MCA releases 2018 Health Check Trends for harbour authorities


The annual Port Marine Safety Code Health Check Trends review has recently been released by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA), highlighting improvements, best practice and ongoing issues identified from seven visits made in 2018 to three private ports, two municipal ports, one Trust port and a Duchy port.

Ongoing issues of concern were noted in the following areas:

  • Duty Holder awareness and training
  • Designated Person appointments
  • Missing or incomplete risk assessments
  • Marine Safety Management System (MSMS) awareness and updates
  • Duties and powers
  • Consultations

Other concerns highlighted information dissemination, conservancy, pilotage and marine services.

With reference to monitoring the condition of remote piers, Duty Holders should note that: “During a port tour, it was observed that the old Pier was in a poor state of repair. This can pose risk to smaller & other crafts navigating near the pier… the visiting MCA team suggested that an assessment should be carried out to identify any further appropriate mitigations that could help to safeguard port marine safety around the structure.”

There is also a clearer focus on marinas in this year’s report, with the MCA stating “It was suggested that marinas… not currently invited to port user groups should be invited to attend in the future, to further enhance engagement between the Statutory Harbour Authority and marina operators as well as understanding any scope and the complementary nature of each other’s Safety Management System (SMS) / procedures.”

Further, the MCA said “the Harbour Authority is recommended to consider discussing with marina operators within the harbour to persuade them to align their operational procedures & practices to SMS, to enhance navigational safety.”

Auditing was another focus, with the MCA commenting “No record was found of routine internal auditing. It is recommended that the Harbour Authority should carry out an internal audit at least once a year.”

There was also a notable remark about Local Lighthouse Authority duties “The attending representative from the General Lighthouse Authority expressed his deep concern regarding the maintenance of existing lights, the absence of appropriate aids in general and a lack of lighted aids to approach the harbour during the hours of darkness.”

The report concludes by encouraging ports to consider the application of the MCA’s findings to their own operations, and to share best practice “to enhance overall safety, productivity and efficiency.”


If you require assistance with internal PMSC auditor or Duty Holder training, Designated Person services, marine risk assessments, MSMS review and writing, or any other aspect of the PMSC, visit ABPmer’s Port Risk Management microsite to discover how we assist your compliance with the Code.

To download a copy of the full 2018 Health Check, visit the information site.

Prepared by Monty Smedley, Maritime Specialist.


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Monty Smedley

Business Development


+44 (0)23 8071 1892


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