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.
A Message from the President regading COVID-19
It is in times of crisis a level head must always prevail.
‘Many of you will recall your time in command or piloting when the old adage was never run from one bridge wing to another; always walk calmly give the appearance you are in control.
‘Our position as harbourmaster is responsible for the safety of the port and the community but is also charged with the responsibility to look after the welfare of seafarers trading to our ports and ensuring the safe and efficient movement of trade through our ports.
‘As indicated in the address of the Secretary General of IMO it is now more than ever that global trade is vital for the safety and welfare of our global communities.
‘Each of us works closely with our public health authorities to manage the potential risk and spread of the COVID-19 virus but it is vital now that you are the voice of reason and pragmatic solutions to assist governments to make an informed decision.
‘We like IAPH and ICS understand and support the need for trade to continue and we as Harbourmasters understand the need to keep our communities safe. Both can be achieved through rationale minds working to manage risk with all their stakeholders.
‘Consider all risk and human rights of all persons including our seafarers.
‘Stay safe and be the voice of reason.'
IHMA Congress postponement
As readers will be aware the IHMA Congress, scheduled for Hobart on 23-26 March, has now been postponed to 5-9 October 2020 at the same venue.
At IHMA the staff of the secretariat took into consideration all available information, weighed all possible options and came to the difficult decision to reschedule the IHMA Congress.
Venue for the 2020 Congress remains Hobart’s Grand Chancellor Hotel.
Seafarers UK is a charity that has been helping those in the maritime community for over 100 years, by providing vital support to seafarers in need and their families.
This aid has been achieved by grants to organisations and projects across the Merchant Navy, the Fishing Fleets, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.
In 2019 Seafarers UK awarded 53 grants totalling £2.2m to 43 maritime welfare charities.
On 3 April Seafarers UK made an open appeal on the world wide web to draw attention to the unprecedented times when the effects of COVID-19 are being felt all over the world with the seafaring community being no exception.
As an island nation, the UK is particularly dependent on its seafarers to keep the UK supplied with food, medicine, fuel and other essential supplies. As such, the Government has acknowledged the importance of those who work in the supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic and has officially designated seafarers as key workers.
As the world fights the Coronavirus pandemic seafarers are silently playing a vital role in keeping the nation afloat, under extremely challenging and unpredictable conditions.
On 2 April cruise ships Zaandam and Rotterdam disembarked more than 1,200 passengers in Port Everglades, Florida. These developments, combined with one remaining disembarkation being coordinated, represents the processing of more than 120 vessels in the last three weeks to remove 250,000 passengers from cruise ships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was reported by USCG HQ Media service from Washington.
US Coast Guard, under guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and working with Department of Homeland Security partners Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), as well as state and local entities from multiple port jurisdictions, facilitated the safe landing, screening, quarantine and repatriation of these passengers in a manner that has prevented further spread of the COVID-19 virus. Many passengers were brought to safe harbour in the United States when international ports refused entry.