Skip to main content

Safety


Safety

A port's navigational safety policy underpins the Harbour Master's responsibility for the safety of navigation. The navigational safety policy, which should be approved by the highest level of management within a port, usually a board of directors, is a publicly available document which states what the board holds itself responsible for in respect of the safety of navigation within its area of jurisdiction.

The reputation of a port is dependent on its safety record and efficiency. Any damage to a port’s safety record may impact on its reputation and by extension, its trade.

The Harbour Master plays a key role in the development and implementation of a safety management system which manages the hazards and risks associated with port operations along with any preparations for emergencies. This should be operated effectively and revised periodically.

Some countries provide guidance to their ports on port safety. An example of this is the UK’s Port Marine Safety Code and its accompanying Good Practice Guide can be found here.

Port Safety

Safety Management and Risk Assessment

To achieve a safe port, a Harbour Master must identify the hazards which present in the port and then assess the risks associated with those hazards. The risks must then be managed down to an acceptable level usually identified as the ALARP (as low as reasonably practicable) principle. This is the underlying principle of risk assessment – a practice that will not only lead to a safer port but may also help to reduce insurance premiums, a commercial benefit to the port company. Thorough risk assessments can be used not only in the formulation of better operating procedures but also in the formulation of effective emergency plans.

Port By-laws

Navigational safety and care for the environment are governed by numerous international, national and local laws and regulations. Harbour Masters have to not only obey local by-laws but also enforce them. They may also be authorised to draft by-laws for their own ports. Port by-laws and admission policies set the conditions under which vessels may enter and leave the port and where they berth.

Rotterdam Port by-laws: https://www.portofrotterdam.com/en/files/rotterdam-port-management-bye-laws

Admission to Port

Harbour Masters rely on reliable and accurate information to inform decision-making concerning the entry and departure of commercial shipping. The geographical configurations of the port, prevailing weather conditions, port water depths, and the height and strength of the local tides are some of the factors that a Harbour Master considers. This information and other factors will inform a port's navigational safety policy and at operational level affect the decisions concerning the arrival and departure of shipping. Harbour masters specify their entry requirements in great detail. These include safest approaches to a port, pilot boarding ground and details of advance notifications to be given to the port prior to arrival.  

The arrival of a commercial vessel into a port is always a planned event. Notification of the vessel’s arrival sometimes begins weeks before the actual arrival. The vessel normally gives 72-48-24 hour notices to all the parties concerned and corrects the ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) with every notice so as to be as close to their declared ETA as possible when arriving at a pilot station.

Pilot boarding and communication between the ship, pilot and port authority shipping control office or VTS are critical to the safe arrival of a ship as it proceeds to its intended berth.

Various agencies including the vessel’s designated Agents, the Harbour Master or his representative, the Pilot company, towage company and the stevedores working the vessel are involved with the arrival of a commercial ship into a port.

Points of notification are predesignated positions set by the Harbour Master when the vessel calls Marine Control on a pre-agreed VHF Channel and informs them of the vessel’s actual position. This information warns other vessels in the area of the incoming vessel’s progress and allows the Marine Controller or VTS to alert ancillary services, such as tugs and lines-boats.

Pilotage

The task of the pilot is to advise the ship’s master on passage through the port and its approaches. The pilot brings knowledge of the local maritime conditions and operational practices that have been gained through extensive experience of navigating ships in the restricted waters of the port and its approaches. Use of a pilot is compulsory in many territorial waters.

In most Member States legislation provides the possibility of some form of exemption from pilotage, either in the form of exemptions in the regulations for compulsory pilotage or by issuing Pilotage Exemption Certificates (PEC).

Tugs and Towage

Many ports deal with big ships in confined or restricted areas and in many cases the risk of contact (allision) with port infrastructure and the risk of grounding is managed by the use of tugs. The use of tugs may be compulsory in some ports for some ships and this is one of the decisions the Harbour Master will make when considering safety of navigation. The Harbour Master may also monitor the competence and qualifications of tug personnel and the performance of tug operations.

High-speed craft

High speed craft in port waters may pose potential risks to safe navigation, channel / bank erosion and danger to persons working under or around wharf structures. It may be necessary to manage the speed of high-speed craft in areas of risk. Engagement with high-speed craft associations will ensure that key risk areas are identified and managed appropriately. Use of AIS on commercial high-speed craft will allow monitoring by VTS / Port control.

Mooring Operations

Safe and efficient mooring processes are vital for ports and terminals. A ship breaking loose from its moorings is a hazard to other vessels and to port infrastructure. A drifting vessel may cause serious damage to cranes, cargo manifolds and fenders and injuries to staff ashore and afloat.

Appropriately trained shore-based berthing crews will work with ship crews to bring ropes or wires from the ship ashore and put them on the shore bollards by hand or with the use of winch trucks. This is a specialised activity involving significant safety issues.

IMO FAL.6/CIRC.11/Rev.1 GUIDELINES ON MINIMUM TRAINING AND EDUCATION FOR MOORING PERSONNEL

Lashing

Cargo needs to be lashed safely and effectively.  Lashing gangs may be dockworkers or authorised crew members (for instance on short sea RoRo (Roll-on/Roll-off) ferries). Deck cargo, containers and RoRo trailers on the weather deck are vulnerable because they can be hit by waves in bad weather and need special attention. For example, steel coils and other heavy cargo can shift during rolling and pitching when not properly stowed and lashed. When a ship arrives with a list due to shifted cargo, the harbour master is informed and will send a nautical expert on board to ensure that the ship will enter the port safely before providing a berth.

Latest News & Events

Seafarers UK is a charity that has been helping those in the maritime community for over 100 years, by providing vital support to seafarers in need and their families.

This aid has been achieved by grants to organisations and projects across the Merchant Navy, the Fishing Fleets, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.

In 2019 Seafarers UK awarded 53 grants totalling £2.2m to 43 maritime welfare charities.

Emergency appeal

On 3 April Seafarers UK made an open appeal on the world wide web to draw attention to the unprecedented times when the effects of COVID-19 are being felt all over the world with the seafaring community being no exception.

As an island nation, the UK is particularly dependent on its seafarers to keep the UK supplied with food, medicine, fuel and other essential supplies. As such, the Government has acknowledged the importance of those who work in the supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic and has officially designated seafarers as key workers.

As the world fights the Coronavirus pandemic seafarers are silently playing a vital role in keeping the nation afloat, under extremely challenging and unpredictable conditions.

On 2 April cruise ships Zaandam and Rotterdam disembarked more than 1,200 passengers in Port Everglades, Florida. These developments, combined with one remaining disembarkation being coordinated, represents the processing of more than 120 vessels in the last three weeks to remove 250,000 passengers from cruise ships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This was reported by USCG HQ Media service from Washington.

US Coast Guard, under guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and working with Department of Homeland Security partners Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), as well as state and local entities from multiple port jurisdictions, facilitated the safe landing, screening, quarantine and repatriation of these passengers in a manner that has prevented further spread of the COVID-19 virus. Many passengers were brought to safe harbour in the United States when international ports refused entry.

Role of Harbour Master/ Port Operations Professional
Security
Port Call Optimisation
Ship image
Vessel Traffic Services
Safety
dock image
Emergency Management
Environment

Become a Member

Join the world’s premier professional body for harbour masters and receive up-to-date information on the industry and access to the members' area of the website.

Become a sponsor

Become a sponsor of the IHMA today and reap the benefits for your business:

  • Worldwide exposure
  • Prominence on the IHMA website
  • Instant access to your services and products for your existing and potential customers
  • Access to the key decision makers on marine operations in Ports – the Harbour Master
  • The opportunity to showcase your services and products at an international congress every two years

Be a part of the future of a vibrant, respected, professional and influential maritime organisation...IHMA

Download EHMC's Newsletter

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, ex vix insolens oportere accusamus, mea nulla aliquip virtute id, et commodo debitis voluptua mel. Vel ut doming scaevola, habemus gloriatur elaboraret ei pro.

Download archived

EHMC newsletter

Our Sponsors

Latest Events

Klaipeda, Lithuania
Baltic LNG & Gas forum

Capitalise on LNG and gas uptake in the Baltics

Creating greater energy security and independence. Meeting environmental regulations.

Join industry game changers who are altering the Baltic gas and LNG markets by providing greater energy security and meeting European climate change targets.

Port of Sillamäe, Estonia
EHMC 2021 Seminar

The Port of Sillamäe (SILPORT), Estonia, is the most eastern port of the EU, located only 25 km from the EU-Russian border and is one of the largest private ports in the EU. It is a relatively new, multifunctional deep-sea port. Natural depth at the quaysides of the port are sufficient for servicing the largest vessels that can enter the Baltic Sea through the Danish Straights. The port was opened for navigation in 2005 and offers an infra- and superstructure capable of handling all cargo groups from oil-products and dry bulk to containerised cargo.

Theme of the 2021 event; the Climate; ports, terminals, ships and harbour masters. Captain René Sirol, Harbour Master, Port of Sillamäe and the EHMC look forward to welcoming you in 2021. Sillamäe Port will provide shuttle busses from the airport of Tallinn to the venue. 

Hilton Canary Wharf, London
Smart Ports Summit

The Smart Ports Summit, 19-20 February 2020, brings together the experts and innovators who are addressing the real need for optimatision of global supply chains and ports to secure fast and efficient movement of goods, manage mega vessels and meet sustainability targets.
Shippers have become increasingly frustrated with lack of visibility, communication, modern equipment and technology at port hubs. Problems often arise whereby a full logistics team is not ready to receive a vessel; leading to unnecessary delays with transporting goods to their final destination.
What can ports do to be more transparent for shippers?
To overcome these difficulties, ports and their supply chains are transforming into smart port ecosystems. Key to embracing this change is the adoption of data-sharing, transparency, collaboration, fast and well-connected software and corresponding cyber security protections.

Exclusive: Introducing the Just-in-Time Arrival Concept

The pioneers behind the Just om Time Concept at the Port of Hamburg have chosen the Smart Port Summit as the venue to announce their results. Created by Wärtsilä, HVCC Hamburg Vessel Coordination Center and Carnival Maritime - the findings from these innovative stakeholders will be presented for the first time at the Summit.
Join us at the Smart Ports Summit this February to find out how the marine industry is adapting to customer demands and paving the way to a new, faster approach to handling vessels and cargo.

View the full agenda >> http://bit.ly/2Rdfz81

Our experts include innovators, ports and equipment suppliers

Jan Gardeitchik, Senior Lead Digitization/Business Development Manager, Port of Rotterdam
Arjan Kampman, Head of Digital & IT, Port of Amsterdam
Hanno Husar, Head of IT, Port of Tallinn
Kyyle Flanigan, Business Analyst, Belfast Harbour
Mar Chao Lopez, Head of Commerical and Business Development, Port of Valencia
Geoff Lippitt, Business Development Director, PD Ports
Gerald Hirt, MD, Hamburg Vessel Coordination Centre
Christopher Crokall, CCO, Inchcape Shipping Services
Peter O'Shaughnessy, Chief Human Resources Officer, Port of Cork

Meet the speakers >> http://bit.ly/2Rdfz81

20% DISCOUNT

As a member of the IHMA you are entitled to an additional 20% saving.

To claim this quote your VIP code: FKT3669IHMA

Register online: http://bit.ly/2Rdfz81

Or contact Roxanna.Kashfi@informa.com

Please make sure you apply for the discount at the time of registration.  

Radisson Blu Edwardian New Providence Wharf Hotel, London
LNG Bunkering europe
LNG Bunkering Europe

 

Hilton London Tower Bridge
Salvage and wreck conference London

IHMA members can save 20% on their registration for Salvage & Wreck Removal conference, 4 – 5 December 2019, London.
The following information is provided by the conference organiser:

Kick off the festive season by attending the biggest salvage industry event of the year – Salvage & Wreck Removal conference (4 – 5 December 2019, London) – meet all the key industry stakeholders, and discuss legal and insurance issues, examine recent casualty operations and incidents, and focus on the future of salvage, new ways of working and emerging technology.

Use IHMA’s exclusive VIP code FKT3652IHMA at the checkout to save 20% on your place: http://bit.ly/36knRBO.

What’s on agenda

Casualty management case studies:

  • Hear how the ‘MSC Zoe’ incident was managed with Jason Bennett, Director EMEA, Ardent and Joram Bootsma, Project Manager, Deep BV
  • Understand the legal implications of the ‘Sanchi’ with Andrew Chamberlain, Partner, HFW, Victor Fenwick, Legal Director, HFW and Paul Walton, Shipping Technical Director, LOC

Dealing with the risks of salvage in a war zone:

Find out how to effectively manage the risks in the Straits of Hormuz and other hot spots – presentations by Helene Peter-Davies, Partner, MFB Solicitors and Jim Scorer, Secretary General, International Federation of Shipmasters' Associations (IFSMA).

New approaches to wreck removal:

Use of Quantitative Risk Assessment for assessing wreck removal with Sam Kendall-Marsden, Director of Claims, The Standard Club.

See the full agenda and speaker line-up to date: http://bit.ly/2N0Z9ir.

Networking Dinner

As part of Global Marine Casualties Week, Salvage & Wreck Removal will offer you a unique opportunity to connect with 300+ industry professionals while enjoying a relaxed atmosphere, superb three-course meal with a great selection of drinks. Find out more here: http://bit.ly/2WppauT. Register now

Places are filling up fast so secure yours while you still can. Use code FKT3652IHMA to save 20%: http://bit.ly/36knRBO.

If you have questions about the event or registration process, please email event organisers at viktoriia.derkach@knect365.com.

This block is broken or missing. You may be missing content or you might need to enable the original module.

Download the IHMA Constitution

The IHMA constitution sets out the establishment of a region of the IHMA, the committee role and authority, its formation and management.

Latest News & Events

Seafarers COVID-19 Seafarers UK COVID-19 Emergency Appeal https://www.seafarers.uk/covid-19-emergency-appeal/

Seafarers UK is a charity that has been helping those in the maritime community for over 100 years, by providing vital support to seafarers in need and their… FIND OUT MORE

COVID-19 cruise ship To reduce risks under COVID-19 emergency US Coast Guard oversees disembarkation of 250,000 from cruise ships Medevac’d 31

On 2 April cruise ships Zaandam and Rotterdam disembarked more than 1,200 passengers in Port Everglades, Florida. These developments… FIND OUT MORE

Latest News & Events

Seafarers UK is a charity that has been helping those in the maritime community for over 100 years, by providing vital support to seafarers in need and their families.

This aid has been achieved by grants to organisations and projects across the Merchant Navy, the Fishing Fleets, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.

In 2019 Seafarers UK awarded 53 grants totalling £2.2m to 43 maritime welfare charities.

Emergency appeal

On 3 April Seafarers UK made an open appeal on the world wide web to draw attention to the unprecedented times when the effects of COVID-19 are being felt all over the world with the seafaring community being no exception.

As an island nation, the UK is particularly dependent on its seafarers to keep the UK supplied with food, medicine, fuel and other essential supplies. As such, the Government has acknowledged the importance of those who work in the supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic and has officially designated seafarers as key workers.

As the world fights the Coronavirus pandemic seafarers are silently playing a vital role in keeping the nation afloat, under extremely challenging and unpredictable conditions.

On 2 April cruise ships Zaandam and Rotterdam disembarked more than 1,200 passengers in Port Everglades, Florida. These developments, combined with one remaining disembarkation being coordinated, represents the processing of more than 120 vessels in the last three weeks to remove 250,000 passengers from cruise ships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This was reported by USCG HQ Media service from Washington.

US Coast Guard, under guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and working with Department of Homeland Security partners Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), as well as state and local entities from multiple port jurisdictions, facilitated the safe landing, screening, quarantine and repatriation of these passengers in a manner that has prevented further spread of the COVID-19 virus. Many passengers were brought to safe harbour in the United States when international ports refused entry.