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 13 June IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim (illustrated here from www.imo.org IMO ©) condemned the suspected attacks on two tankers off the coast of Oman that occurred earlier that day.
Speaking during the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) 101st session at IMO HQ in London, Secretary-General Lim said: ‘These suspected attacks, coupled with the attacks in the UAE last month, concern me greatly. IMO has developed a comprehensive regime of regulation through the ISPS Code and the SUA Conventions and Protocols to prevent and respond to unprovoked, unlawful attacks on merchant shipping.
‘The threat to ships and their crews, peaceably going about their business, is intolerable. I urge all Member States to redouble their efforts to work together to find a lasting solution to ensure the safety and security of international shipping around the globe and protection of the marine environment.
‘I will carefully review the results of the investigation, once they are completed, to consider if additional IMO action is warranted.’
BIMCO announced the same day (13 June) that it was urging nations to defuse tension and work together through diplomatic efforts following these new attacks.
It is understood that the attacks occurred just east of the Strait of Hormuz, involving a Marshall Islands-flagged ship and a Panama-flagged ship.
In the words of Angus Frew, BIMCO Secretary General & CEO: ‘We strongly call for nations to do what they can to de-escalate tensions and ensure the safe passage of merchant shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.
‘It is unacceptable that the lives of innocent seafarers are put at risk in these unprovoked attacks.’
BIMCO represents around 60% percent of the world’s merchant fleet measured by tonnage.
Jakob P Larsen, the BIMCO Head of Maritime Security, added: ‘The increase in attacks and the escalated threat to seafarers is an urgent concern to the industry. Following the two most recent attacks, and while we await the results of the investigations of the attacks, the tension in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf is now as high as it gets without being an actual armed conflict.’
The Strait of Hormuz provides the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean and is one of the world’s most important sea lanes. Disruption of shipping through the strait will have a major impact on the oil trade and the shipping industry.
And the view from the ICS
The Board of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has expressed concern at the serious incidents involving the Marshall Islands-flagged ship Front Altair and the Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous, in the Gulf of Oman.
Addressing the issue at the ICS Annual General Meeting in the Faroe Islands (13 June), the Board has expressed the international shipping industry’s alarm at recent incidents in the region affecting ships and their crews.
Gut Platten, ICS Secretary General commented: ‘This suspected attack is a deeply worrying and intolerable situation. We await further clarification and information as to what has happened but we are relieved that there appears to have been no loss of life and that the crews are reportedly safe. This is the second incident in one month and the shipping industry, and most importantly the crews, must not be exposed to such risks.
‘The Straits of Hormuz are crucial for the world economy, and any deliberate attempts to threaten traffic through them are to be condemned in the strongest terms. The situation continues to develop and we will scrutinize it closely, providing assistance to the industry to safeguard world trade and, most importantly, the lives of the men and women whose daily task it is to ensure its continued flow.’
On 20 November the European Commission commenced the process for reviewing the 2013 TEN-T guidelines with a public consultation before summer.
This was reported the same day and it is learnt that ESPO believes the review should not lead to a complete change of direction in the TEN-T policy.
Furthermore, ESPO believes that the rationale of the 2013 guidelines remains the same: achieving an efficient, sustainable and multimodal Transport Infrastructure Network (TEN) in Europe.
The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) however believes that the European Commission should use the review as an opportunity to level the playing field between the maritime and the land links.
In the words of ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost: ‘More than 30 % of intra-EU freight traffic is currently going over sea. The ongoing digitalisation, the progress on the internal market for maritime transport with the new European Single Window Environment framework and the greening of shipping, which seems to be delivering first on the short sea links, will give maritime transport within the EU, and even within one Member State, a new impetus. It is now time to fully recognise the contribution of maritime transport to the aims of Europe’s Transport Infrastructure policy. The maritime dimension must be brought on an equal footing with the land-based corridors and links.’
The Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) is currently marking the 15th year of accreditations from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
This notable achievement follows a successful external audit that was conducted by the South Africa-based National Quality Assurance (NQA) representing the Global Certification Body based in the UK.
External auditors covered: the ISO 9001 Standard (Quality Management System), the ISO 14001 Standard (Environmental Management System) and the ISO 45001 Standard (Health and Safety Management System) and as a result conferred Namport with the positive report on all three standards.
In the words of Acting Chief Executive Officer of Namport, Kavin Harry: ‘The importance of this achievement cannot be underestimated especially the impact it has on reassuring our esteemed customers on the quality and safety of our services rendering at our ports. It is therefore, only befitting that I, on behalf of the Executive management team convey our heartfelt appreciation for the great work displayed by all Namport employees resulting into this great achievement.’