St Helena Maritime Authority and Shipping Registry exposure visit and conference attendance

Three representatives from St Helena’s Maritime Authority and Shipping Registry – Harbourmaster, Steve Kirk, Head of Maritime, Mia Henry, and Deputy Registrar of Shipping and Seafarers, Alan Bennett – recently undertook a four-week exposure visit to the UK and Jersey as well as attended the annual Red Ensign Group (REG) conference held in the Isle of Man.

Here is a report of the activities they undertook during their visit:

Port of Dover

Steve and Mia travelled to the Port of Dover where they were treated to a tour of the facility including the port control tower, the cruise ship terminal and arrival terminal for passengers and vehicles travelling on the ferries. The focus of the visit was International Ship and Port Facility Security.

They were accompanied by Charlie Probets and Simon Corkill from the Maritime Operations Division at the UK’s Department for Transport, who are expected to visit St Helena next year. Having Charlie and Simon present also gave an insight on security compliance and what may be expected of St Helena in the future.

Port Facility Security Officer, Rachel Tappenden, and Port of Dover Police Inspector, Ian Hodges, delivered a very interesting presentation on some facts and figures of the port, some of which were an eye opener.

Steve and Mia witnessed searching being patterns carried out and, in discussion, were surprised to learn about the similarities to St Helena’s security issues.

Mia said:

“Visiting the Port of Dover was a privilege and we are grateful for the time and effort taken to welcome us.”

UK Ship Registry hub in Cardiff

Whilst Mia and Steve visited the Port of Dover, Alan travelled to and visited the UK Ship Registry hub in Cardiff where he observed their procedures with a view to identifying gaps that should/could be addressed within St Helena’s registry procedures, such as current processes for registration of different categories of vessels, e.g. fishing, pleasure or small vessels; deaths at sea; correct documentation that corroborates registration of a vessel, such as mortgage documentation, de-registration from a previous registry, surveyor’s certificate, builder’s certificate (if the vessel is new) etc.  Alan was pleased to note that, whilst there are some small gaps, most procedures and processes have already been implemented within the St Helena Ship Registry.

Port of Blyth

Steve later travelled to the Port of Blyth where he was able to spend two days with Blyth Harbour Master, Ed Dick, and his team which allowed Steve to gain an insight into how a small port in the UK operates. Steve was also deployed to the Harbour pilot where he boarded a moving vessel via rope ladder and observed while the pilot navigated the ship into Blyth harbour.

Jersey, Channel Islands

Steve, Mia and Alan then travelled to Jersey, Channel Islands. During his time in Jersey, Alan observed their registry procedures, focusing on the small ship registry, which encompasses all small vessels, including small harbour boats.  Plans are in motion to establish a licensing and registration procedure for small boats on St Helena. Jersey was an ideal choice as it is a fellow Category 2 registry. 

Mia visited the Maritime House in St Helier, the headquarters for the Port of Jersey, the Jersey Coastguard, and the Vessel Traffic Service and was able to briefly observe these operations first hand. Compared to St Helena, the port is very busy and it was very interesting to be present in the control tower where there is constant monitoring of all vessel movements.

Maritime Standards Manager & Pilot, Captain Stanley Richard-Dit-Leschery, who very kindly accommodated the visit, gave some good insight on the maritime structure and laws, some of which can be used to inform St Helena’s maritime structure.

Red Ensign Group (REG) Conference

Alan attended the 33rd Red Ensign Group (REG) Conference which was held in the Isle of Man between 19 and 21 July 2022. There was no REG Conference in 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The conference allowed the opportunity for all administrations, registered under the Red Ensign Group, to come together to discuss mutual or unique issues affecting their administrations. The conference followed an agenda of mainly plenary sessions intertwined with specific sessions for coastal or flag states.  Alan, being a Registrar, attended the plenary and flag state sessions, which mainly focussed on general and registration issues, respectively. The plenary sessions provided important information on upcoming maritime proxy audits, Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) Programme and support and reports from the International Maritime Organization (IMO).  The flag state sessions relayed important information on the current Russian sanctions (which all REG states are required to follow) and initiated brainstorming sessions on how a generic system for the issuing of vessel official numbers can be implemented across the board for all administrations.

Mia concluded:

“We would like to extend thanks to the CSSF team at the Maritime Coastguard Agency for making these visits possible and of course to our hosts at the Port of Dover, Port of Jersey and Jersey Government, Cardiff Registry and to the Isle of Man who hosted the REG Conference.”

#StHelena #RedEnsignGroup #IMO

31 August 2022

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470