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.
An independent review of the risks to shipping within the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) was published on 2 September by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
This report was initiated from a recommendation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch to assess the risk to and from shipping in the Dover Strait, following their report into a shipping incident in November 2016.
While that incident was localised, the scope of the recommendation was expanded to include the entire EEZ in order to provide the MCA with a broad comprehension of risk within its waters. Integral to the report’s development was a series of consultation events with key stakeholders across the UK which took place last summer.
The report is being used as part of an ongoing assessment for the future provision of Emergency Towing Vessels (ETVs), whose role is to intercept ships which have become disabled before they ground or collide with other ship traffic. The ETV would secure a tow and take the casualty to a place of safety. While an ETV cannot always prevent an incident from occurring, risk assessments show that its presence mitigates some of the risk.
The UK’s current emergency towage provision, in addition to commercial tugs that are potentially available but subject to the spot market, is the Ievoli Black. This ocean-going tug has been operating off northern and north western Scotland and the Scottish Isles since 2016. It is contracted by the MCA until the end of 2021.
Recommendations from the report have been based on factors such as:
The study captured the entirety of the UK EEZ but also focussed on seven key shipping and/or environmentally sensitive geographical areas.
The MCA is now engaging with ministers to assess the implications of the report’s recommendations.
Russel Freeman from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency commented: ‘There are no quick answers with this. The independent report makes it clear that there isn’t a definitive cost benefit to employing ETVs but because prevention is better than dealing with the result of an incident, there is an argument that says we do need them.
‘It is still the fact that the Government believes the responsibility for the cost of shipping should be borne by the industry and not the taxpayer. However, we also recognise the waters around north and north-west Scotland are a special case because of their significant environmental sensitivity and their contribution to both the Scottish and UK economy.’
‘We are looking at the report and its recommendations, particularly in the light of the comments around provision in the South West Approaches, but taking account of the relative priority in the context of the current spending environment.’
The report can be seen here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-eez-shipping-risks-and-emergency-towage-provision-study
More than 50 leaders from the financial, public and private sectors participated in the first Financing Sustainable Maritime Transport (FIN-SMART) Roundtable on 27 October. The high level virtual Roundtable (pictured here) was hosted by the IMO, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank Group. We are grateful for a valuable briefing on this topic.
The FIN-SMART Roundtable is a platform for regular dialogue among key maritime stakeholders on addressing the financial challenges related to the transition of shipping to a more sustainable and resilient future. The Roundtable aims to support accelerating financial flows – particularly in developing countries – for the decarbonisation of the maritime sector, in line with country priorities and the goals of the IMO Initial Strategy* on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships. Participants will also address the sector’s COVID-19 recovery needs.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim highlighted the importance of maritime transport in the global economy as an engine of growth and a driver of social development. He called for strong support to accelerate finance for sustainable maritime transport, in particular in decarbonisation and sustainable recovery post COVID-19.
He said: These will be only possible with targeted investment and strategic partnerships, particularly addressing special needs of developing countries, LDCs and SIDS.’ (The full speech is to be found here: https://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/SecretaryGeneral/Pages/FIN-SMART-roundtable-launch.aspx )
This statement was conveyed in an IMO Media briefing of 23 October
Draft new mandatory measures to cut the carbon intensity of existing ships have been agreed by an IMO working group. This marks a major step forward, building on current mandatory energy efficiency requirements to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping.
It is understood that the proposed amendments to the MARPOL convention would require ships to combine a technical and an operational approach to reduce their carbon intensity.
This is in line with the ambition of the Initial IMO GHG Strategy, which aims to reduce carbon intensity of international shipping by 40% by 2030, compared to 2008. The amendments were developed by the seventh session of the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships (ISWG-GHG 7), held as a remote meeting from 19-23 October 2020.
Submission to MEPC
The draft amendments will be forwarded to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 75), to be held in remote session from 16-20 November. The MEPC is the decision-making body. If approved, the draft amendments could then be put forward for adoption at the subsequent MEPC 76 session, to be held during 2021.
The ISWG-GHG 7 also discussed the next steps in assessing the possible impacts on States of the proposed combined measure. This group agreed the proposed terms of reference for assessing the possible impacts on States, paying particular attention to the needs of developing countries, in particular Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and least developed countries (LDCs).