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.
At the start of this year’s London International Shipping Week on 9 September Nusrat Ghani, Maritime Minister, on behalf of the UK Government, confirmed that it will enable construction of a new advanced ship for the General Lighthouse Authority, Trinity House, to replace the ageing THV Patricia (illustrated, © Trinity House), built in 1982 by Henry Robb of Leith.
The new vessel, yet to be named, will provide and service aids to navigation in some of the most dangerous waters, marking channels and hazards and taking advantage of the latest technology.
Of this provision Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani, said: ‘Our maritime sector is crucial to UK trade with 95% of our imports and exports transported by sea. With our waters becoming busier all the time, dealing with incidents quickly and efficiently is more important than ever. This new ship will support the General Lighthouse Authority to help future-proof their fleet and continue to support maritime safety and trade for generations to come.’
I understand that an invitation to tender has now been launched for the shipbuilding industry to further develop plans for the new vessel, which will join the existing Trinity House fleet.
Captain Ian McNaught, Trinity House Executive Chairman said: ‘We are pleased to hear that the Maritime Minister is content for us to move the vessel replacement project closer towards the design and build phase.
‘While we must ensure that value for money is central to the design, we will also be looking for new, tested and robust technologies in the vessel design; these technologies will need to offer high performance and resilience and also reduce our environmental impact.’
This investment is the latest move by the government to future-proof the UK’s maritime sector as the gateway to the world, supporting innovation and ensuring competition thrives.
It was announced on 14 October that the Port of Galveston is going green with a number of environmental initiatives, including membership in Green Marine, the leading voluntary environmental programme for North America’s maritime industry.
In the words of Rodger E Rees, port director and CEO: ‘Joining Green Marine will help us identify and implement best practices, manage our environmental initiatives, measure our progress and strive for continuous improvement. Sharing new technologies and best practices with other Green Marine members is another benefit that we’ll tap into.’
Rees added that the port will look for opportunities to integrate new sustainability practices like solar power as it implements its new 20-year strategic master plan. The port is seeking Green Marine certification as a standardized process to benchmark and measure progress in its environmental performance. Our illustration here is reproduced with grateful thanks from www.portofgalveston.com ©
David Bolduc, Green Marine’s executive director, welcomed its newest member. by saying: ‘We’re pleased to welcome the Port of Galveston and applaud them on their plans to seek Green Marine certification to tangibly demonstrate their commitment to greener practices. We hope this inspires other maritime stakeholders to look at what Green Marine has to offer with its step-by-step approach towards achieving greater sustainability.’
On 15 October it was announced jointly from London and Kuala Lumpur that the International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) had issued its report for the third quarter of 2019. This document demonstrates that fewer incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported than in
the first nine months of 2018.
A total of 119 incidents of Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships have been reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) in 2019, compared to 156 incidents for the same period in 2018. Overall, the 2019 incidents include 95 vessels boarded, 10 vessels fired upon, 10 attempted attacks, and four vessels hijacked. The number of crew taken hostage through the first nine months has declined from 112 in 2018 to 49 in 2019.
While the overall number of incidents has dropped, incidents involving guns and knives remain consistent. There have been 24 knife-related and 35 gun-related incidents reported in 2019, compared to 25 and 37 for the first nine months of 2018. These statistics confirm IMB’s concerns over continued threats to the safety and security of seafarers.
Gulf of Guinea
The Gulf of Guinea remains a high risk area for piracy and armed robbery. The region accounts for 86% of crew taken hostage and nearly 82% of crew kidnappings globally.
In July a general cargo vessel was hijacked approximately 120nm SW of Brass. Ten crew members were kidnapped from the vessel and released four weeks later. In August a bulk carrier and a general cargo vessel were boarded within hours of each other at Douala anchorage, Cameroon, and a total of seventeen crew were kidnapped from the vessels. Within six weeks all kidnapped crew were released. This incident demonstrates the range of piracy activity in the Gulf of Guinea and that all types of ships are vulnerable to attack. Lagos recorded 11 incidents in 2019, the highest number for any port.
In the words of said Pottengal Mukundan, Director, ICC IMB: ‘Although incidents are down, the Gulf of Guinea continues to be a concern for piracy and armed robbery-related activities with kidnappings of crew members increasing in both scale and frequency. It is important that shipmasters and owners continue to report all actual, attempted, and suspected incidents to ensure that an accurate picture of these attacks emerge and action is taken against these criminals before the incidents further escalate.’