King's Harbour Master Portsmouth

LNTM No 121/23

1. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN by the King's Harbour Master Portsmouth that the Port Marine Safety Code ‘Guide to Good Practice’ requires special consideration be given to tows involving unusual objects and towage events of a non-routine nature (relevant extract of the Guide to Good Practice below).

2. Ship owners, towage contractors, tug masters, project managers and agents are advised that the person responsible for the safety and planning of the manoeuvre (and thereby acting as the Towing Master) must be clearly identified for all operations and will be responsible for the production of risk assessments, method statements and passage plans which must be discussed and agreed in advance with the KHM.

3. A “Non-Routine Towage Assessment” Form, copy attached, must be submitted to KHM’s Office in advance of the operation. When the details of the operation have been fully discussed and agreed, the written approval of KHM, will be given on this form, and it then returned to the applicant.

4. The form should be obtained from, completed and returned to, along with other relevant documentation, [email protected].at least 14 days before the intended date of the operation.

5. A Non - routine towage operation is considered to be an unusual towed object or dead ship arriving from sea into the Dockyard port of Portsmouth or departing from the Dockyard port of Portsmouth to sea or an object that has not been towed within the dockyard port of Portsmouth in the preceding two years.

6. Extract of The Port Marine Safety Code Guide to Good Practice (dated February 2018) Dead Tows & Project Towage

10.4.8 Unusual objects and non-routine towage events will require individual assessment, including risk assessment, and planning.

10.4.9 For arrivals/departures from/to sea, non-routine towage events should be pre-approved by the facility utilising a towage plan format which includes risk assessment and method statements regarding:

  • harbour tug positioning and utilisation;
  • whether the tow is to be transferred from the sea tug: transferring tows creates additional hazards, particularly handling heavy equipment, and whether the sea tug remains fast until the tow is alongside will depend on berth characteristics, locks etc., the characteristics of the sea tug and the availability of suitable harbour tugs;
  • riggers/line handlers being transferred to the tow to recover sea gear, emergency tow lines and to prepare the tow for berthing;
  • weather limitations and sea state;
  • suitability of destination berth and whether adjacent berths need to be cleared; and
  • the number of suitably experienced pilots required for the sea tug and/or tow.

10.4.10 For in-harbour non-routine tows, key decisions should be recorded and the person (acting as towing or barge master) who is responsible for the safety of the manoeuvre and the towage plan, should be clearly identified. This person is responsible for:

  • conducting an appropriate risk assessment/safety case to be submitted to the harbour authority;
  • producing a method statement;
  • the passage plan; and
  • the safety of the manoeuvre.

10.4.11 The facility should give written approval for the tow to go ahead once the towage plan has been reviewed and agreed.

Tuesday 17 Oct 2023

King's Harbour Master

Owners, Agents, Charterers, Marinas, Yacht Clubs and Recreational Sailing Organisations should ensure that the contents of this Notice are made known to the masters or persons in charge of their vessels or craft.