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.
In one year the new Stockholm Norvik Port will open. This was reported in a statement from Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited at the end of April. At the time the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce in Sweden had arranged a seminar (illustrated) in the heart of Stockholm together with The Ports of Stockholm and Hutchison Ports in order to highlight the benefits the new port will deliver for Swedish businesses.
Shipping in the Stockholm region is to undergo big changes in the near future future. The Ports of Stockholm are building a new port – Stockholm Norvik Port – that will open in May 2020. This will be a deep water port, a game changer in the Baltic Sea area. The container business will be operated by Hutchison Ports, it is understood.
In the words of Torborg Chetkovich, Chairperson Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce in Sweden: ‘The cooperation between Hutchison Ports and Ports of Stockholm is an excellent example of how to create value for its customers, employees and the society at large. The Chamber´s role is to promote business between Hong Kong and Sweden. A seminar like this is an example of how we want to promote successful cooperation between Hong Kong and Sweden.’
A new IMO video puts the spotlight on how an IMO/EU initiative is helping cut maritime emissions in the Solomon Islands as part of a global project to help tackle climate change.
The illustration published here shows the new solar-powered LED lights erected in the port of Honiara, Solomon Islands. Their operation helps the port meet IMO maritime security requirements.
These lights are also an ideal example of how a global project, through regional centres, can help individual countries’ ports and shipping sectors improve energy efficiency, cut emissions and clean up local air quality. This was the approach outlined in a media briefing issued by IMO on 15 May.