chapter  16
54 Pages

THE LAW OF HARBOURS AND PILOTAGE

With the ever-increasing demands for safer ships, cleaner seas and prevention of environmental damage in coastal waters by marine casualties, the role of harbour authorities in ensuring that such demands are met is very important. It is equally important for them to maintain their ports in a safe condition and with adequate facilities, so that accidents to ships using them can be prevented. Manoeuvring in or out of a port can be quite difficult without the guidance of expert pilots, or harbour masters, who know local waters. There are various statutes and by-laws, which regulate the rights and obligations of harbours in making ports safe, preventing accidents and dealing with dangerous or unsafe ships, taking care of environmental safety and performing many other functions. Not only has the British Government charted a new course on port marine operations1 – which includes accountability of port authorities, risk assessment and management, contingency plans and emergency response, management of navigation and pilotage – but parallel proposals towards a coherent policy on ports and maritime infrastructures have also been made by the European Commission.2