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.
Port Call Optimisation is the process of realising reductions in environmental impact and improved safety and security management for shipping, terminals, and service providers.
The safety and efficiency of the maritime transport industry is dependent on the exchange of information. With the rapid advance of satellite and electronic communications, ‘port community systems’ operated by a variety of organizations that make up a seaport community will see enhanced electronic links between all parties involved in port activities. These include customs, port authorities, coastguard and others, as well as between the ship and port authority.
The Harbour Master plays a vital role in this system and increasingly may find him or herself taking on the role of an information manager at the interface between ship-and shore-based operations. With increasing frequency, ships can log onto port and terminal websites, feeding into electronic reporting systems, and may plan a port visit whilst still at sea.
Following a workshop at its 5th Congress in May 2006, IHMA embarked on a project to support Harbour Masters gathering reliable Port Entry Information and present it in a standardised format readily available to the mariner and other users. This format has been hosted on the IHMA website since July 2008. The marine industry responded to this initiative with great enthusiasm. This resulted in shipping and ports working together in an international taskforce to promote “Port Call Optimisation” by improving the quality and availability of master and event data.
This will deliver the following benefits to ports, shipping lines, service providers, and terminals:
Firstly, by improving the quality and availability of master data: e.g depths, admission policies. This will ensure vessel/berth compatibility and a clear understanding of when it’s safe to arrive or leave.
Secondly, by improving the quality and availability of event data: e.g planned time of arrival at the berth, estimated time of completion cargo operations. This will enable just-in-time planning of pilot on board, pre-planning of all port services and planning to the next port.
Both master data and event data use existing nautical and supply chain standards and formats suitable for shipping’s worldwide requirements.
Shipping, their agents and ports are sitting down together to discuss Port Call Optimisation, and to work on a solution that can work for every trade, for every port, from port to port and end to end. Shipping is accustomed to adapting itself to the individual port. When developing projects, shipping normally does this per trade (e.g. only for line or tramp shipping). Ports tend to develop projects for one port only, as they might be in competition with other ports.
The Standards for Nautical Port Information version 5.5 can be downloaded here.
The Port Information Guide template has been replaced by the document 'Standards for Nautical Port Information', section entitled 'General Port Information', pages 20 – 26.
The information is now more defined and structured, and duplicate entries have been removed.
For any questions on how to apply the standards please contact the IHMA Project Officer: Scherpenzeel.firstname.lastname@example.org, or call +31-10-252-1337
The Port Information Guide provides general information which applies to the entire port area. Information related to specific port sections (berths, fairways etc), can be captured via “Port Section Guides”. The format for these guides will be published in 2018.
Our picture shows a Carnival line up. Five Carnival ships are due in Durban in week commencing 24 May. (Photo: www.africaports.co.za )
No less than five Carnival Cruise ships are due to arrive in Durban between 26 and 28 May to take on bunkers and to restock depleted supplies.
These five ships are part of a group of 12 engaged in the humanitarian task of repatriating over 26,000 crew from the Carnival fleet and other companies, as well as personnel from entertainment centres ashore, who because of the coronavirus pandemic, have had their employment suddenly curtailed.
Hotel staff and entertainers
These are the entertainment staff, the onboard shop workers, beauty salon practitioners, waiters and bus boys, chefs and kitchen staff, cabin cleaners, pursers and front desk people all making up the staff working on board cruise ships.
With cruising curtailed these former employees are finally returning home to destinations like India, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines after having remained on board their ships for more than two months, unable to go ashore or receive visitors ever since cruising operations were suspended in mid -March. Ahead they face another three or four weeks at sea before being allowed to disembark. However, there’s something of a problem.
Call to governments
IFSMA* calls upon Governments to adopt the ‘Framework of protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the COVID-19 pandemic’ without delay to allow ship owners and management companies to change over their dangerously tired crews.
Governments must act now in order to avoid personal injury to, and mental breakdown of, seafarers and avoid the significant risk of accidents and consequential danger to life and the environment.
Concern at IFSMA
IFSMA is receiving an increasing number of reports from its ship masters’ associations around the world concerned for the welfare and safety of crews and the increased risk with which they are operating in an already high risk environment. Seafarers are feeling let down and abandoned by their Governments.
Following concerns from the maritime industry, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) issued a circular to all Member States, the UN and agencies and IGOs and NGOs in consultative status with IMO. This document concerned recommendations to Member States about measures to facilitate ship crew changes in seaports during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The IMO Secretary General has received a framework of protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the pandemic, proposed by a cross-section of global industry associations in consultative status with the IMO, for example: ICS, IAPH, BIMCO, IFSMA, and P&I Clubs as well as the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
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.