by the industry to all governments to keep maritime trade moving by allowing commercial ships continued access to ports worldwide and by facilitating the rapid changeover of ships’ crews should not go unheeded.
‘Around 80% of global trade is transported by commercial shipping, which moves the world’s food, energy and raw materials, as well as manufactured goods and components, according to UNCTAD statistics.
‘This includes vital medical supplies, which are sorely needed at this time, and items that are necessary for the preservation of many jobs in manufacturing – without which modern society cannot function.
Trinity House has been closely monitoring the developments of the impact of COVID-19 and has followed advice provided by HM Government.
With regard to its function as the General Lighthouse Authority (GLA) for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar, the Trinity House priority is to keep staff safe while delivering its statutory functions.
The three GLAs of the UK and Ireland* are deemed essential services vital for the safety of marine navigation and the continuous flow of food, fuel, medical and hygiene supplies, along with the many other commodities upon which the nation depends daily.
In accordance with Government advice a significant majority of Trinity House personnel are now working from home where possible, but some staff are required to attend their normal workplace because of the essential nature of their work.