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 28 July the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) reported that Hay Point Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) Operator Warren Bath had been recognised by the inaugural VTS award for his coordination of an incident involving a bulk carrier. Queensland’s Hay Point is one of the largest coal export ports in the world, see: www.nqbp.com.au
VTSO Bath was nominated for the award after coordinating the response action of allied services including tugs, port pilots and helicopter operators when reports came through of a bulk carrier drifting 20 metres off the berth at 0100 on 21 April 2019.
Within ten minutes of receiving the call, the ship had turned 90 degrees to the berth and was in danger of being damaged, and causing damage to its surroundings.
Mr Bath’s quick response ensured the vessel was brought back alongside within three and a half hours with no damage to the bulk carrier, to other ships berthed at the port or to the offshore terminal infrastructure. No pollution event arose.
Two other nominations highly commended
Port Hedland VTS was commended for the successful response after receiving a call from the ore carrier Cape Reliance reporting people clinging to a drifting upturned boat. Strong currents were rapidly pushing the capsized boat and the desperate men further out to sea. Port Hedland is the world’s largest bulk export port, with exports including iron ore, lithium and salt. See: https://www.pilbaraports.com.au/ports/port-of-port-hedland
The VTS coordinated police and marine rescue crews, including a pilot boat and marine pilot transfer helicopter from the port, to assist with the search and rescue.
Four people were rescued from the water within two hours of the initial report, after spending nearly seven hours in the water.
Todd Stewart and Ricky Blake from Brisbane VTS received commendations for coordinating local vessels to assist in the search for a sinking recreational craft off Caloundra Headland in the middle of the night on 9 June 2019. They called on ships anchored in the vicinity of a search mission to help widen the search area.
Brisbane VTS chart is shown here: https://www.publications.qld.gov.au/dataset/0b23b6c7-713a-474b-bfc4-b1520c947d3e/resource/fe982eb9-5ab3-439c-bfe7-57c01b959c25/fs_download/brisbane_ppm_master_august_2019-sec-15.1.2.pdf
Incredibly, the master of a tanker in the area radioed VTS and reported seeing people in the water south of the ship in the morning light. Mr Stewart and Mr Blake relayed this information to Queensland Water Police resulting in the rescue of two adults and a child.
Recognising outstanding contributions
The Australian VTS Award was launched in December 2019 to recognise an outstanding contribution by a VTS to the safety of life at sea, safety and efficiency of navigation and protection of the marine environment which is beyond their normal operational scope.
VTSs provide for the safe and efficient movement of ships and help prevent dangerous traffic situations. These awards provide national recognition to those involved in vessel traffic services in Australia while also raising the profile of the 15 VTSs across Australia that manage traffic in ports and surrounding waterways.
The award also recognises VTS personnel and the important services they provide among stakeholders and wider industry.
Nominations open for the 2020-2021 Australian VTS Award on 1 October
On 5 August IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said:
‘I express my deepest condolences and sincerest sympathies to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Lebanon following the catastrophic explosions in the port of Beirut yesterday.
‘The port provides a vital artery bringing food, medicines and supplies to the country and its destruction will have devastating consequences.
‘The United Nations is assisting the immediate response to the incident. The International Maritime Organization stands ready to assist in any way we can.’
We at IHMA join IMO in sending our deepest condolences to the people of Lebanon at this difficult time
International Container Terminal Services, Inc (ICTSI) has signed the concession contract with the Port Autonome de Kribi (PAK) for the development, operation and maintenance of the Kribi Multipurpose Terminal (KMT) in Cameroon.
With the signing of the contract, KMT, a subsidiary of ICTSI, is now the official concessionaire of the multipurpose terminal for the next 25 years.
At the signing ceremony in the Southern region of Cameroon, Hans-Ole Madsen, ICTSI Senior Vice President and Regional Head for Europe, Middle East and Africa, thanked the Government of Cameroon and PAK for placing their trust in ICTSI. “ICTSI is very proud to partner with Cameroon and the Port of Kribi in the operation and development of the Kribi Multipurpose Terminal,” he said.
KMT is a newly built deep-water port located 150 kilometres south of Douala. Phase 1 consists of 265 + 63 metres of berth and a 10-hectare yard. Phase 2 will include an additional 350 metres of berth and 23 hectares of yard. Kribi port is surrounded by the Kribi Industrial Area, a 262 square-kilometre zone destined to accommodate new industrial and logistical developments supporting the growing Cameroonian economy.