Working towards a safe port
Every year, some 34,000 deep sea ships and 133,000 inland waterway vessels call at the port of Rotterdam. The number of ocean-going vessels calling at the port of Rotterdam is increasing. This is the result of the growing number of tankers and container ships. The Port Authority supervises this shipping day and night with ten modern RPA patrol vessels and a high tech Traffic Guidance System. Despite the increasing volume of traffic on the water, the number of incidents shows a falling trend.
Approximately half the 400 million tons of freight handled each year are dangerous and harmful substances. The increase in the number of ships calling at the port also leads to extra activities that entail risks, such as the cleaning of tanks containing hazardous substances. Inspectors of the Harbour Master’s Division (part of Port of Rotterdam Authority) visit the ships concerned during their stay in the port. They measure the extent to which safety and environmental rules are adhered to on board inland and ocean-going vessels. This is done based on the findings during inspections on board ships, but also by systematically checking whether shipping companies and agents comply with their statutory administrative reporting obligations. In accordance with the Harbour Master’s Covenant, the Harbour Master has laid down norms for the SEI.
Guaranteeing safety and order is a substantial task. An international standard for improved security of deepsea ships and port facilities was drawn up in December 2002: the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. It means that companies with a terminal or a loading and unloading quay are obliged to produce a security plan based on a risk analysis. A team of experts from the police, customs and the Port of Rotterdam Authority assess the plan. A security plan is also compulsory for certain deep sea ships.
Safety demands effective cooperation – both on land and on the water: with industry, but also with customs, the port police, the municipal fire service, the municipal emergency response unit and DCMR (the Rijnmond Environmental Protection Agency). Among DCMR's tasks is to grant permits to companies and monitor compliance with environmental and other regulations. The parties mentioned also cooperate in preventing and handling incidents.