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 7 April the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) reported that multipurpose coastguard support via a remotely piloted surveillance system (RPAS) services had been provided at the request of the Romanian Border Police.
(See illustrations here from EMSA / Romanian authorities ©)
The RPAS system will support a number of authorities in Black Sea waters including the Romanian Naval Authority and National Agency for Fishing and Aquaculture.
It is understood that the mid-sized RPAS craft can stay in the air for up to seven hours and has a range of up to 200km. It is equipped with a camera capable of day and night operations, a sea surface scanner, a distress beacon detector and a sensor that can detect vessel positions. It can be used for a range of activities, including border control, monitoring naval traffic, search and rescue, and environmental protection. Data from the RPAS can be recorded and transferred to the EMSA RPAS data centre in real time, and then made immediately available to national authorities.
EMSA reported that the service has been allocated for six months, and will also contribute to specific missions conducted by the Romanian Border Police within the Multipurpose Maritime Operation 2021 in the Black Sea, in coordination with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), EMSA and the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA).
RPAS integration was carried out in cooperation with the Romanian Air Force and the Romanian Air Traffic Control Service (ROMATSA), which provided specialised support.
We have been informed that later this year EMSA will add a second RPAS to the region (a light quadcopter), which will operate from the Romanian patrol vessel Stefan Cel Mare.
RPAS services, offered free to all EU Member States by EMSA, have been developed to assist in maritime surveillance operations, in support of authorities involved in coastguard functions, and can operate in all seas surrounding the European Union. RPAS services can provide support to traditional coastguard functions, including search and rescue, maritime surveillance and pollution prevention and response. The Black Sea service is an important part of EMSA’s regional RPAS strategy, which allows multiple coast guard functions in EU Member States to be supported by one or more RPAS services. Further expansion of RPAS regionally is planned in 2021 and 2022.
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) is a decentralised agency of the EU, based in Lisbon, Portugal. EMSA serves the EU’s maritime interests for a safe, secure, green and competitive maritime sector through support for pollution prevention and response, maritime surveillance, safety and security, digitalisation and the provision of integrated maritime services, and technical assistance.
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: