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 mass rescue operation – indeed, any incident beyond everyday capability – is a challenge for any State and any SAR organisation; but this is particularly so for small States and organisations, whose planning and response capabilities are naturally limited. A cruise ship accident in the Caribbean, for example, where many such ships trade, is a very rare event, but still a possible one. Rarity is part of the problem.
Thus the scene is set by the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF see: www.international-maritime-rescue.org ).
This then begs a question
How do you prepare for such huge, once-in-a-career challenges?
In the UK IMRF Member the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), an executive agency of the UK Government, takes this question very seriously.
The UK has a number of Overseas Territories* most of which are very small but all have responsibilities under international law to prepare for SAR response. Here the MCA organised an Overseas Territories Search and Rescue (OTSAR) Capability Project with, it is understood, the purpose of reviewing and improving existing search and rescue capabilities within and across the Caribbean and South Atlantic Overseas Territories.
As a part of the project the MCA and their UK Overseas Territories partners have considered the necessary preparations to handle mass rescues.
In late January representatives of the Caribbean territories – the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Anguilla, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands – met with MCA staff in Miami to discuss mass rescue operations.
At IMRF’s the Mass Rescue Operations manager, David Jardine-Smith, was among the outside experts invited to address the meeting. He introduced participants to the IMRF’s online library of information on mass rescue operations, to be found at: www.imrfmro.org and invited them to use this information to help them learn from others’ experience of these very challenging events.
Among the OTSAR Project’s overall objectives are the following – which the IMRF supports as important to SAR development anywhere in the world:
The January mass rescue event in Miami was due to be followed by another meeting at which the participants aimed to test their planning in tabletop exercises. These were due to conducted with the assistance of United States Coast Guard and French experts from the region as well as the MCA team.
It is understood that the IMRF has invited the OTSAR Project’s Operational Lead, Philipp Bostock, and representatives of the territories concerned to attend the World Maritime Rescue Congress in Vancouver in June and share their experiences of this valuable SAR development project.
Details of the Vancouver Congress are to be found here: www.wmrc2019.com
*The UK Overseas Territories are: Anguilla; Bermuda; British Antarctic Territory; British Indian Ocean Territory; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Falkland Islands; Gibraltar; Montserrat; Pitcairn Islands; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Turks and Caicos Islands.
It was reported on 19 September that ABB will install the Port of Incheon’s first shore-to-ship power facility, enabling passenger vessels to cut emissions, noise and vibrations at the berth
ABB has secured the contract covering the Republic of Korea’s commitment to sustainable shore-to-ship power, after a pilot scheme for passenger ships to plug into the local grid received approval from Incheon Port Authority (IPA). (Our attached illustration is reproduced by kind permission of the Port of Incheon ©)
Juha Koskela, Managing Director, ABB Marine & Ports commented: ‘As the first agreement covering shore-to-ship power in South Korea, this is a truly significant breakthrough for ABB. We are honoured to be selected by IPA to support their efforts in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships, as well as moving towards increasingly sustainable port operations.’
In addition to a new $160 million ferry terminal opened in April 2019, the Port of Incheon inaugurated South Korea’s largest cruise terminal in June this year. Given its metropolitan location and IPA’s ambitions to develop its ‘Golden Harbor’ vision for Incheon as a new tourism hub for the Northeast Asia, environmental credentials rank highly in port priorities, it is reported.
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.’