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.
In mid-February IALA reported that the latest edition of the IALA VTS Manual is now available. This is the seventh edition of a publication first issued in 1993.
The purpose of this publication is to assist Contracting Governments, Competent Authorities and VTS Authorities in the harmonizing the delivery of Vessel Traffic Services worldwide by providing a comprehensive overview on all aspects relating to the provision of VTS.
In particular, the Manual provides guidance on:
The Manual is also aimed at a wide readership to encompass all who are in any way involved with the policy for provision, operation and effectiveness of VTS, including those with management responsibility at national level and those who deliver services to the mariner.
The VTS Manual is intended to complement IALA documentation relating to VTS.
It is not intended to replicate the information and guidance in these documents or be prescriptive about the practices described within them. Rather, it provides a roadmap to assist authorities meet their obligations for the establishment and operation of VTS in a consistent manner.
Key IALA documentation associated with this Manual may be found on the IALA web site here: www.iala-aism.org
The Manual is a product of collaboration by the world’s leading experts through the (IALA) VTS Committee, which has the primary oversight for its compilation and editing.
‘The membership represents most of the world’s leading national maritime authorities whose delegates are widely experienced VTS professionals. The VTS Committee is also supported through participation from relevant international sister organizations. This ensures that the Committee is able to speak with international authority on VTS matters and, importantly, to develop new procedures to meet the emerging needs for modern traffic management and to enhance maritime safety.’
Note: It is recognised that the review of IMO Resolution A.857(20) is currently underway by the IMO and IALA will be updating this manual subject to the new Resolution coming into effect.
The bulk carrier Eaubonne (former name GH Storm Cat) is now (4 May) under quarantine in Durban harbour. On the same day that the South African government issued a statement saying that the ports were on high alert for the Indian variant of the Coronavirus (B.1.617) that has emerged in devastating numbers in India, it was learnt that a ship that arrived on Sunday night, 2 May, has been placed under quarantine after the discovery that a crew member had died en route. Another 14 crew have since been taken for testing for Covid-19.
‘All our ports of entry employ stringent containment procedures to minimise the importation of COVID-19,’ said Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize in the statement issued on 4 May 2021.
The ship Eaubonne (IMO 9663104), sailed from the port of Kandla in India on 18 April on a 14-day voyage to Durban, where she arrived off port on 1 May, prior to entering port and berthing at Maydon Wharf 2 on 2 May at 2000.
During the voyage one of the crew members passed away and authorities in Durban were advised that he died of a heart attack.
The ship was carrying a cargo of 6,250 tons of rice to be discharged in Durban.
However, on 4 May dock workers and others working on the ship were told to stop all operations and that the vessel was under quarantine. Fourteen of the crew were taken for COVID-19 testing but the real worry is that a large number of dockworkers had already been exposed to the crew.
The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) welcomes the adoption of the own-initiative (INI) report of TRAN-Committee Chair, Karima Delli*, on technical and operational measures for more efficient and cleaner maritime transport by the European Parliament. This was reported on 28 April.
It is understood that the report was adopted with 453 votes in favour, 92 against, and 154 abstentions.
The final text adopted in the European Parliament plenary contains many of the key strong points which are supported by ESPO: