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.
The electric ferry Ellen has made her maiden voyage between Søby and Fynshav, south of Funen in Denmark.
This was reported by the Danish Maritime Authority on 16 August and marks the culmination of a project where the DMA has been the involved authority in order to ensure that safety was part of the innovative work.
Martin John, Director of Ship Survey, Certification and Manning, the Danish Maritime Authority commented: ‘Electric ferries are one of the solutions to new climate-friendly ferries. The Danish Maritime Authority has been the partner, authority and now the flag of Denmark’s first ferry fully powered by electricity.’
On the island of São Miguel, in the Azores, a new harbour has been built by the local authority. The harbour with a capacity of 58 boats is located in Povoação, on the south eastern side of the archipelago’s largest island.
This initiative taken by the local Municipal Authority of Povoaçao was carried out with the objective of promoting nautical tourism in this area of the island as well improving conditions for local boaters. Execution of the design (illustrated here), manufacturing and installation of the floating pontoons and the supply of auxiliary equipment have been carried out by Lindley (see: www.lindley.pt ).
The facility comprises pontoons and fingers from Lindley’s Sagres range manufactured with a galvanized and painted steel structure, ideally suited for the challenging conditions of these Atlantic islands.
Access to the floating facility is provided via a single gangway with a security gate. The harbour is equipped with service pedestals that provide water and electricity as well as emergency equipment ensuring the comfort and safety of those using the facility.