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.
On 11 February the PAC published as evidence a National Audit Office memorandum titled:
The award of contracts for additional freight capacity on ferry services
The document is available here: www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/public-accounts/Correspondence/2017-19/Memorandum%20for%20PAC%20-%20The%20award%20of%20contracts%20for%20ferry%20services.pdf
PAC Chair Meg Hillier MP commented: ‘The scrapping of the Seaborne contract, and the NAO review we have published today, raise serious issues which we will explore at our session on progress with Brexit preparations on Wednesday (13 February).
‘The Department for Transport waited until September 2018 to start thinking about the risks to freight transport across these important routes and entered into a £13.8m contract with Seaborne Freight despite it being a new operation, owning no ferries, and not having binding contracts to use the specified ports.
‘We will be pressing the Department for answers on how it awarded its three new ferry contracts, what it is doing to manage risks and exactly what it intends to do now it has axed the contract with Seaborne.’
As mentioned the PAC was due to take evidence from the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on 13 February for its inquiry: Brexit and the UK Border: further progress review.
Safety warning about drivers remaining in vehicle cabs
while ferries are at sea
Urgent safety lessons issued after shift and toppling of freight vehicles on board a ro-ro passenger ferry in heavy weather
MAIB Safety Bulletin 1/2019: European Causeway
On 26 March the (UK) Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) issued a Safety Bulletin (No SB1/2019) in respect of dangers posed to freight vehicle drivers by remaining in their vehicle cabs while on board ro-ro ferries at sea.
(See illustration here © MAIB)
The Bulletin is to be found below with a short list of safety issues and a recommendation made to the road freight industry:
A pioneering project to involve schoolchildren in the shipping industry has been praised by the UN as a good example of how to educate young people about ocean life.
Adopt A Ship, promoted by InterManager, the international trade association for ship managers, was highlighted during the closing remarks made at the UN’s recent capacity building event in New York, which brought together leaders of a wide range of UN programmes.
The project partners schools, colleges and orphanages/shelters with a working ship to enable pupils to learn more about the world of international shipping and life at sea. More than 14,000 children worldwide participated in 2018 and InterManager expects some 40,000 to take part in 2019.
Summing up the findings of the two-day UN event, the meeting’s co-chair, Juliette Babb-Riley, said: ‘Significant activities are already under way in many parts of the world to promote ocean literacy. Examples highlighted at the event are the programmes of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the work of InterManager with schools about shipping, and the initiatives of the European Union, particularly on marine debris. Such activities should be welcomed and extended, and new activities should be identified and encouraged.’