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Harbour towage – latest on safety The British Tugowners Association annual safety seminar in November revealed the majority of accidents did not happen during towing operations. Instead they occurred while tugs were alongside the jetty after completing a task, or when the crew had just returned from a period of leave. Also reported was an increase in the use of dangerously weighted heaving lines, poor methods of connecting and the uncontrolled release of towing gear by the assisted vessel, putting tugs and crew at risk. We expect to see all these issues receiving greater scrutiny in 2013.

Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) Having been an option for vessels since 2002, the programme for the mandated carriage of ECDIS is now well under way. New build tankers required the system from July 2012 and new build cargo ships, over 10,000GT, will do so from July 2013.


ECDIS anomalies are an ongoing issue, as the International Hydrographic Office (IHO) reiterated to users in November. The IHO website features two simple data tests to identify deficiencies and the UK Chamber will continue to monitor issues with ECDIS to ensure they provide a safe means of navigation.

Marine Navigation

As the Marine Navigation (No 2) Bill concludes its passage through Parliament, it is essential to increase the use of Pilotage Exemption Certificates (PEC) and allow all qualified deck officers to gain this qualification.

The UK Chamber has a key role to play with the ports associations in deregulating old bureaucratic harbour bylaws and allowing harbour authorities to grant new simplified General Directions, which will replace the old harbour bylaws with a simpler system. We also welcome the creation of the National Directions Panel.

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