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Safety


Safety

A port's navigational safety policy underpins the Harbour Master's responsibility for the safety of navigation. The navigational safety policy, which should be approved by the highest level of management within a port, usually a board of directors, is a publicly available document which states what the board holds itself responsible for in respect of the safety of navigation within its area of jurisdiction.

The reputation of a port is dependent on its safety record and efficiency. Any damage to a port’s safety record may impact on its reputation and by extension, its trade.

The Harbour Master plays a key role in the development and implementation of a safety management system which manages the hazards and risks associated with port operations along with any preparations for emergencies. This should be operated effectively and revised periodically.

Some countries provide guidance to their ports on port safety. An example of this is the UK’s Port Marine Safety Code and its accompanying Good Practice Guide can be found here.

Port Safety

Safety Management and Risk Assessment

To achieve a safe port, a Harbour Master must identify the hazards which present in the port and then assess the risks associated with those hazards. The risks must then be managed down to an acceptable level usually identified as the ALARP (as low as reasonably practicable) principle. This is the underlying principle of risk assessment – a practice that will not only lead to a safer port but may also help to reduce insurance premiums, a commercial benefit to the port company. Thorough risk assessments can be used not only in the formulation of better operating procedures but also in the formulation of effective emergency plans.

Port By-laws

Navigational safety and care for the environment are governed by numerous international, national and local laws and regulations. Harbour Masters have to not only obey local by-laws but also enforce them. They may also be authorised to draft by-laws for their own ports. Port by-laws and admission policies set the conditions under which vessels may enter and leave the port and where they berth.

Rotterdam Port by-laws: https://www.portofrotterdam.com/en/files/rotterdam-port-management-bye-laws

Admission to Port

Harbour Masters rely on reliable and accurate information to inform decision-making concerning the entry and departure of commercial shipping. The geographical configurations of the port, prevailing weather conditions, port water depths, and the height and strength of the local tides are some of the factors that a Harbour Master considers. This information and other factors will inform a port's navigational safety policy and at operational level affect the decisions concerning the arrival and departure of shipping. Harbour masters specify their entry requirements in great detail. These include safest approaches to a port, pilot boarding ground and details of advance notifications to be given to the port prior to arrival.  

The arrival of a commercial vessel into a port is always a planned event. Notification of the vessel’s arrival sometimes begins weeks before the actual arrival. The vessel normally gives 72-48-24 hour notices to all the parties concerned and corrects the ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) with every notice so as to be as close to their declared ETA as possible when arriving at a pilot station.

Pilot boarding and communication between the ship, pilot and port authority shipping control office or VTS are critical to the safe arrival of a ship as it proceeds to its intended berth.

Various agencies including the vessel’s designated Agents, the Harbour Master or his representative, the Pilot company, towage company and the stevedores working the vessel are involved with the arrival of a commercial ship into a port.

Points of notification are predesignated positions set by the Harbour Master when the vessel calls Marine Control on a pre-agreed VHF Channel and informs them of the vessel’s actual position. This information warns other vessels in the area of the incoming vessel’s progress and allows the Marine Controller or VTS to alert ancillary services, such as tugs and lines-boats.

Pilotage

The task of the pilot is to advise the ship’s master on passage through the port and its approaches. The pilot brings knowledge of the local maritime conditions and operational practices that have been gained through extensive experience of navigating ships in the restricted waters of the port and its approaches. Use of a pilot is compulsory in many territorial waters.

In most Member States legislation provides the possibility of some form of exemption from pilotage, either in the form of exemptions in the regulations for compulsory pilotage or by issuing Pilotage Exemption Certificates (PEC).

Tugs and Towage

Many ports deal with big ships in confined or restricted areas and in many cases the risk of contact (allision) with port infrastructure and the risk of grounding is managed by the use of tugs. The use of tugs may be compulsory in some ports for some ships and this is one of the decisions the Harbour Master will make when considering safety of navigation. The Harbour Master may also monitor the competence and qualifications of tug personnel and the performance of tug operations.

High-speed craft

High speed craft in port waters may pose potential risks to safe navigation, channel / bank erosion and danger to persons working under or around wharf structures. It may be necessary to manage the speed of high-speed craft in areas of risk. Engagement with high-speed craft associations will ensure that key risk areas are identified and managed appropriately. Use of AIS on commercial high-speed craft will allow monitoring by VTS / Port control.

Mooring Operations

Safe and efficient mooring processes are vital for ports and terminals. A ship breaking loose from its moorings is a hazard to other vessels and to port infrastructure. A drifting vessel may cause serious damage to cranes, cargo manifolds and fenders and injuries to staff ashore and afloat.

Appropriately trained shore-based berthing crews will work with ship crews to bring ropes or wires from the ship ashore and put them on the shore bollards by hand or with the use of winch trucks. This is a specialised activity involving significant safety issues.

IMO FAL.6/CIRC.11/Rev.1 GUIDELINES ON MINIMUM TRAINING AND EDUCATION FOR MOORING PERSONNEL

Lashing

Cargo needs to be lashed safely and effectively.  Lashing gangs may be dockworkers or authorised crew members (for instance on short sea RoRo (Roll-on/Roll-off) ferries). Deck cargo, containers and RoRo trailers on the weather deck are vulnerable because they can be hit by waves in bad weather and need special attention. For example, steel coils and other heavy cargo can shift during rolling and pitching when not properly stowed and lashed. When a ship arrives with a list due to shifted cargo, the harbour master is informed and will send a nautical expert on board to ensure that the ship will enter the port safely before providing a berth.

Latest News & Events

18 June 2024

The International Harbour Masters Association (IHMA) is pleased to announce this year’s award winners, celebrated at the 14th IHMA Congress in May.

The key theme of the 2024 event was The Marine Adventure – Evolving and adapting to change in today’s ports. Tanger Med Port Authority hosted the congress at the Tanger Med Port Center.

Steve Rushbrook never predicted he would become a Harbour Master, let alone in one of the southernmost ports in the world. His career pathway to becoming a Harbour Master for New Zealand’s Otago Regional Council shows what is possible for those with less conventional backgrounds.

Role of Harbour Master/ Port Operations Professional
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Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria
OceanWise Charting Water Workshop

Brought to you by OceanWise and Brewzone Africa - Join the first Charting Water Workshop entitled “Harnessing Environmental Data for Hydrography" which is running on the 15th - 16th April 2024 at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel Lagos, Nigeria.

Bringing hydrography professionals together from all over West Africa, this intimate 2-day workshop will provide you with practical knowledge, guidance and best practice. You will enjoy a mix of presentations, round table discussions and training. Our expert speakers will guide you through the latest developments, technologies and methodologies used in hydrography, helping you understand the importance of accurate marine environmental monitoring data to support marine operations and national infrastructure. We will also have a number of key real-world case studies and local experts in attendance to provide some best practice and recent hands-on experiences.

Full details of the developing programme and registration can be found here on our Eventbrite page

Registration is now open. Spaces are limited so please register now to secure your place.

What will it cover?
This workshop will provide you with practical knowledge, guidance and best practice. You will enjoy a mix of presentations, round table discussions and training. Our expert speakers will guide you through the latest developments, technologies and methodologies used in hydrography, helping you understand the importance of accurate marine environmental monitoring data to support marine operations and national infrastructure.

Who is it for and why should I attend?
This is for professionals with an interest in Hydrography based in, or working in, West Africa.
Ideal for individuals from a variety of industries including Ports, Harbours, Inland Waterways, Oil and Gas, Education, Navy, Maritime Authorities, Research and Development etc etc
It offers a friendly and interactive environment to expand your knowledge, network with fellow professionals and collaborate on real-world case studies.

Gain valuable insights from industry experts, share your experiences, and receive a certification of completion on day two

How do I book?
Visit our Eventbrite page for full details and registration

QE2, Port Rashid, Dubai - Grand Foyer

Harbour Master & Towgae Conference

Hollywood Beach Marriott
Navtech Conference, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Navtech Conference 2023

Attention deep water and ocean towing masters, pilots, fleet management administrators, regulators and navigation operations professionals!

Join us in Fort Lauderdale for the maritime industry’s premier annual navigation forum!

Navtech, 5th and 6th December 2023, Hollywood Beach Marriott, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

  • Learn about developments in navigational best practices, technology and regulation.

  • Engage with the regulatory and manufacturing sectors about your experiences, and your challenges.

  • Get access to the operations sector that actually uses navigation hardware and software.

Tanger Med Port Centre, Morocco
IHMA Congress 2024

Join us on a marine adventure in Morocco. The 14th International Harbour Master Congress will take place at Tanger Med Port Centre from 21-24 May 2024. This year’s theme is The Marine Adventure – Evolving and Adapting to Change in Today’s Ports. You are welcome to come along for three days of presentations, deliberations and discussions covering every step of the port call process. On the fourth day, you can enjoy a guided tour of the Port of Tranger Med. To learn more, or to register for the event, please visit the IHMA Congress Website.

 

INTRODUCING TANGER MED

Tanger Med is the 1st port in Africa and in the Mediterranean.

It’s a global logistics gateway located on the Strait of Gibraltar and connected to more than 180 ports worldwide with handling capacities of: 9 million containers, exports of 1 million new vehicles, transit of 7 million passengers and 700,000 trucks on an annual basis.

CARGOES HANDLED

CONTAINER TRAFFIC: SURPASSING TEH 8 MILLION MARK

In 2023, Tanger Med Port processed 8,617,410 TEUs*, marking a growth of 13.4% compared to 2022. This remarkable achievement, equivalent to 95% of the port's nominal capacity, was accomplished 4 years ahead of targets.

The outstanding performance is attributed to the successful operations of terminals TC1 and TC4, managed by Maersk-APM, and the continuous development of terminal TC3, operated by Tanger Alliance (A joint venture owned by Marsa Maroc with a 50% stake, in partnership with Eurogate holding 40% and Hapag Lloyd holding 10%). Additionally, 2023 witnessed record productivity levels, surpassing monthly peaks of 800,000 TEUs handled.

RO-RO TRAFFIC ON THE RISE
In 2023, 477,993 trucks were processed, representing a 4.1% increase from 2022. Industrial product traffic saw a significant surge of 14.3% compared to the previous year, offsetting a 7.7% decrease in agribusiness product traffic.

INCREASE IN NEW VEHICLE TRAFFIC
The two vehicle terminals in the port complex handled 578,446 vehicles in 2023, reflecting a 21% increase from 2022. This traffic primarily includes 341,758 vehicles for export, produced by Renault factories in Melloussa and SOMACA in Casablanca, along with 176,208 vehicles exported by the Stellantis plant in Kénitra.

RISE IN SOLID AND LIQUID BULK TRAFFIC
Liquid bulk traffic experienced a 6% growth compared to 2022, a total of 9,838,157 tons of handled hydrocarbons. Simultaneously, solid bulk traffic witnessed a 44% increase from the previous year, totalling 581,042 tons processed.

PASSENGER TRAFFIC: RETURN TO NORMAL
In 2023, Tanger Med Port Complex welcomed 2,700,747 passengers, marking a 30% growth from 2022. This traffic has returned to pre-COVID-19 crisis levels.

GLOBAL TONNAGE: SUBSTANTIAL GROWTH
Tanger Med Port Complex handled 122 million tons of goods in 2023, reflecting a 13.6% increase from 2022, with 21% in Import/Export. This recorded global traffic is highest at the Strait of Gibraltar and across the Mediterranean. This traffic also represents more than half of the total tonnage handled by all ports in Morocco.

MARITIME TRAFFIC ON THE RISE
In 2023, a total of 16,900 ships called at Tanger Med Port Complex, marking a 17% growth from 2022, including 1,113 mega-ships (over 290 meters), representing a 16% increase from the previous year.

These results underscore the relevance of the vision of His Majesty King Mohammed VI for this strategic project.
Tanger Med remains firmly focused on the future, ready to face new challenges and strengthen its position as a major logistics hub in Morocco and the Euro-Mediterranean region.

Crown Towers, Perth, Australia
AMPI

For 25 years AMPI has been recognised as the professional body for developing, setting and leading in the evolution of industry standards, safety management protocols and advising regulatory bodies on matters related to Marine Pilotage.

As a globally recognised organisation and partner of the International Maritime Pilots Association (IMPA), we directly contribute to the work of the International Maritime Organisation. With over 260 active pilot members, we have the experience and know-how to develop widely recognised industry guidelines including initial and continual pilotage training standards. AMPI continues to influence the development of world-leading practice and in doing so brings a higher level of safety to the ports and regions where our members operate.

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Latest News & Events

IHMA Congress Award Winners 2024 IHMA announces 2024 Congress award winners

18 June 2024

The International Harbour Masters Association (IHMA) is pleased to announce this year’s award winners,… FIND OUT MORE

Steve Rushbrook Harbour Master New Zealand Empowered for development

Steve Rushbrook never predicted he would become a Harbour Master, let alone in one of the southernmost ports in the world. His career pathway to becoming a Harbour Master for New Zealand’s Otago… FIND OUT MORE

Latest News & Events

18 June 2024

The International Harbour Masters Association (IHMA) is pleased to announce this year’s award winners, celebrated at the 14th IHMA Congress in May.

The key theme of the 2024 event was The Marine Adventure – Evolving and adapting to change in today’s ports. Tanger Med Port Authority hosted the congress at the Tanger Med Port Center.

Steve Rushbrook never predicted he would become a Harbour Master, let alone in one of the southernmost ports in the world. His career pathway to becoming a Harbour Master for New Zealand’s Otago Regional Council shows what is possible for those with less conventional backgrounds.