If you own a shipping company or a marine business, your company should comply with the Port Marine Safety Code. Developed in 2000, The UK Port Marine Safety Code (PMSC) offers a national standard for port safety in the UK. It aims to 'improve safety of those who work in ports, their ships, passengers and cargoes, and the environment'.
All harbour authorities are expected to comply with the code. As the code is not statutory, failure to comply is not an offence in itself, but the code does set out references to legal duties that do exist and not adhering to it may be indicative of a breach of those duties.
The Code has been developed to improve safety in UK ports and to enable harbour authorities to manage their marine operations to nationally agreed standards. It provides the standard against which the policies, procedures and the performance of harbour authorities can be measured. The code also describes the role of board members, officers and key personnel in relation to safety of navigation and summarises the main statutory duties and powers of harbour authorities.
The authority must comply with these duties and also develop an effective marine safety management system based on formal risk assessment. When fully implemented, the Code should reduce the risk of incidents occurring in harbour waters and provide some protection for the duty holder if an incident does occur.