Ship to ports communication: 23 - 29 October 2023

Safety in ports is not just an issue for port workers, it affects every person who comes into contact with the port in their working day. Ships’ crew members may visit several ports in one contract and it can be difficult to know what rules and restrictions apply in each new port visited.

The process of a ship visiting a port involves a number of different agents, each with their own priorities, working practices, and concerns, and good communications between them all is vital to ensure that everybody can undertake their priorities in the safest and most efficient way.

To assist in improving this communication process, PSS has launched a week of activity focussed on highlighting the different priorities and concerns of those involved in a ships’ port visit. By understanding the perspectives of everyone involved, it can be easier to ensure that good communication flows.

The campaign week will focus on three main topics:

Crew movements around the ports

  • The group are working with MNWB to produce documentation for ports not currently utilising port information leaflets.
  • The group have provided best practice information that will be issued during campaign week.

Paperwork issued to the vessels by the ports

  • The group have reviewed the quantity of data issued to vessels and shared best practice on how to reduce this down to a more manageable level.

Improving communication with the agents

  • The group have begun dialog with local agents to encourage best practice and increase quality of communication.

During campaign week, PSS will publish daily articles from different areas of the port industry, providing details on “a day in the life” of those departments when a vessel comes in to port, discussing the challenges they can face and the points of communication along the way.

Communication is key to any vessel port visit, however, communication with the agents can be complicated, due to the sheer volume of paperwork and variety of areas involved in a port call that the agents are involved with, including movement of cargo, repatriation of crew, deliveries of spares etc.

In order to help everyone better understand the complication and different perspectives of any vessel call to port, we will be posting articles on our website every day themed around ‘A day in the life of…’ These articles have been written by a range of people involved in ensuring a ship’s port visit is undertaken smoothly, efficiently and above all, safely. They give an insight into the different issues involved when any ship comes into port, highlighting areas of best practice and sharing resources for smoother and safer operations for all during vessel calls to port.

Whilst procedures will vary from port to port, the sharing of knowledge between PSS members and the wider maritime community, is integral to the success of everyone involved.

The Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB) produces port information leaflets to support crew on arrival and ensure that they are aware of the port restrictions, local requirements, PPE needs, safe routes of access for any port in the UK that vessels call to. These leaflets are currently only available in ports with ship visitors and chaplains. Throughout the campaign week, PSS will be working with the MNWB to ensure that all UK ports can provide useful information to ships’ crew to ensure a safe and stress-free visits.