In from the beginning
Ignoring marine risk assessments can be costly in terms of incidents and operational inefficiency
Problems in marine access often start at conception as the decision to build a new terminal or modify a port area is driven primarily by a market-focused investment stream.
For this reason the initial feasibility studies tend to only consider the proposed site location relative to the perceived supply or market for that commodity, and the potential impact on neighbours as evaluated as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
“Unfortunately”, says consultant Stephen Gyi, “this tends to only focus on the proposed land site, with project’s contractors believing their responsibility ends at the berth even without a vessel alongside, and excludes any assessment of the marine aspects of the project - despite the fact the intention is to build a ‘marine terminal’.”
He goes on to say that very often projects don’t get involved in Marine Risk Assessments, believing the port authority’s own risk assessment has been updated and adequately covers the expected changes within its jurisdiction.
“Moreover, most are reluctant to provide access to their latest Marine Risk Assessment, stating this would have an adverse impact should it get out into the public domain,” he says. However when pressured, although some do succumb to letting the project see their risk assessment documentation, the results are often dim.
“At this point, we have found a surprising amount of ports have inadequate Marine Risk Assessments or don’t even bother updating existing ones,” says Capt Gyi. “The fact is, some simply do not see it as being in their remit, even though this leaves them open to litigation if anything goes wrong.”
He concludes that with so much expenditure at stake on a new project, both capital and operational, it’s only “prudent” for a project to undertake its own Marine Risk Assessment along with the other studies, and not assume it will somehow simply be covered along the way.
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