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.
From 23-25 October the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the IMO held the first joint Symposium on Extreme Maritime Weather. The theme was: Towards Safety of Life at Sea and a Sustainable Blue Economy.
This event at IMO HQ in London brought together about 200 stakeholders from shipping (including freight, passenger ferries, cruise liners), offshore industry, ports and harbours, coast guards, insurance providers and the met-ocean community – both public and private).
To improve services
It provided a key platform for WMO to identify best practices and improve services for safety and risk reduction, emergency response, sustainable shipping practices and greater collection and sharing of ship observations.
Nusrat Ghani, UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department of Transport (otherwise known as the Maritime Minister) stressed the need for met-ocean and shipping communities to build dialogue on global solutions in shipping and maritime transport, especially in the changing climate.
In an opening video address, Peter Thomson, UN Special Envoy for the Ocean, hailed the symposium as timely. He said: ‘With the great majority of world trade carried by ships, the value of the historical loss of cargo due to extreme weather conditions is simply vast. Most of these tragedies could have been avoided if better information, communication and preparedness measures had been available at the time. The good news is that ocean information services are being continually developed, including early warnings and improved predictions.’
The blue economy is estimated at US$ 3-6 trillion/year, accounting for 70% of world trade, which provides livelihoods for over 6 billion people.
Accuracy and timeliness of weather forecasting over recent decades has improved, however, millions of dollars in goods and thousands of lives are still lost at sea each year due to extreme weather conditions such as high winds, large waves, fog, thunderstorms, sea ice, freezing spray and volcanic ash.
In the words of Symposium Chair, Tom Cuff, of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: ‘We must apply the gains we’ve made in science, observing, computing, and communications to bring relevant 21st century services to the maritime community. We must develop a stronger partnership with this community to improve safety of life and property at sea.’
In addition to science, participation of local mariner and coastal communities is also important, especially, in polar regions where communication bandwidth is restricted. John Parker, Environment and Climate Change Canada said: ‘Canadian Inuit communities play a critical role in the development of future weather and sea-ice products for the Arctic. By working together, we are currently examining how Inuit weather and sea-ice forecasting knowledge combined with western monitoring and modelling techniques could lead to better Arctic forecasts to meet local decision-making needs’.
Improvements in skill needed
Forecasts need more observations to improve their skill. Peter Hinchliffe (Chair of the Nautical Institute Executive Board and former Secretary General International Chamber of Shipping) emphasised that ‘only 2500 ships voluntarily provide met data. Out of a total of around 80,000 ships in international trade this is a shockingly small number and efforts must be made to increase the contribution of this vital data to improve forecasting and weather warnings’. More weather data collected by ships at sea will improve forecasts, helping the maritime industry as well as the public.
Developing country situations were addressed and it is apparent that improved end-user understanding is needed. Nelly Florida Riama of Indonesia's BMKG* added: ‘We need to understand that different users have different requirements and understanding - this is especially challenging in island countries where, for example, local fishing communities may not understand the technical terms that we use in the forecasts, which has led to misinterpretation’.
Ultimately, the Symposium has shone a spotlight on the urgent need to close the gap between the met-ocean providers and users of this information in the maritime industry. Nick Cutmore, Secretary General of the International Maritime Pilots’ Association (IMPA) reflected: ‘There’s a need for a greater understanding and awareness of the benefits that met-ocean data can provide to the mariner on a day-to-day basis. Similarly, the met-ocean community needs greater awareness of the kinds of decisions that mariners must make.’
Highlighting global examples of extreme maritime weather, broad discussion also included views of insurance, investigation and indemnity with ocean forecasting to improve decision making by maritime sectors, digital delivery of maritime safety information, decision support in polar regions from short to longer term seasonal time scales, voyage route optimization, decision support for the offshore industry, and search and rescue.
Other key areas identified that need urgent attention are:
*Badan Meteorologi Klimatologi dan Geofiska, the Indonesian non-departmental government agency for meteorology, climatology, and geophysics.
Longitude, an LOC Group Company, announce on 22 January that it has been awarded the contract for the Trinity House Vessel Replacement Project Technical Specialist.
This agreement will, it is understood, see Longitude work on the requirements definition and tender specification for the Trinity House new aids to navigation service vessel. Support will then continue through the procurement and build phases of the contract, with the end goal of delivering a vessel to replace THV Patricia commissioned in 1982.
Longitude will provide a conceptual design of the vessel to Trinity House, to facilitate a thorough analysis of the vessel’s requirements, and look into incorporating new technologies, including hybrid systems. Once the design phase is complete, Longitude will work alongside the chosen shipyard to ensure that the design and build phases are successfully executed and that the end product is in accordance with Trinity House requirements.
Work is well advanced with our Congress two months away.
For the first time we have held a Young Maritime Professionals’ Innovation Pitching Competition and we introduce here below the six finalists with their names, positions, organisations and Linkedin profiles
The competition is sponsored by Svitzer
An Automated Future
Business Excellence Officer, Associated British Ports
Senior Advisor Nautical & Hydrography
Australian Maritime Safety Authority
Risk Management & Modelling for MASS
Marine Pilot – Newcastle, Port Authority of New South Wales
Integration of Existing Quayside Equipment into the Automated Port
Project Engineer, Fendercare Marine
Port Integrated Intelligence
Marine Operations Officer Apprentice
Port Marine Operations Officer, Associated British Ports