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 28 July the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) reported that Hay Point Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) Operator Warren Bath had been recognised by the inaugural VTS award for his coordination of an incident involving a bulk carrier. Queensland’s Hay Point is one of the largest coal export ports in the world, see: www.nqbp.com.au
VTSO Bath was nominated for the award after coordinating the response action of allied services including tugs, port pilots and helicopter operators when reports came through of a bulk carrier drifting 20 metres off the berth at 0100 on 21 April 2019.
Within ten minutes of receiving the call, the ship had turned 90 degrees to the berth and was in danger of being damaged, and causing damage to its surroundings.
Mr Bath’s quick response ensured the vessel was brought back alongside within three and a half hours with no damage to the bulk carrier, to other ships berthed at the port or to the offshore terminal infrastructure. No pollution event arose.
Two other nominations highly commended
Port Hedland VTS was commended for the successful response after receiving a call from the ore carrier Cape Reliance reporting people clinging to a drifting upturned boat. Strong currents were rapidly pushing the capsized boat and the desperate men further out to sea. Port Hedland is the world’s largest bulk export port, with exports including iron ore, lithium and salt. See: https://www.pilbaraports.com.au/ports/port-of-port-hedland
The VTS coordinated police and marine rescue crews, including a pilot boat and marine pilot transfer helicopter from the port, to assist with the search and rescue.
Four people were rescued from the water within two hours of the initial report, after spending nearly seven hours in the water.
Todd Stewart and Ricky Blake from Brisbane VTS received commendations for coordinating local vessels to assist in the search for a sinking recreational craft off Caloundra Headland in the middle of the night on 9 June 2019. They called on ships anchored in the vicinity of a search mission to help widen the search area.
Brisbane VTS chart is shown here: https://www.publications.qld.gov.au/dataset/0b23b6c7-713a-474b-bfc4-b1520c947d3e/resource/fe982eb9-5ab3-439c-bfe7-57c01b959c25/fs_download/brisbane_ppm_master_august_2019-sec-15.1.2.pdf
Incredibly, the master of a tanker in the area radioed VTS and reported seeing people in the water south of the ship in the morning light. Mr Stewart and Mr Blake relayed this information to Queensland Water Police resulting in the rescue of two adults and a child.
Recognising outstanding contributions
The Australian VTS Award was launched in December 2019 to recognise an outstanding contribution by a VTS to the safety of life at sea, safety and efficiency of navigation and protection of the marine environment which is beyond their normal operational scope.
VTSs provide for the safe and efficient movement of ships and help prevent dangerous traffic situations. These awards provide national recognition to those involved in vessel traffic services in Australia while also raising the profile of the 15 VTSs across Australia that manage traffic in ports and surrounding waterways.
The award also recognises VTS personnel and the important services they provide among stakeholders and wider industry.
Nominations open for the 2020-2021 Australian VTS Award on 1 October
DFDS’s newest ro-ro vessel, Humbria Seaways, commissioned in February this year, berthed at North Sea Port in mid-September. Her first port visit here was to the Mercatordok terminal in Ghent which handles high volumes of transhipment cargo.
Between Gothenburg in Sweden and North Sea Port this service is one of the most important on the North Sea for DFDS. Conversely, DFDS is a top customer for North Sea Port. With five calls each week, the Danish shipping and logistics group is one of the port’s most frequent users. DFDS’s blue and white ships have been a familiar sight on the Western Scheldt, in the lock at Terneuzen, on the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal and at Mercatordok for many years.
DFDS was particularly busy this month at the Mercatordok terminal in Ghent. In the words of Alain De Brauwer, Route Operations Manager for DFDS Seaways in Belgium: ‘We always have a lot of cargo ready for shipment and we receive large volumes from Sweden. So when a bigger ship calls, it always comes in handy.’
Humbria Seaways was briefly available to ship some extra cargo. The ship had just come out of dry dock and made a quick crossing from Gothenburg to Ghent and back before switching to another one of the shipping company’s routes. As always, there was a tight schedule.
Humbria Seaways is one of the newest Mega Ro-Ros built for DFDS in China. Vessels in this class are 237 metres loa and 33 metres wide notable for their unusually large cargo capacity with up to 6,700 line metres of cargo.
Trinity House has appointed a new Director of Navigational Requirements following the retirement of Captain Roger Barker MNM FNI on 13 September 2020.
Roger joined Trinity House in July 2005 as Navigation (Examiner) Manager after a career in commercial shipping, a subject that he remains passionate about. He was promoted to Director of Navigational Requirements (DNR) in May 2009 and was sworn in as an Elder Brother of Trinity House at the same time.
As DNR he took on a wide range of duties and responsibilities in the service of the mariner. While governing Trinity House through both the Lighthouse Board and the Corporate Board, he also sat on the Executive Committee and the Examiners’ Committee; any major decision made by Trinity House in the last decade will have benefitted from Roger’s enthusiastic and sage input.
Roger is also a keen advocate and adopter of technology, and this was readily apparent in his assessment of potential hazards to navigation such as shipwrecks and other new dangers at sea, liaising with Trinity House’s Planning Centre at all hours and consulting hydrographic surveys and charts overlaid with marine traffic analysis on his ever-present tablet.
Among other things, he also played a major part at IALA, being a leading voice on the Aids to Navigation Requirements and Management Committee, as well as being a frequent liaison with various maritime partners such as the UKHO and the MCA; he was also a Board member for the Trinity House Maritime Charity and Seafarers UK, these latter roles reflecting a lifelong passion for the wellbeing and education of mariners.
Roger will continue to be an important part of Trinity House despite retiring from his role as DNR. He will become the Nether Warden and will retain the role of Director of Deep Sea Pilotage for the next two years.
In November 2016, Roger was awarded the Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service for services to the Merchant Navy; the medal was presented by HRH The Princess Royal at a ceremony in Trinity House.