newhaven header

Port Marine Safety Code & NPP


The PMSC sets out the national standard for every aspect of port marine safety with the aim of enhancing safety for everyone who uses or works in the Port marine environment. It is endorsed by the UK Government and representatives from across the maritime sector, and, while the code is not mandatory, these bodies have a very strong expectation that all harbour authorities will comply with it.

The PMSC is applicable both to statutory harbour authorities and to other marine facilities which may not have statutory powers or duties. It is strongly recommended that organisations or facilities which are not a statutory harbour authority, such as berths and terminals, seek a proportionate compliance with the Code, by adopting a formal risk assessment process and the implementation of a marine safety management system (MSMS) which complies with the Code.

The PMSC has been developed to improve safety in the port marine environment and to enable organisations to manage their marine operations to nationally agreed standards. It provides a measure by which organisations can be accountable for discharging their legal powers and duties to run harbours or facilities safely and effectively. It also provides a standard against which the policies, procedures and performance of organisations can be measured. The Code describes the role of the board members, officers and key personnel in relation to safety of navigation and summarises the main statutory duties and powers of harbour authorities. The PMSC is designed to reduce the risk of incidents occurring within the port marine environment and to clarify the responsibilities of organisations within its scope.

In conjunction with the PMSC, the Guide to Good Practice on Port Marine Operations (The Guide) underpins the ethos of the Code by providing guidance and examples to assist organisations in promoting and executing safe, efficient and accountable port marine operations based on industry best practice.

The PMSC is primarily intended for the “Duty Holder”. This is the Board of Directors, who are both individually and collectively accountable for marine safety. All Duty Holders should therefore familiarise themselves with the Code and review its implications for their marine operations. It is strongly advised that the Duty Holder and all Officers involved in marine safety also consider the advice on how to comply with the Code provided in the Guide to Good Practice, and also review recommendations and the common lessons learnt from major incidents as published by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB).

The PMSC refers to some of the existing legal duties and powers that affect organisations in relation to marine safety, but it does not in itself create any new legal duties. There are however several measures which, although not mandatory, are key to the successful implementation of the Code. In order to comply with the Code, the following 10 items must be considered by the Duty Holder.

The PMSC “Ten Commandments”. 

i). Duty Holder (DH). Formally identify and designate the DH, whose members are individually and collectively accountable for compliance with the PMSC and for their performance in ensuring safe marine operations in the harbour and its approaches.

ii). Designated Person (DP). A DP must be appointed to provide independent assurance about the operation of the MSMS. The DP must have direct access to the DH. 

iii). Legislation. The DH must review and be aware of their existing powers based on local and national legislation; seeking additional powers if required in order to promote safe navigation.

iv). Duties and Powers. Comply with the duties and powers under existing legislation, as appropriate.

v). Risk Assessment. Ensure all marine risks are formally assessed and are eliminated or as low as reasonably practicable in accordance with good practice.

vi). MSMS. Operate an effective MSMS which has been developed after consultation, is based on formal risk assessment, and refers to an appropriate approach to incident investigation.

vii). Review and Audit. Monitor, review and audit the risk assessment and MSMS on a regular basis – the independent DP has a key role in providing assurance for the DH.

viii). Competence. Use competent people (i.e. trained, qualified and experienced) in positions of responsibility for managing marine and navigational safety.

ix). Plan. Publish a safety plan showing how the standard in the Code will be met and a report assessing the performance against the plan at least every 3 years. 

x). Aids to Navigation. Comply with directions from the General Lighthouse Authority and supply information & returns as required.


i). General

NPP will abide by the following general principles: -

  • The Duty Holder is accountable for managing operations within the Port safely and efficiently.
  • NPP has a range of statutory and non-statutory duties.
  • NPP will make a clear published commitment to comply with the standards of the PMSC.
  • The PMSC represents the national standard against which the policies, procedures and performance of NPP may be measured.
  • Executive and operational responsibilities for marine safety will be clearly assigned, and those entrusted with those responsibilities will be appropriately trained, experienced and qualified to undertake their duties and be answerable for their performance.
  • A Designated Person will be appointed to provide independent assurance about the operation of its MSMS. The Designated Person will have direct access to the Board.

ii). Duties and Powers

NPP have a range of statutory and non-statutory duties and powers relating to marine operations. These duties include an obligation to conserve and facilitate the safe use of the harbour, and a duty of care against loss caused by the authority’s negligence. Duties to ensure the safety of marine operations are matched with general and specific powers to enable the authority to discharge these duties. There are procedures for these to be changed where necessary.

iii). The Duty Holder

NPP will have a Duty Holder who is accountable for its compliance with the PMSC and its performance in ensuring safe marine operations in the harbour and its approaches. The Board of Directors are collectively and individually accountable under the Code.

The role of the Duty Holder will include:-

  • Maintaining strategic oversight of and providing direction of all aspects of port marine operations, including marine and navigation safety.
  • Responsibility for the development of policies, plans, systems and procedures for safe navigation.
  • Ensuring that assessments and reviews are undertaken as required to maintain and improve marine and navigation safety.
  • Ensuring that NPP seeks and adopts appropriate powers for the effective enforcement of their regulations, and for setting dues at a level which adequately funds the discharge of all NPP’s duties.
  • Ensuring that annual Marine Management meetings are held, reports obtained from the Designated Person and the Harbour Master, and that these are fed into the Action Plan, Safety Policy and Safety Plan.
  • Contributing to the 3 yearly compliance exercise by providing to the MCA a declaration of their compliance with the Code.

NPP will officially appoint professional people such as a Harbour Master, and will authorise Pilots, to safeguard the safety of the operation of the harbour, but the Duty Holder cannot assign or delegate its accountability for compliance with the PMSC.

All Board members should take time to gain an appropriate insight and understanding of the Port’s marine activities, MSMS and supporting policies and procedures. The Managing Director will represent the Board on a day to day basis and the Designated Person will report directly to him.

iv). The Designated Person

NPP has appointed the Port Manager as the Designated Person to provide assurance directly to the Duty Holder that the MSMS is working effectively. His main responsibility is to determine, through assessment and audit, the effectiveness of the MSMS in ensuring compliance with the PMSC. To achieve this, the Designated Person will conduct annual audits of the MSMS between the 2 yearly external audit and report back to the Duty Holder.

In order to fulfil this function, the Designated Person must have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the requirements of the PMSC (and supporting Guide to Good Practice) and associated port and marine legislation. The role of the Designated Person does not obscure the accountability of the Duty Holder.

As the Designated Person is an employee of NPP, the Board have approved the use of external independent auditors to carry out compliance audits at periods not exceeding 2 years. The auditors are Marico Marine Ltd, who submit their report to the Harbour Master and to the Designated Person for passing on to the Duty Holder.

v). The Chief Executive

NPP has appointed the Port Manager as the Chief Executive, accountable for the operational and financial control of the Harbour Authority. He advises the Board on all matters related to its duties and powers, with appropriate advice from the Harbour Master and other Officers.

The Chief Executive will:-

  • Oversee the implementation of NPP policies and decisions.
  • Have overall executive responsibility for the safety of operations and staff.
  • Oversee the recruitment and training of staff.

vi). The Harbour Master

The Harbour Master has the day to day responsibility for the safe operation of navigation and other marine activities in the harbour and its approaches. The post holder will be competent and suitably qualified, with sufficient experience for the role. He will also be competent to undertake other relevant duties in relation to Health & Safety at Work and Merchant Shipping legislation. The Harbour Authority have appointed a Harbour Master who is a Master Mariner and authorised him to exercise his statutory powers on behalf of the Authority as laid down in the Harbours, Docks and Piers Act 1847, the Merchant Shipping Acts 1894/1995 and all Local Port Legislation.

  • He has powers of direction to regulate the time and manner of vessels entry to, departure from, movement within and mooring within the Harbour limits and the location and manner of loading or discharging of passengers, goods and ballast and related marine safety purposes.
  • He ensures the co-ordination and regulation of all vessels within the harbour and its approaches.
  • He is responsible for developing and implementing emergency plans and procedures, for regulating dangerous goods in transit and for counter pollution, emergency and waste management plans.
  • In relation to Conservancy duties, he has the overall responsibility for the provision and maintenance of aids to navigation, liaising with Trinity House and UKHO.

vii). The Authorities Officers

Delegations of duties will be clear, formal and will not obscure the accountability of the Authority and its Duty Holder. NPP will ensure that:-

  • Executive and Operational responsibilities will be appropriately assigned to properly trained people.
  • If some of the functions are combined, a proper separation of safety and commercial activities will be maintained.
  • All employees will have training that is appropriate for their level of responsibility.

Delegations are no substitute for the Duty Holder being directly involved in safety management and so the Port Manager will hold delegated responsibilities for safety and will report directly to the Managing Director and will attend Board meetings.

For online links to the PMSC and the GTGP:-

About this website

The material on our site is given for general information only, and does not constitute professional advice. You should take specific advice before taking a course of action as we do not accept directly or indirectly any responsibility or liability for loss arising from information on this site. The site includes links to other sites which we consider may be of interest to you but we will not be liable for their content. Users linking to other sites do so at their own risk and according to the terms and conditions of those sites.

We cannot guarantee that the site and any downloads reach you virus free and you are responsible for taking any appropriate anti-virus precautions for your own safety and peace of mind. All use of the Port is subject to Newhaven Port & Properties Ltd terms & Conditions which can be viewed here.

Third Party Privacy Notice

Copyright © Newhaven Port & Properties Ltd. 2015 All rights reserved East Quay, Newhaven, East Sussex, BN9 0BN, United Kingdom