The 2013 Marine Navigation Act introduces important changes to current legislation.
The most important single change is the introduction of the ability of harbour authorities to take on harbour direction powers. This will allow harbours, in consultation with users, to manage traffic in the port area in a safe and efficient way.
There are many harbours which still have not got these powers and so the new legislation will make a significant contribution to safety and to compliance with the Port Marine Safety Code. There are also changes to the pilotage regime, with the opportunity for a broader range of crew members to apply for Pilotage Exemption Certificates (PECs) as well as powers for ports to divest themselves of pilotage powers if they are no longer needed.
A Code of Conduct developed between the ports industry, the UK Chamber of Shipping and the RYA will be used to provide guidance on harbour direction powers. This will entail the setting up of a new National Directions Panel (NDP) which will develop model directions.
David Whitehead, the Director of the British Ports Association said, “This is a significant Bill which is the result of successful co-operation between a number of maritime organisations. The Department for Transport’s support for the Bill has been critical and we have worked closely with officials on the detail. We are also very much indebted to Sheryll Murray, the MP for South East Cornwall, who took up the legislation as a Private Members Bill in the Commons and steered it through.”