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.
Deputy Master Captain Ian McNaught describes the impact made by COVID-19 on the safety and charity operations of Trinity House and the work being done to move forward
Working to keep seafarers safe and supported
‘Following the recent revision to the Government’s lockdown restrictions, we at Trinity House are looking closely at how we can manage a safe return to full operational capacity as both a General Lighthouse Authority and a major maritime charity.
‘First and foremost—given that our statutory work as a General Lighthouse Authority and the objectives of the Trinity House Maritime Charity are all being delivered to a high standard—we are confident that we can take the time to get this right and do it properly.
‘Our people’s safety—both at sea and on shore—is our priority; we will continue to focus on delivering our various responsibilities and make our return to offices and depots when it is safe and appropriate, with all safety measures fully in place. As an organisation we have adapted quickly and deftly to remote working, making extensive use of technology to enhance collaboration and communication across shore teams and vessel crews.
‘While their core duties have resumed throughout the lockdown, our vessels and Buoy Yard teams are ready to pick up the backlog of buoy inspections and maintenance and our Field Operations teams will be getting out there to resume technical inspections and painting; we are proud to say that availability of our aids to navigation has been kept to the incredibly high standard demanded of all lighthouse authorities.
‘Likewise, our schedule for inspecting over 11,000 local aids to navigation has been slowed but will now return to its normal pace and we are making tentative arrangements—pending further Government guidance—to carry out our annual inspection committee.
The Maritime Charity
‘The work of the Maritime Charity has been no less busy and meaningful; the team works diligently—and in near-constant collaboration with partner charities—to meet the growing welfare need in the maritime community, to ensure the welfare and safety of mariners and their dependants.
‘Emergency response grants have been given to the Fishermen’s Mission, the Sailors’ Children’s Society and the Mission to Seafarers, among others, and the team has been meeting regularly with other funding partners and frontline charities to stay abreast of the emerging challenges.
‘To reiterate my comments from an earlier statement, I want to thank everyone at Trinity House, and their families too, for adapting so capably and completely to the demands placed upon them by the extraordinary circumstances presented by COVID-19.
‘My gratitude extends to maritime sector workers everywhere, including our colleagues at our sister lighthouse authorities the Northern Lighthouse Board and Irish Lights and our partner maritime charities. They have all demonstrated time and again that they are worthy of the ‘key worker’ plaudits—whether at sea or on shore—and our continuing recognition, applause and support.’
Captain Ian McNaught
Deputy Master, Trinity House.
Illustration: https://www.trinityhouse.co.uk/galleries/lightvessels ©.
On 11 August the IMO reported that it had joined international efforts to assist the Government of Mauritius, following an oil leak from the bulk carrier mv Wakashio, which ran aground on 25 July off Pointe d’Esny natural area, south-eastern coast of Mauritius.
IMO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)/United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Joint Environment Unit have jointly deployed an oil spill response expert. Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and border closures in Mauritius, the expert was (on 11 August) awaiting onward travel via specially chartered UN flight from Nairobi, following COVID tests.
Approximately 3,894 tonnes of low-sulphur fuel oil, 207 tonnes of diesel and 90 tonnes of lubricant oil were on board the Wakashio. An amount of oil leaked following severe weather.
It is understood that the affected area is located in a very sensitive zone that includes the Blue Bay Marine Park, Iles aux Aigrettes, and the Ramsar sites.
At the time of writing (11 August) satellite mapping support was being sought from UNOSAT, to provide an indication of the extent of the spill and to inform the response effort.
A new Just In Time Arrival Guide which aims to provide both port and shipping sectors with practical guidance on how to facilitate Just In Time Arrivals has been released. This was reported by IMO on 11 August.
To download the Guide readers are invited to see IMO web link here: http://www.imo.org/en/OurWork/PartnershipsProjects/Documents/GIA-just-in-time-hires.pdf
This Guide has been developed by the Global Industry Alliance to support low carbon shipping (Low Carbon GIA), based on research and discussion amongst its membership, and the Guide documents the findings of a series of industry roundtables which brought together nearly 50 companies and organizations who are key stakeholders in the port call process.