European MarNIS Project gives Associated British Ports a new risk management tool



Monty Smedley, Marine Scientist, ABPmer, Southampton, UK


In June 2008, ABP Marine Environmental Research (ABPmer) successfully implemented an ABP Group wide Marine Safety and Management System using research carried out in the European Project ‘Maritime Navigation and Information Services’ (MarNIS). The focus of the new system is the implementation of a ‘Port Assessment Toolkit’ with adapted services to suit the needs of the ABP Port Group.

ABP own and operate a network of 21 ports around the United Kingdom and are responsible for the safe and efficient management of mar ine safety within their harbour areas. Whilst the ABP Group has been compliant with the national standard for port marine safety since its inception (the MCA’s Port Marine Safety Code) a system to assist the whole Group in reaching a common standard for risk management and reporting was desired. This need was answered by research undertaken by ABPmer through the consultancy’s participation as a partner in the European research project ‘MarNIS’.

European research leads the way
MarNIS, an integrated research project in the 6th Framework programme, brought together 50 partners to develop maritime navigation and information services on a Pan-European basis. The European project has delivered a number of innovative concepts for the next generation of integrated maritime information services, bringing together traffic monitoring, search and rescue, pollution control and vessel risk profiling under one roof (see PTI, 40th Edition ‘MarNIS Concept Unveiled’).

ABPmer, in partnership with the Port of Rotterdam, developed the concept of a port management support tool for Harbour Masters and Vessel Traffic Managers in European ports. The best way to demonstrate the concept of a ‘Toolkit’ was the development of a prototype version as a tangible output of the research work. Along with other leading Ports and European research organisations, the prototype toolkit concept was fieldtested and further developed using industry best practise, Formal Safety Assessments concepts (IMO) and r isk management ideas developed within IALA and PIANC. This culminated in a finalised concept ‘Toolkit’ and a prototype software package, which demonstrated how the concept would be applied to the European ports industry.

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