Commander N Hare Royal Navy, Queen’s Harbour Master Portsmouth


I’m pleased to report it has been another busy and safe year in the port. The next chapter in the life of the military dockyard has continued to unfold with the new Upper Harbour Ammunition Facility (UHAF) being completed within time and budget and already operating. Preparations for the arrival of the two new aircraft carriers have continued with the publication of the detailed Environmental Impact Document that can be found on the MMO website and approval of the design of the new approach channel. A team of Royal Navy navigation specialists and the Chief Admiralty Pilot have been working with Hyder Consulting UK Limited to validate the approach channel design by conducting over 100 simulated entries and exits of the carrier in the Royal Navy’s bridge simulator in HMS COLLINGWOOD.

We have also improved safety in the port by moving HMS BRISTOL to a new position that creates a larger turning circle off Fountain Lake Jetty in which ferries can manoeuvre. The project resulted from a highly successful collaboration with Portsmouth International Port who took the lead in delivering the project after several years of planning.

During the year, over 76,000 commercial and military vessels have transited the inner Dockyard Port of Portsmouth and, as last year, that figure does not include the significant number of leisure craft that also use the Harbour. This year there have been no serious marine incidents on the water, although we have had several scares and sadly a death that served as a reminder of just how dangerous the tides can be for swimmers. With that in mind, we have noted a significant increase in charity swimming events across the Solent and I would like to take this opportunity to remind people the Solent is one of the busiest waterways in the world and swimming across it is a risky business both because of tides and shipping. There is a detailed code of practice in place for such swims issued jointly by the port of Southampton and ourselves and I would urge people to read it while thinking about planning a swim and then to follow it should the swim go ahead.

My team and I will continue to focus on Port safety over the coming year as we further develop the Dockyard Port Marine Safety Management System and I urge all of you out on the water to think of safety. That includes reporting situations where an incident hasn’t actually occurred, but where something out of the ordinary has happened. Sometimes these events are considered near misses, sometimes they are not, but if something happens that you were not expecting, please let us know. If there is a trend developing, I would like to know so that we can continue to enjoy this busy port as safely as possible.

I look forward to working with you all in 2013 and thank you again for your support.

I commend this report to you.

Nigel Hare



The 18th century warship based at the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth will now be maintained by the HMS Victory Preservation Trust, established as part of the National Museum of the Royal Navy. The move was heralded by the announcement of a £25m capital grant to support the new Trust by the Gosling Foundation - a donation which has been matched by a further £25m from the MOD. HMS Victory will continue as a commissioned warship of the Royal Navy under her commanding officer and ship's company and will remain as the flagship of the First Sea Lord.


The last of the ships to be decommissioned, HMS Illustrious, is due to retire from the Royal Navy in 2014.MOD is announcing the intention to seek proposals from organisations interested in preserving her as a lasting tribute to the work of the Invincible Class, which have played key roles in conflicts in the Falkland Islands, Iraq and Bosnia.


The next generation of aircraft carriers is on track, with HMS Queen Elizabeth due to arrive in Portsmouth in 2016. The gigantic segment shown in the picture leaving the port for Rosyth was officially known as Lower Block 04 and weighed 11,300 tonnes. It was 86 metres long, 40 metres wide and 23 metres high and contained the carrier's two main engine rooms, the sick bay and quarters for some of the 1,500 sailors and air group personnel who will serve in her.


  • The Report
  • ANNEX A - Annual Report Targets

The Report


On the 18 March 2010, the Dockyard Ports Board (DPB) endorsed the Dockyard Port Marine Safety Policy (DPMSP). The DPMSP acts as the Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) higher level policy document for dockyard port safety which is closely aligned to the Port Marine Safety Code (PMSC) issued by the Department of Transport.


The DPMSP directs that a Safety Management System (SMS) is implemented in the Harbour under the responsibility of the QHM as the Delivery Level Holder. The SMS is regarded as a living document and is used as a tool, actively driven by QHM and his staff as they conduct their daily business. It also established a Captain Rank post in the Naval Base Operating Centre as the Designated Person.

The purpose of the SMS is to improve the level of safety for everyone using the waters that constitute the area of jurisdiction for the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth (DPP). The designated person for all three dockyards ports is the Waterfront Coherence and Assurance Captain (WCA) in order to fulfil his assurance role, Captain WCA visits each port termly and conducts a full audit of the SMS annually.


The aim of this report is to describe how QHM demonstrates compliance with the Dockyard Port Marine Safety Policy for the Year 1 January – 31 December 2012.


NEW UPPER HARBOUR AMMUNITION FACILITY – Work on the new £18m jetty in Portsmouth Harbour where Royal Navy warships load and unload ammunition was completed in August. The new Upper Harbour Ammunitioning Facility - delivered by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) - replaces the existing jetty which was built in 1929 and was not large enough to accommodate the Navy’s new Type 45 destroyers. The previous UHAF has therefore been removed.

CAPITAL DREDGE SURVEY – Deep Diver, a drilling rig arrived off Portsmouth in February as part of preparations to accommodate the new aircraft carriers. Deep Diver spent three weeks sampling the sea bed in the harbour approaches and within the harbour itself. Twenty-seven bore holes were sunk to a depth of 32m along various parts of the route to be dredged to make it wider and deeper during late 2014-15.

WEBSITE – The QHM Portsmouth website has been upgraded and now incorporates all three Naval Bases under the same link. Mariners can obtain all current Local Notice to Mariners (LNTM), Navwarns and General Directions as well as reading the latest news.( Please note the site was hacked in November 2012 and whilst it is secure again, the automatic capability of informing people that navigation warnings or local notices to mariners have been issued is, temporarily, not available.


Incidents within the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth in 2012 were as follows:

  • 58 Reportable Incidents
    • 3 Collision Ship – Ship
    • 2 Striking with Ship (Moored)
    • 6 Equipment Failures (Vessel)
    • 2 Grounding
    • 2 Sinking and Capsizing
    • 9 Impacts with Structure
    • 2 Fire
    • 1 Close Quarter Situation
    • 2 Diving Incidents
    • 1 Wash
    • 5 Dangerous Occurrences
    • 6 Other Hazard
    • 16 Minor Pollution incidents and
    • 1 Tier 1 Pollution incident

All incidents were investigated in compliance with the Dockyards Port Marine Safety Manual. Recommendations and conclusions were forwarded to the Mariner concerned, and where applicable to the Maritime Coastguard Agency and the Maritime Accident Investigation Board.

BUOYAGE – The Port Surveyor has carried out monthly checks visiting all the Navigational Buoys in the Eastern and Western Solent to check their condition and position.

MMO – We consult with the MMO on a wide variety of issues including planning applications, moorings, dredging and fishing matters.

A number of Local Notices to Mariners that had been reissued annually for several years have been replaced by General Directions:

General Directions can be viewed on QHM’s website. There is legislation currently going through parliament that, if enacted, will change the way General Directions are issued. Whilst this will not affect QHM who has slightly different powers, the intention is that, where practicable, the same consultation process will be followed as closely as possible.

An MCZ was established by the MMO on 17 January 2012 for the protection of eelgrass (Zostera spp) in the Portsmouth Harbour Special Protection Area. Replacing the emergency byelaw issued on 17 September 2011 which states that:

No person shall other than in the execution of a properly authorised fishing activity drop, move, tow or drag any fishing gear or equipment along the seabed or above the seabed from any vessel in such way that it may cause:

  • The deterioration of the natural habitats for which the EMS has been classified;
  • The deterioration of the habitats of species for which the EMS has been classified; or
  • The disturbance of the species for which the EMS has been classified, in waters of the EMS North of the direct line joining the South East Corner of Portchester Castle (50 Degrees 50.17 minutes North 001 Degrees 06.78 minutes West), the Southern Part of Peewit Island (50 Degrees 49.82 minutes North 001 Degrees 08.24 minutes West) and the Shore at Frater (50 degrees 49.63 minutes North 001 Degrees 09.00 minutes West).

PANAR – (PORTS AIDS TO NAVIGATION AVAILABILITY REPORTING) All main Dockyard Port of Portsmouth (DPP) entry and exit lights continue to be checked bi-weekly with any reported faults rectified as quickly as possible and Navigational Warnings issued in the interim.

A full and detailed inspection of the DPP as a Local Lighthouse Authority was last carried out by Trinity House in June 2012 and the visit was assessed as satisfactory. The next inspection is on 24 June 2013.

NAVIGATION: DANGERS AND HAZARDOUS OCCURRENCES – During this reporting period 85 Navigational Warnings were issued by
QHM which is a decrease of 28 from last years total of 113.

HARBOUR ROUNDS – As in the previous reports regular three monthly checks of the Harbour and navigational marks were routinely conducted. All areas within the harbour were visited ensuring a continuous and visible inspection of all assets, whether MOD sponsored or not.

HYDROGRAPHIC SURVEY – A detailed survey of the Solent outside the 5m contour was undertaken by ABP Southampton during May 2012 and as a result, chart 2625 has been reissued. Charts 2629 and 2631 were also reissued in December 12.

MOORINGS – The annual mooring survey for 2012 is complete and the final figure for leisure craft within the DPP is 3620. This is a slight fall in numbers from last year’s survey which was 3750.

PILOTAGE – This year, 1012 acts of pilotage were undertaken by the Admiralty Pilots and 1246 acts by the Commercial Pilots.

VOLUNTEER HARBOUR PATROL (VHP) – The VHP continued its valuable work in 2012 thanks to the generous donations of a number of local business and port users. The purpose of the Patrol is to promote safety through the provision of education and the provision of support to the recreational users within the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth. With over 3,750 craft berthed in the harbour, and many more using the 55 square miles of the Port annually, the Patrol is an important asset. The 35 active volunteer members range from retired big-ship masters to leisure sailors with more modest craft; they all have significant experience and training and give up their evenings and week-ends in the summer months to provide this valuable service.

This year the Patrol’s fleet of three craft suffered a number of serviceability problems, but nevertheless was able to maintain an attendance during most week-ends from May to October. Despite the reduced presence, it responded to 32 calls for assistance following incidents such as engine failure, stranding or other general problem in or near the Harbour, and took countless opportunities to advise mariners on the rules and regulations of the Harbour.

The Patrol also provided marshalling resources for some large events, such as the Gunwharf Fireworks display. As a charity, and a unique combination of resources from the leisure, commercial and military users of the Port, the VHP depends for its success entirely on the generosity of sponsors, and the goodwill of the leisure boater. It is indebted to the Royal Navy Sailing Centre and the Hornet Sailing Club for their help in looking after the boats and to the local companies that sponsored us last year: Portsmouth International Port, Gosport Boatyard, Land Securities Ltd, Whitaker Tankers, Dean & Reddyhof and Clipper Ventures. Thanks also go to Aluminium Shipbuilders Ltd. in Hythe for the fantastic support, and to Trinity House for the very kind loan of one of their boats.

Notwithstanding the generous donations and the considerable help from others, the Patrol faces major costs for the repair of equipment, in particular engines, and it is worrying to have to report that unless a significant donation is received in the next 6 months, the patrol may have to close at the end of the 2013 season.


Yet again, a very diverse collection of recreational events have been successfully planned, risk assessed and subsequently conducted within the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth during 2011. There was no one particular event that stands out above the others, but the following are worthy of note:

General Events:

  • Gunwharf Quay’s fireworks display
  • The Combined Cadet Force Sailing Regatta
  • Cowes Week
  • Southsea Rowing Regatta
  • The JP Morgan Round the Island sailing race (1850 yachts)
  • 3 Kayak events

Power craft Events:

  • Gunwharf Quays Rib Show with 5,600 spectators
  • Cowes Powerboat Rally
  • British Powerboat Festival

Swimming Events

  • A 12 swimmer Charity Swim to the ‘Bestival’ on the Isle of Wight
  • Southsea Junior open water swimming race.
  • Cross Solent Swim in aid of Walking with the Wounded.
  • Approximately 23 other Cross Solent Charity Swims


Statutory Planning Applications

15 Statutory Planning Applications were received and actioned by QHM during 2012.

Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS)

The Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) is a joint venture between the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), in association with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT).Monthly WeBS counts for Portsmouth Harbour are done by a team of seven volunteer counters and cover the main harbour and its creeks and the adjacent areas of the Lakeside lake, the North Harbour reclamation area, Bedenham and Frater and HMS Sultan playing fields. The data collected is important, not only to monitor bird species but also to inform assessments of all requests for development in and around the Harbour.

At the time of writing there is still one winter count to take place but so far the results have been disappointing. The weather has been unfavourable on three of the set dates and only partial counts were achieved. However, as far as I can tell, numbers have remained fairly static. After good news about Brent Geese breeding success last winter (12% of the birds were juveniles) this winter it has been difficult to find any juvenile birds at all, pointing to another poor breeding season in 2012.

Despite the problems with the weather good individual counts have been obtained for the following species: Great-crested Grebe (max 34); Wigeon (max 703); Teal (max 296), Red-breasted Merganser (max 65); Curlew (max 574) and Turnstone (max 215).

One other record of note was a sighting of a Ring-billed Gull at Gosport. This species is from North America but in the last decade has been seen frequently in the UK (or observers are more skilled at identifying them). One was first seen at Walpole Park and Haslar Creek in 2004 and what must be the same bird has returned for its 9th consecutive winter. Where it goes during the summer months is a total mystery.


The Royal Navy ice patrol ship HMS Protector returned home to Portsmouth in June from her maiden deployment to the frozen continent of Antarctica. The 5,000-tonne ice-breaker had spent most of her seven months away surveying and patrolling the Antarctic Peninsula In her first deployment since joining the Navy’s fleet in June 2011. Protector conducted three separate intensive work periods in the ice. She used her multi-beam echo sounder and deployed her survey motor boat to provide hi-tech hydrographic charting and imagery of the region for the UK Hydrographic Office which provides 80% of the world’s nautical charts.
HMS WESTMINSTER RETURNS FROM SUCCESSFUL MIDDLE EAST MISSION – Portsmouth-based warship HMS Westminster returned home in Aug 12 from a deployment to the Middle East. The headline of this deployment included a £14m drugs bust, seizing more than 70 bales containing pure heroin from a dhow in the Indian Ocean, which would have funded terrorist activity. During seven months away, and clocking up more than 44,000 miles, the ship disrupted three groups of suspected pirates who were targeting merchant shipping, and conducted security patrols in the Gulf and Indian Ocean.
FOREIGN VISITS – The Russian anti-submarine destroyer, RFS Vice Admiral Kulakov visited Portsmouth in August during its return home from operations in the Gulf. RFS Vice Admiral Kulakov and its 300 crew visited Portsmouth at the invitation of the British government as a part of its programme of bilateral naval co-operation. Throughout 2012, reciprocal visits were made by HMS York and patrol boats from University Royal Naval Units.
HMS RICHMOND RETURNS TO PORTSMOUTH – Type 23 frigate HMS Richmond returned to Portsmouth on Friday 29 June after an eight-month refit in Plymouth. The ship had undergone a comprehensive £20m upgrade in Devonport, carried out by Babcock Marine, which will see her return to the fleet as one of the Navy’s most advanced frigates. The work included improvements to several weapons, including the Seawolf vertical launch missile system and two automatic 30mm small calibre guns and a new versatile command system.
HMS LIVERPOOL MADE HER FINAL RETURN TO HER PORTSMOUTH HOME - On Monday 26 March HMS Liverpool made her final entry into Portsmouth as her 30-year eventful career came to a close. The distinguished Type 42 destroyer has steamed more than 921,700 nautical miles protecting the nation’s interests across the globe.
HMS YORK RETURNS TO HER HOME PORT OF PORTSMOUTH - On Thursday 20 September HMS York returned to Portsmouth for the last time as her 27-year career came to an end. The Type 42 destroyer had clocked up 750,000 miles protecting the nation’s interests across the globe.


The Royal Navy’s newest Type 45 Destroyer, HMS Defender, sailed into her new home at HM Naval Base Portsmouth on 25 June. The 7,500 tonne vessel was formally accepted by the Royal Navy from shipbuilder BAE Systems Maritime and will now undergo sea trials before being declared ready for operations in 2013.

Armed with the world-leading Sea Viper missile defence system, HMS Defender is able to defend against multiple attacks from even the most sophisticated anti-ship missiles, approaching from any direction and at supersonic speeds. This latest addition to the fleet of state-of-the-art destroyers marks the remarkable progress being made on the Type 45 programme. HMS Defender, together with her five sister vessels, will form a formidable fleet and ensure that the Royal Navy remains a powerful maritime force on the world stage. The final vessel in the fleet, HMS Duncan, is due to be accepted into service in 2014.


During this reporting period 17 oil spills were reported, all requiring minor clean up operations. The reported spills were in the harbour and were dealt with using internal equipment and personnel supplied by the Tier 1 contractor.
On 15 May In compliance with the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth Oil Pollution Plan and in compliance with the Merchant Shipping Oil Pollution and Preparedness Responsibility and Co-operation Convention (OPRC) Regulation 1998 the Queen’s Harbour Master Department carried out a Tier Two exercise oil pollution exercise within the Port.


Admiralty Pilots and Port Control Assistants continued with their V103/1 training with two Port Control Assistants undertaking V103/1 refresher training at South Tyneside College.


As the result of an incident several years ago, the three authorities involved in the Solent SOLFIRE Plan (the emergency response plan for the Solent area), ABP Southampton, the Lee-on the Solent Coastguard and QHM have reviewed and revised the plan. A major SOLFIRE exercise will be held in Southampton later in the year.


SerialDescriptionTargetFormal method of Recording for Safety Management SystemPeriod of in-year Monitoring/MeasuringMethod of Reporting
4.3.1Reporting periodAnnual1 Jan 12 – 31 Dec 12AnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
4.3.2Report publicationBy31 March 13AnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
4.3.3Vessel Recording (commercial & military)Annual33,443QuarterlyAnnual NBC/DPF
4.3.4Vessel Recording (ferries)Annual43,254QuarterlyAnnual NBC/DPF
4.3.5No. Of leisure berths/moorings in DPPAnnual3,750AnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
4.3.6Marine incidentsAnnual58 including 16 minor and 1 Tier 1 oil spillAnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
4.3.7Notices to MarinersAnnual80AnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
4.3.8General DirectionsAnnual4AnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
4.3.9ConsultationsAnnualN/AAnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
4.3.10Staff DevelopmentAnnualOngoing Reviewed March 12AnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
4.3.11PilotageAnnual1081 moves in totalQuarterlyAnnual NBC/DPF
4.3.12VTS Radar CoverageAnnual84% QuarterlyAnnual NBC/DPF
4.3.13VTS VHF CoverageAnnual100%QuarterlyAnnual NBC/DPF
4.3.14Hydrographic SurveysAnnualMay 12AnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
4.3.15Physical inspections of Navigational marks QuarterlyJan, April, July, OctAnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
PLAN - Review of planAnnualMarch 12AnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
PLAN - Revision to planAnnualAugust 09AnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
PLAN - Resource adequacyAnnualYesAnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
EXERCISE - Plan Exercise3 yearlySolfire East 2013AnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
EXERCISE - Conduct Exercise3 yearlySolfire East 20133 yearlyAnnual NBC/DPF
EXERCISE - Debrief Exercise3 yearlySolfire East 20133 yearlyAnnual NBC/DPF
PLAN - Review of planAnnualMCA Audit April 2012AnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
PLAN - Revision to planAnnualReview of OPRP March 2012AnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
PLAN - Resource adequacyAnnualAdequateAnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
EXERCISE - Plan ExerciseAnnualJanuary/April 12AnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
EXERCISE - Conduct ExerciseAnnualSeptember 2012-1 Tier 2 AnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
EXERCISE - Debrief ExerciseAnnualSeptember 2012AnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
4.5.1SQEP 100%Achieved AnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
4.5.2Promulgate hazards to navigation100%100%QuarterlyAnnual NBC/DPF
4.5.3Continuous service99.5%AchievedQuarterlyAnnual NBC/DPF
4.5.4Justified complaints from customersLess than 4 per monthAchieved - less than 1 per month receivedQuarterlyAnnual NBC/DPF
4.5.5Recording of incidents100%MarNIS - Year 2012 incidents recorded on database.58 Reported and InvestigatedAnnual NBC/DPF
4.5.6Review principal legislationAnnualOngoingAs requiredAnnual NBC/DPF
4.5.7Review local legislationAnnualOngoingAnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
4.5.8Review statutory/non-statutory instrumentsAnnualOngoingAnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
4.5.9Review any proposals for draft legislationAnnualOngoingAs requiredAnnual NBC/DPF
4.5.10Review any changes in riskAnnualMarNISAs requiredAnnual NBC/DPF
4.5.11Review changes to SMS's in adjacent areasAnnualOngoingAnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
4.6.1Suitably qualified/experienced personnel100%IALA V103/1 Refresher Training2 x PCAAnnual NBC/DPF
4.6.2Provision of a continuous 24 hour service100%AchievedAnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
4.6.3Timely promulgation of navigation warnings100%Achieved 85 issuedContinuousAnnual NBC/DPF
4.6.4Justified complaints from customers100%NilMonthlyAnnual NBC/DPF
4.6.5Maintain Radar/VHF records for 3 months100%Hard Drive 30 Days 60 Days on ComputerQuarterlyAnnual NBC/DPF
4.6.6Maintain CCTV records for 20 days100%20 Days Hard DriveQuarterlyAnnual NBC/DPF
4.6.7Staff Training95%OngoingAnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
4.6.8Maintain radar coverage99%AchievedQuarterlyAnnual NBC/DPF
4.6.9Maintain VHF coverage99%AchievedQuarterlyAnnual NBC/DPF
4.6.10QHM/ABP Reissue of Local Notice to MarinersAnnuallyReviewed & Reissued 01/01/2012 (80 Issued in 2012)AnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
4.6.11Incidents contributed to by VTS Operator errorQuarterlyAnnual NBC/DPF
Tug Handling - within 6 months of starting100%N/AAnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
Stage 1 - within 6 to 9 months of starting Stage100%N/AAnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
Stage 2 - within 6 to 9 months of starting Stage100%N/AAnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
Stage 3 - within 12 to 18 months of starting Stage100%N/AAnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
MoD approved bridge simulator course - every 3 years100%OngoingAnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
ARPA refresher training - every 3 years100%Ongoing not in YearAnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
VTS operator refresher training - every 3 years100%Ongoing trainingAnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
Nuclear Safety - every 18 months100%10 required 10 trainedAnnualAnnual NBC/DPF
Immediately during normal working hours100%100%QuarterlyAnnual NBC/DPF
Within 1½ hours out of normal working hours100%100%QuarterlyAnnual NBC/DPF
I.A.W. the Merchant Shipping (Pilot Boats) Regulations QHM Code of Practice for Embarkation and Disembakation of Admiralty Pilots100%AchievedQuarterlyAnnual NBC/DPF