Place of Refuge

By the end of 2006, HHI received a request from the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure to carry out preliminary research to resolve the issue of PoR for ships in need of assistance in the area of responsibility of the Republic of Croatia. Taking into account the short deadline (31 December 2007), preliminary research focused on elaboration of existing worldwide experiences and regulations, proposing a methodological approach in resolving PoR issues.

Due to the complexity of this issue as reflected in the lack of detailed regulations (IMO, EU, and RC) and unstandardized world practice, PoR issue involving numerous spatial parameters and a multicriteria analysis, and considering the existence of organizations in RC engaged in sea-related activities, it was decided that PoR issue would be resolved through the Project on Places of Refuge in the Republic of Croatia.

Project objectives were defined so as to resolve the PoR problem as a legal, expert-organizational, and information system issue. Joint project group for monitoring the project realization was established at Ministry level, while HHI was in charge of coordinating all the work. All objectives were accomplished on schedule, with the following results.              

Study of Places of Refuge is a document providing scientific and technical basis to solve specific regulatory and technical issues of PoR. It defines the concept according to which any sheltered bay, cove, harbour or part of the coast is a potential PoR regardless of ship’s size or type. It gives an analysis of maritime traffic in the Adriatic Sea, especially off its eastern coast, showing characteristics and assessment of possibilities for intervention in case of maritime accidents or other emergencies and threats to ship’s safety or to the environment. Study describes work procedures to be followed in case of rendering assistance to ships, as well as main characteristics of potential PoRs, following the experience and guidelines in IMO and EC regulations. Study provides the concept of computer-aided decision making about admittance of a ship to PoR.

Ordinance on Places of Refuge regulates the procedure for selection and granting access to a place of refuge for ships in need of assistance, specifying: competent bodies and responsible persons for selection and granting access to PoR, conditions to be fulfilled by PoR, conditions and manner of use for PoR, manner of adopting and amending the Plan for accommodation of ships in distress, obligations regarding compensations and reimbursements, general insurance, or other financial guarantees for ships, and procedure following the approval to access a PoR.

Plan for accommodation of ships in distress, as an integral part of Ordinance, was drawn up according to IMO and EC guidelines. Plan is an operational document containing information and description of procedures to be followed by competent bodies after receiving the request for PoR.

ADRIAGIS is a computer application in a GIS environment. It enables rapid access and analysis of relevant safety, economic, legislative, ecological, logistic, and technical-technological parameters, for the MRCC/MAS duty officer and other persons responsible for final decision making about the request for PoR. Application contents are fully harmonized with Directive 2002/59/EC and IMO Resolution A.949(23).         

Beyond project objectives, Study on Places of Refuge recognized the need to adopt and implement the proposed methodology and the concept of a complete computer program presented in the pilot project. The concept is based on the need to minimize subjective evaluation in the procedure of decision making about the request for PoR. Where multicriteria problems are concerned (13 relevant criteria were identified in the project), this is possible only with the aid of a computer program. The concept of computer-aided decision making on ship’s request for PoR was accomplished in the second stage of the project, now being in operation at the MRCC Rijeka.