The role of the Harbour Master in terminal and cargo operations varies according to the governance of the port. In some places, the Harbour Master’s role is diminished due to the process of privatisation. However, there are plenty of occasions during a ship’s stay in port, when advice from the Harbour Masters is sought. These include when services are delivered by companies, organisations or government officials such as fuel bunkering, tank cleaning and the delivery of stores, water and crew.
The Harbour Master still has a role to play for determining the berthing of ships and controlling the front quay or ship-shore interface, such as the direct removal or segregated stay of dangerous goods for a determined period on the terminal, the measures to be taken by stevedores and dockworkers to prevent safety or environmental irregularities and the accessibility to the ship-shore interface by unauthorized persons.
The Harbour Master’s expertise is essential during the management of any incidents and in the timely implementation of response and emergency plans when necessary.