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.
As we know passage through the Suez Canal is by no means plain sailing. It requires a multitude of complex bureaucratic approvals, timely logistics, tight scheduling and close monitoring to ensure the smooth transit of between 50 and 70 ships daily along the narrow Egyptian waterway that is a vital artery for the flow of world trade.
Aziz Nabil, operations manager for Inchcape Shipping Services Egypt commented on 22 November: ‘Nothing can be left to chance and there is no room for delay as this can prove costly for the ship owner.’
About 12% of international trade passes through the 193-kilometre canal that connects the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea, making it the shortest shipping route between Asia and Europe.
The risks of negotiating the man-made route were highlighted with the dramatic grounding of the giant containership Ever Given in March this year that blocked the Suez Canal for a week – delaying some 369 ships carrying an estimated $9.6 billion of trade – before the ship was finally refloated.
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) subsequently filed a $916 million claim for compensation for lost revenue and salvage costs due to the incident, attributed to a navigational failure caused by reduced visibility in high winds and a sandstorm, and the ship was detained for three months until the financial dispute with the ship owner was resolved.
We learn that the General Lighthouse Authorities of the United Kingdom and Ireland (GLA)1 have named Dr Alan Grant as the Head of its Research and Development team. He assumed his new role on 1 November.
As part of his duties Dr Grant heads the GLA’s research and development programme, considering existing and future maritime requirements and operational strategy.
GLA Research and Development (known as GRAD) is tasked with improving maritime safety by developing innovative and cost effective maritime aids to navigation.
At GRAD projects have included all aspects of AtoN including human and machine interaction, operational life and environment. The team has especially deep technical expertise and experience with AIS, VDES, eLoran, e‑Navigation, GNSS, SBAS and visual signaling.
Dr Grant joined the GLAs in 2003 and has worked on a variety of systems during his time with GRAD. He led a series of successful GPS jamming trials and the development of the multi-system radionavigation receiver performance standards, from initial concept through to international recognition at the IMO. He continues to support resilient positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) in maritime navigation at both technical and strategic levels.
Dr Grant is as a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation RIN, where he is a member of Council and served as a Vice President from 2019-2021. He is also a member of the US Institute of Navigation and served on the ION Council from 2013-2017.