Keynote address - NI HKG

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Speech by Mr. H.M. TUNG, Acting Director of Marine
at the NAUTICAL INSTITUE CONFERENCE
on board M.V. “Star Pisces” on Friday, 8 November 2013

We are one in Promoting Excellence in Marine Service
through Marine Spatial Planning
1.  Chairman, my dear friends in the Nautical Institute, ladies and
gentlemen, good morning to you all.

2.  I am most privileged to have been invited to join you on board this
beautiful cruise ship for an exchange of ideas on the interesting subject of
“Marine Spatial Planning” with maritime professionals and other
stakeholders in Hong Kong’s waterways.
What is Marine Spatial Planning?

3.  Allow me to start by giving you an illustration of what Marine
Spatial Planning (MSP) means. I believe you would be familiar with
this example. Land is a very precious resource in the world as ocean
covers 70% of the earth’s surface. It is therefore the public policy of
some governments to regulate land use in an efficient and ethical way in
order to prevent conflicts among stakeholders, taking into consideration
of their own constraints or interests. Land use planning is a tool adopted
by some governments to manage land development and to plan for the
ever-growing demand of the community in terms of housing,
transportation, utilities, recreation, etc. while safeguarding natural
resources.

4.  Similarly, some governments employ MSP for the effective use of
water areas under their jurisdiction. According to the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, MSP is a public
process of analyzing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution
of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic and
social objectives through professional studies and consultation to reach
the most possible consensus. This is the basic concept that I will follow
in illustrating the role of the Hong Kong Marine Department in the
management and planning of the Port of Hong Kong.

The Role of the Hong Kong Marine Department
5.  Hong Kong is fortunate in having a sheltered natural harbour
providing good access and a safe haven for vessels calling from around
the world. Hong Kong is located on the Far East trade routes and is in
the geographical centre of the Asia-Pacific region. Its excellent natural
geographical location is just one of the factors that have enabled Hong
Kong to transform successfully from a small fishing village into an
international maritime centre over some 170 years. The concerted
efforts of the government, the private sector and the people of Hong
Kong as well as our strong drive for excellence have also been
indispensable in contributing to the success and continued development
of the Port of Hong Kong. The role of the Hong Kong Marine
Department is to plan and manage the Port of Hong Kong so as to
facilitate the safe and expeditious movement of ships, cargoes and
passengers within Hong Kong waters.

The Port of Hong Kong
6.  Strategically located in the now fast-developing Asia-Pacif
Region, Hong Kong is also a gateway to southern China. Our port is
well-served by frequent sailings to and from ports around the world.
About 190,900 vessels (30,700 ocean-going vessels (OGVs) and 160,200
river trade vessels (RTVs)) entered into Hong Kong waters in 2012, with
about 410 liner services per week connecting to 520 destinations
worldwide. Of these, about 220 were intra-Asia shipping services.
These figures underpin Hong Kong’s position as a regional hub port.
7.  The Hong Kong Port is renowned for its efficient cargo handling
operations. It handled 23.1 million TEUs of containers last year. This
basically involves four major modes of operation to cope with the
different operational and business needs of shippers and consignees.
These modes of operation are, namely the Kwai Tsing Container
Terminals, mid-stream operation, the River Trade Terminal and the public
cargo working areas.

8.  As a matter of fact, the Hong Kong Port is also known for
providing fast and wide-ranging cross-boundary ferry services for
conveying passengers to and from Hong Kong and Macau as well as 10
nearby ports within the Pearl River Delta region in the Mainland. In
2012, the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal, the China Ferry Terminal
and the Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal handled a total of 26 million
passengers with 136,500 ferry trips operating to or from these terminals.

9.  On average, the Hong Kong Port handles about 44 TEUs of
containers and 49 cross-boundary ferry passengers every minute.
Marine Traffic Management System
10.  Maintaining the efficiency of the port could, no doubt, contribute
towards the economic growth of the city. However, we know that it will
not be achievable if we ignore the safety of marine traffic. Our port
handles 1,040 movements of OGVs and RTVs every day. Besides, there
are 124 high speed passenger ferries travelling around the port and about
17,000 local vessels simultaneously providing support to the shipping
activities in the waters of Hong Kong. The Marine Department plays
the very important role of regulating the very heavy marine traffic in the
port. We plan the waterways and manage marine traffic for vessels
navigating in the waters of Hong Kong to ensure that their visits and
operation are as safe and expeditious as possible.

11.  The comprehensive marine traffic management system of Hong
Kong designed by the Marine Department consists of the following major
components to regulate the diverse and dense traffic in the waters of
Hong Kong:
11.1 strategic waterway delineation in the form of traffic separation
schemes and fairways ensures systematic organization in the
movement of vessels so that mariners may navigate in a safe
manner amidst the dense traffic, thus the risk of collision is
minimized. For instance, traffic separation schemes are in
operation in the East Lamma Channel and the Tathong Channel;
11.2 special measures in the Ma Wan and Kap Shui Mun areas control

the direction of marine traffic flow to minimize head-on encounters.
These special measures are the establishment of traffic lights and
waiting areas at appropriate locations for vessel traffic control;

11.3 special controls are in force in areas of dense traffic, e.g. vessels of
greater than 120 metres in length are generally prohibited from
transiting the busy Central Harbour unless there is a genuine need
and the traffic situation so permits;

11.4 the Vessel Traffic Control Centre (VTC) operates 24/7 to monitor
continuously the traffic situation and regulate vessel movements
through the Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) system. This system
consists of 12 shore-based radars and a computerized radar
surveillance system that could automatically track a maximum of
5,000 targets at any one time. This enables the VTC to virtually
visualize the marine traffic situation in different areas of Hong
Kong on electronic display units. Based on the information
provided by this system, our vessel traffic regulators are able to
provide traffic information and advice to mariners through VHF
communication. They could also issue directions to ships which do
not comply with international or local regulations or which may
endanger other port users. Furthermore, there are 12 closed
CCTV cameras installed at various strategic locations, e.g. areas of
heavy traffic at Ma Wan, Kau Yi Chau and Waglan Island, to
provide real time visual vessel images. The VTS system is also
capable of receiving and displaying information of vessels
transmitted by AIS on board the vessels;

11.5 the Harbour Patrol Section operates 25 patrol launches to provide
immediate on-scene support for the VTC and responds to maritime
emergencies as well as enforce marine legislative requirements;

11.6 compulsory pilotage for visiting vessels of above 3,000 gross tons;
and

11.7 about 530 aids to navigation are placed and maintained in the
waters of Hong Kong for the safety of navigation.

Other Projects
12.  Apart from the marine traffic system, some new projects are under
progress to enhance the competitiveness of the Hong Kong Port and step
up regulation of the marine traffic in certain water areas. These projects
are outlined below.
New Fairways in waters north of Lantau Island
12.1 Three new fairways are proposed to be established in the waters
north of Lantau Island. Those waters are home to one of the
busiest waterways in Hong Kong, with as many as 800 vessel
movements per day. Vessels of various types and sizes are
involved. These include large deep draught coal carriers, tankers,
ultra large container ships, ocean tugs, river trade vessels and high
speed ferries. Although a general traffic pattern has been formed
by the majority of vessels, crossing and head-on situations
frequently happen. For this reason and taking into account the
recommendations in the Marine Accident Investigation Report on
the collision accident between “Neftegaz-67” and “Yao Hai” in
2008, the three-fairway proposal was raised based on the findings
of a related traffic review and the results of navigational scenarios
studies conducted with navigational simulations, following
consultations with the Hong Kong Pilot Association, the concerned
Mainland Authorities. The establishment of the three fairways
involves the re-location of navigation buoys. It will improve the
organization of marine traffic in the water areas concerned. This
proposal was endorsed separately by the Pilot Advisory Committee
and Port Operation Committee this year. Further consultation
with other stakeholders will follow. Implementation of this
project is expected in the last quarter of 2014.

Upgrading of the Vessel Traffic Services System
12.2 The VTS system of the Marine Department started operation back
in 1989. To cope with technological advancement and traffic
growth, the system needs to be continuously upgraded. The 1st
generation VTS system was upgraded in 2002 using the latest
technology at the time to cater for anticipated traffic growth for the
next decade. Likewise, it is now time to further upgrade the
system to meet future challenges with the application of
state-of-the-art technology. Funding for the new system has been
approved by the Legislative Council. The Marine Department is
now working closely with the Electrical and Mechanical Services
Department on the technical specifications of the new system
which will be able to monitor 10,000 targets simultaneously. We
are planning to invite tenders in end this year for the procurement
and installation of the new system. The project is expected to be
completed in the third quarter of 2016.
Establishment of 24-Hour Command Centre in HPS Office
12.3 To cope with its operational needs, the Marine Department has,
since April 2013, operated a 24-hour Command Centre under the
Harbour Patrol Section to support the harbour patrol fleet in
discharging its patrol duties in a more effective and efficient
manner, in particular when dealing with marine emergencies and
incidents and enforcing the law.
Dredging of Kwai Tsing Container Basin and its Approach Channel
12.4 Currently, the water depth at the Kwai Tsing Container Basin and
its approach channel is not sufficient for the navigation of the new
generation of ultra large container ships (ULCS) at all tides. In
order to maintain the competitiveness of our container port as a
regional hub port, and to meet the demand of the container
shipping industry, the SAR Government is taking forward a project
to dredge the sea-bed of the Kwai Tsing Container Basin and some
portions of the Northern Fairway and Western Fairway to a
navigable depth of 17 metres below chart datum. The dredging
contract commenced on 30 August 2013. Upon completion of the
project by the end of 2015, ULCS can proceed directly to the
container terminals without the need of waiting for the tidal
window. Apart from the Marine Department, various government
departments also have roles to play in this project. For instance,
the Civil Engineering and Development Department, the
Environmental Protection Department, the Agriculture, Fisheries
and Conservation Department and the Drainage Services
Department etc are involved throughout the planning, consultation
and dredging stages.
Review of Demand and Supply of Sheltered/Berthing Spaces for Local
Vessels
12.5 Typhoon Shelter Assessments have been periodically conducted by
the Marine Department with involvement from the Transport and
Housing Bureau, the Planning Department, and the Civil
Engineering and Development Department since 1998. The
assessments aim to forecast the projected situation of demand and
supply of sheltered space and provide input for the Government to
plan the provision of typhoon shelters. Owing to recent industry
concerns about berthing spaces for pleasure vessels and as an
initiative to tie in with the next assessment, the Marine Department
is planning to conduct an overall review of the status of all local
vessels regarding their place of stay during normal days and under
adverse weather. Like land resources, water areas are very limited
in Hong Kong. So studying how to make the best use of such
areas will be one of the objectives of the review.

Measures to Control Marine Emissions
12.6 To protect the marine environment, we are working on two
legislative exercises to control emissions from vessels. One is to
enhance the control on dark-smoke emission and the other is to
give effect to the latest MARPOL Annex VI requirements. In
addition, through our Vessel Traffic Services Information System,
we have also assisted the Environmental Protection Department in
implementing an incentive scheme to encourage OGVs to switch to
low sulphur fuel while at berth by reducing 50% of the port
facilities and light dues.

Conclusion
13.  The Port of Hong Kong is one of the busiest in the world, being
visited by a huge number of different types of vessels. Having said
that, its overall safety record has been “very good in such a diverse and
busy port”, as noted in an expert report.
14.  Over the last ten years, there were on average about 340 vessel
traffic incidents against hundreds of thousands of vessel movements per
year. Most of the incidents were minor in nature, but there have been
exceptional and individual cases of serious accidents like the collision
near Lamma Island. The main reason for the low incidence rate, we
believe, is that we have a high level of co-operation with responsible
players in the industry. We work in partnership with them, frequently
exchanging views and exploring new initiatives so that we can make
appropriate plans, policies and decisions that best suit the needs of our
port as well as maritime businesses. I trust the measures and projects
outlined to you in this presentation have served to illustrate that.

15.  There are other marine projects in the pipeline that require careful
studies and thoughtful planning such as the realignment of fairways in
Central and Western Harbour and the extension of anchorages in the
southern part of Hong Kong waters. The Marine Department will
follow the established communication channels with the industry to work
out the most feasible proposals in our on-going efforts to improve marine
traffic and enhance the competitiveness of the Port of Hong Kong.

16.  Let me close by emphasizing that we are all responsible for the
present and future marine spatial planning in Hong Kong. The marine
spatial planning can only be effective and efficient if we act together as
ONE. Let us then be united in our purpose and be ONE in promoting
excellence in marine spatial planning.

Thank you.
November 2013
Marine Department
Hong Kong
Postal Address:

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17 April 2019
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