The Port Marine Safety Code (PMSC) is a national standard in the UK for port safety with the stated aim:
"to improve safety for those who use or work in ports, their ships, passengers and cargoes, and the environment".
The Code was introduced following the failings identified in the aftermath of the "Sea Empress" disaster and the subsequent review of the Pilotage Act. All Harbour Authorities, in the UK, are expected to comply with the Code. As the Code is not statutory, failure to comply is not an offence in itself, but the Code does set out references to legal duties that do exist and not adhering to it may be indicative of a breach of those duties.
There is no legal obligation for Guernsey Harbours to adopt the PMSC. However, as the code is now a recognised industry standard in the UK and Jersey it is natural progression for Guernsey Harbours to adopt the PMSC in order to provide the safest service to the Harbour's users and stakeholders.
The process to implementing the PMSC involves a number of factors which include the review of existing legislation, consultation with port users, assessing marine risks, formalising standard operating procedures for marine operations, incorporating existing accident reporting and investigation routines, identifying training needs for Port Staff, establishing robust emergency procedures and identifying key responsibilities and accountabilities.
Guernsey Harbours will publish a Marine Safety Policy which outlines the organisations commitment to maintain a safe harbour and how we plan to achieve this.
When all the factors are in place Guernsey Harbours will make an initial internal audit of compliance, if this is a success then Guernsey Harbours will issue a statement of compliance along with our first Safety Plan. The Safety Plan will contain our safety targets and objectives for the next two years. Within that two year period we will invite an external authority to objectively audit our compliance with our own policy and procedures.