Providing safe navigation and a secure harbour are the priorities of Port Authorities around the globe. International security and border control are increasingly important in the modern world and the Port of Cromarty Firth’s main concern is for the safety and security of the people and vessels that visit the Firth.
- NHS Inform – https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19
- Department for Transport – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-shipping-and-sea-ports-guidance/guidance-for-shipping-and-sea-ports-on-coronavirus-covid-19
- Health Protection Scotland– https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/a-to-z-of-topics/covid-19/
- World Health Organization– https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
- NHS– https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Port of Cromarty Firth 2020 Cruise Season Update
Given the ongoing developments of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Port of Cromarty Firth can confirm that due to cancellations, there will be no Cruise calls to Invergordon prior to 14th May. The Scottish Government, Public Health Scotland and the Port Health Authority are taking proactive measures to mitigate against the impact of COVID-19 and are providing instructions for the Port of Cromarty Firth to follow. As the COVID-19 developments remain fluid, the Cruise calls scheduled for later in May into Invergordon are under constant review. The Port will follow the instructions, advice and guidance from the governing authorities and experts as it becomes available.
Port of Cromarty Firth Health & Safety Procedures
The Port of Cromarty Firth operates within the Transport industry and directly supports the Utilities industries (oil, gas, electricity and water), therefore our staff and activities are included in the UK Government’s ‘Key Workers’ classification. The health and safety of Port staff, Port users and the public is vital, whilst also minimising the disruption to our essential operations. Accordingly, the Port have been following the Port of Cromarty Firth Business Continuity Plan, and implemented effective measures in our offices, onsite and in the Firth.
The key health and safety measures which the Port has taken include:
- Mitigating the risk to staff by reducing to core functions only onsite.
- Utilising additional technology to allow home/remote working for as many staff as possible.
- Telephone and video conferencing are being utilised throughout the business to reduce face-to-face contact and facilitate staff engagement.
- Non-essential visitors are not permitted to enter Port buildings.
- Stringent cleaning practices are in place and continued awareness of the importance of good hand hygiene and social distancing is being provided.
- A contractor has been appointed in order to provide NHS compliant deep cleaning services, if required.
- Strict Government maritime procedures for all vessels entering the Cromarty Firth have been implemented.
In light of global precautions for COVID-19, Port of Cromarty Firth have put in place safeguards to mitigate against the risk of COVID-19 entering the Cromarty Firth and the surrounding environment. The Port are following the instructions from Scottish Government, Public Heath Scotland, Port Health Authority and the World Health Organisation.
In advance of any vessel (including cruise liners) arriving into the Cromarty Firth, they must complete a statutory Maritime Declaration of Health form, which has been specifically amended to address COVID-19. This must state if any passenger(s) or crewmember(s) is suffering from any of the symptoms of COVID-19 or if they have travelled from, visited or transited via known areas infected by the virus.
The form will also indicate the origin of the ship, when it left the origin port, and all ports where the vessel has docked during the 14 days prior to arrival. As the governing body and regulator, the responsibility for managing COVID-19 rests with Highland Council’s Port Health Authority, who will examine the form and only if they are satisfied will the go-ahead be given for the ship to enter the Port.
If a ship declares there are symptoms of COVID-19 on board, it will be held outside the Cromarty Firth limits to allow the Port Health Authority to make their assessment of the situation and quarantine the ship if necessary. Our pilots will only board an incoming vessel when it has been deemed that it is safe to do so, and authorisation has been given for them to proceed.
All quarantined ships will be the responsibility of the Highland Council’s Port Health Authority, NHS Highland, Health Protection Scotland and Scottish Government.
As Highland Council’s Port Health Authority is the regulating authority for communicable diseases (including COVID-19), they engage directly with the NHS and Scottish Government to follow and implement procedures under the World Health Organisation’s International Health Regulations to prevent the spread of diseases into the community. The Port will follow statutory guidelines and will assist in the Port Health Authority’s procedures.
The Port are closely monitoring new developments and our policies and procedures will be modified as necessary with the utmost consideration for the health and safety of the public, our staff, passengers and crew members. This includes the management and access of all vessels coming into and out of the Cromarty Firth, as per the World Health Authority guidance.
What Can You Do? Primary Control Measures from Health Protection Scotland
Everyone can reduce the risk of getting or spreading any respiratory infections (including COVID-19) by adopting the following effective prevention and treatment measures:
- Maintaining good hand hygiene, including regularly washing your hands with soap after coughing, sneezing or going to the toilet, and prior to eating and drinking. Please follow this hand cleaning technique advice sheet and wash hands for 20 seconds.
- Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with disposable tissues and disposing of them immediately in nearest bin after use.
- Avoiding contact with people who are unwell or that have a respiratory illness and avoid using their personal items such as their mobile phone.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Follow ‘Social Distancing’ practices by staying 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
View the Port’s COVID-19 Contingency Plan here: Port of Cromarty Firth – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Contingency Plan – PDF
Port Marine Safety Code
The Port Marine Safety Code (the Code) applies to all harbour authorities in the UK that have statutory powers and duties. The Guide to Good Practice on Port Marine Operations was refreshed in February 2017 in conjunction with the current version of the code which was published in 2016.
Cromarty Firth Port Authority (t/a Port of Cromarty Firth) is committed to discharging all of its statutory duties and to remaining open, accountable and fit for purpose. To comply with all of the requirements of the Port Marine Safety Code and to follow the guidance in the Guide to Good Practice on Port Marine Operations, Port of Cromarty Firth (PoCF) publish a marine safety plan every 3 years. The plan details how PoCF conducts marine operations in the Cromarty Firth within its area of jurisdiction.
PoCF’s marine safety policy and operational procedure documents are based on the principles of risk assessment and produced to ensure that risk is either eliminated or reduced to as low as reasonably practicable. All associated marine safety documentation is reviewed regularly and after any relevant incidents.
PoCF manages its marine operations through the marine management team, in accordance with its marine safety policy and Port Marine Safety Code requirements. The organisation works with others in managing its resources and the services needed to achieve this result, however it prioritises the need for safety to be critical to all aspects of its marine operations and the environment throughout.
PoCF recognises that a robust Marine Safety Management System (Marine SMS) requires external and internal checks to ensure that performance against its policies and procedures is reviewed. An independent external audit is carried out annually by the designated person, with the results provided to the Duty Holder (Board members). The last external audit was carried out in Sept 2016 and the Port was deemed compliant across all areas of the Port Marine Safety Code. Internal audits are also carried out by the Marine management or Ports Health and Safety team where this is deemed necessary by changes in procedures or when advised by the designated person.
Channel navigation buoys are maintained by the Northern Lighthouse Board under contract. Navigation and statistics of reliability in 2017 were: Category 1, 100%; Category 2, 99.84% and Category 3, 100%.
Port of Cromarty Firth Pilot vessels are subject to a strict inspection and survey regime as laid out in the Small Commercial Vessel Code, looking at all areas such as safety equipment, hulls and machinery, through hull fittings, etc. These surveys are carried out to a strict schedule by an Independent surveyor (Mecal Ltd).
Marine staff training has been completed to the standards laid out in the Port of Cromarty Firth Marine Safety Management plan.
Drills and Exercises
With responsibility for safeguarding the waters under our control; the Port undertakes regular drills and exercises to test procedures, training and responses to situations including oil spills, evacuations, security breaches etc.
Providing safe navigation and a secure harbour are the priorities of port authorities around the globe. International security and border control are increasingly important in the modern world and the Port of Cromarty Firth’s main concern is for the safety and security of the people and vessels that visit the Firth.
Cromarty Firth Port Authority, Port Office, Shore Road, Invergordon, IV18 0HD
+44 (0) 1349 852308
Chief Executive – Bob Buskie
General Manager – Calum Slater
Commercial & Finance – Richard Fea
Business Development – Joanne Allday
Marketing and PR – Stuart MacDonald Butler