The Marine Department administers the port. Its principal function is to ensure
navigation safety and efficiency of shipping activities in the waters of Hong Kong.
This is achieved through comprehensive traffic management, harbour patrols, vessel
traffic services, provision of mooring buoys and strict enforcement of major
international maritime conventions.
The department liaises closely with shipping and commercial organisations
through a number of advisory and consultative committees. Users and operators of
port facilities can provide advice related to port administration matters through these
channels. The Port Operations Committee advises on all matters related to the
efficient operation of the port, the Pilotage Advisory Committee on matters related to
pilotage services, and the Port Area Security Advisory Committee on port security. In
addition, the Provisional Local Vessel Advisory Committee deals with local craft
matters while the Shipping Consultative Committee gives advice on operating the
Hong Kong Shipping Register (HKSR) and Hong Kong's participation in the
International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
The Marine Department's website (www.mardep.gov.hk) provides a wide range
of information on the port and the HKSR. The home page also carries Marine
Department notices and gives details of the department's services and facilities.
Special features include the application of Really Simple Syndication (RSS) to publish
frequently updated Merchant Shipping Notices; the Hong Kong Shipping Directory, in
which Hong Kong-based marine services companies are listed; real-time movements
of ocean-going vessels (OGVs) and river-trade cargo vessels in port; examination
schedules for seafarers and verification of Port Clearance Permits issued to OGVs; and
port and maritime statistics providing the latest monthly and quarterly statistics on
vessel arrivals, cargo and container throughput. The Marine Department eBusiness
System was launched in December 2004 permitting 35 types of online submissions
and is now being enhanced to provide more eBusiness facilities.
Vessel Traffic Management
The department's Vessel Traffic Centre (VTC) provides traffic services to vessels
participating in the Vessel Traffic Service. Under the arrangement, the movements of
vessels are regulated by the VTC through a computer-aided radar network, VHF
radios and a database information system, which provide full surveillance of all
navigable waters in Hong Kong. The traffic service system has been upgraded to cater
for the continual growth and future demands of marine traffic.
Harbour Patrol and Local Control Stations
The Harbour Patrol Section operates a fleet of 20 patrol launches and provides
on-scene support for the VTC. Apart from responding to maritime emergencies, the
main duties of the patrol launches are law enforcement and the maintenance of port
and shipping safety.
In addition, the department operates a local traffic control station at Kwai
Chung Container Terminal 8. The station, manned 24 hours a day and equipped with
a dedicated patrol launch, provides navigational assistance to vessels in the vicinity.
Carriage of Dangerous Goods
The department conducts random shipboard inspections of vessels in Hong Kong
waters in accordance with international and local standards. The dangerous goods
legislation is being revised to conform with the new requirements of the International
Maritime Dangerous Goods Code.
Pilotage is compulsory in Hong Kong waters for vessels of 3 000 gross tonnes
and more, oil tankers of 1 000 gross tonnes and more, and all gas carriers.
The Director of Marine is the authority regulating and monitoring the pilotage
service with the assistance of the Pilotage Advisory Committee, which has a
membership comprising a wide spectrum of port users and shipping interests. The
pilotage service is provided through the Hong Kong Pilots Association, which is a
private company. The service is available round-the-clock throughout the year.
In 2006, 14 000 local craft — including passenger, cargo, fishing and pleasure
vessels — were licensed in Hong Kong to provide a variety of efficient and continuous
services for the port and the community. To rationalise the licensing and management
of these vessels, a new Merchant Shipping (Local Vessels) Ordinance was drawn up in
2006 and will go into effect in early 2007.
The Hydrographic Office carries out hydrographic surveys and produces bilingual
nautical charts and publications. It also produces Electronic Navigational Charts.
Notices to Mariners for the updating of charts are issued once every two weeks. The
office also provides real-time information about tides and tidal stream predictions
through the Internet (www.hydro.gov.hk).
Planning, Development and Port Security
The department's Planning, Development and Port Security Branch provides
professional advice on port and marine projects, and coordinates publicity on all
marine development works. These include developments in Tuen Mun Area 38,
Central, Wan Chai, Southeast Kowloon and Tseung Kwan O, and the proposed new
links to cities in the Pearl River Delta.
The branch is also the executive arm of the designated authority for
implementing the IMO's International Ship and Port Facility Security Code for port
facilities in Hong Kong. Current tasks include monitoring security exercises and drills
conducted at the different port facilities and carrying out annual audits of port facility
Codes of Practice on Safety of Works
Codes of Practice (COP) on Safety of Works were issued by the Marine
Department to enhance marine industrial safety. They provide guidance on matters
such as safety at work, safety procedures for working on top of containers and
personal protective clothing and equipment.