Harbour Authority

Associated British Ports, (ABP) is the Statutory and Harbour Authority for the Humber. As harbour authority for the Humber Estuary, the ABP Board of Directors delegated the roles of harbour authority to ABP Humber Estuary Services (HES).

Humber Estuary Services (HES)

Humber Estuary Services operates under a raft of legislation. These acts and regulations detail the powers, duties and responsibilities of the harbour authority. For detailed information on each section, click on the links below.

Title

Year

Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act

1847

Humber Conservancy Act

1852

Humber Conservancy Act

1868

Humber Conservancy Act

1871

Ouse (Lower) Improvement Act

1884

Merchant Shipping Act

1894

Case Law: "Wells-v-The Owners of the gas float, Whitton No.2, 1897" (Retrieval of a floating mark).

1897

Humber Conservancy Act

1899

Humber Conservancy Act

1905

Humber Conservancy Act

1907

Case Law: "Neptun" Grounding

1936

Fire Services Act

1947

Coast Protection Act

1949

Harbours Act

1964

Fire Precautions Act

1971

British Transport Docks Act

1972

General Directions For Navigation in the Humber (first published as a Notice to Mariners No.41/1974 and now issued as Standing Notice to Mariners No. S.H. 1)

1974

Dangerous Vessels Act

1985

Food and Environment Protection Act

1985

Pilotage Act

1987

The Dangerous Substances in Harbour Areas regulations

1987

Humber Navigation Byelaws

1990

The Water Resources Act

1990

The Merchant Shipping (Categorisation of Waters) Regulations

1992

The Conservation (Natural Habitats, & c.) Regulations

1994

Merchant Shipping Act

1995

The Merchant Shipping (Reporting Requirements for Ships Carrying Dangerous or Polluting Goods) Regulations.

1995

The Merchant Shipping (Port State Control) Regulations

1995

The Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Oil Pollution) Regulations

1996

Diving at Work Regulations

1997

The Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation Convention) Regulations

1998

Harbour Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations.

1999

Habitats Regulation

2000

31.1 - Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act, 1847
This act consolidated all previous acts.
For authorising the making and improving of harbours, docks and piers.

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31.2 - Humber Conservancy Act, 1852
More effective conservancy of River Humber (did not include Rivers Ouse or Trent).
Controlled depositing of dredged spoil.

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31.3 - Humber Conservancy Act, 1868
Incorporation of Conservancy Commissioners.
999 year lease of River bed of Humber only.

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31.4 - Humber Conservancy Act, 1871
Increase powers of Commissioners to borrow money.
Powers to take land by agreement.
Extension of 999-year lease of river bed into lower reaches of the Rivers Ouse and Trent.

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31.5 - Ouse (Lower) Improvement Act, 1884
Powers of conservancy passed to Port of Goole.
Granted power to raise a toll.
Given Local Lighthouse Authority status.
The powers of the Humber Conservancy Commissioners take precedence.

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31.6 - Merchant Shipping Act, 1894
530 - Removal of wreck by Harbour or Conservancy Authority.
531 - Power of Lighthouse Authority to remove wreck
634 - Part XI-Lighthouses.
653 - Case Law: “Wells-v-The Owners of the gas float, Whitton No.2, 1897. (Retrieval of floating mark).
There can be no salvage agreement for the retrieval of a floating navigation mark.

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31.7 - Humber Conservancy Act, 1899
Powers to remove wrecks.
Powers to remove other obstructions.
Commissioners may grant licences for execution of any landing stages, slipways, piers, jetties or any protective or other works on the foreshores or bed of the Humber.

--But--

  • No licence without Board of Trade consent.

  • No licence to be granted beyond river lines.

River lines defined
Powers to make byelaws.

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31.8 - Humber Conservancy Act, 1905
Licence required from Commissioners to remove sand or other materials from bed of River Humber.
Powers to dredge.
River lines redefined.
Appointment of Conservator.

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31.9 - Humber Conservancy Act, 1907
Dissolution of Humber Conservancy Commissioners, constitution of Humber Conservancy Board (HCB).
Extension of powers into River Trent.
HCB to be Local Lighthouse Authority.

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31.10 - Case Law: "Neptun" Grounding, 1936
Minimum obligations of The Humber Conservancy Board (HCB) as Buoyage and Beaconage Authority:

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31.11 - Fire Services Act, 1947
At any fire, the Senior Fire Brigade Officer shall have sole charge and control of all operations subject to the overall authority of the master on board ship although they are not in charge of ship safety and other matters within the marine sense.

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31.12 - Coast Protection Act, 1949
Under this act, permission must be obtained before any structure is placed on the river bed or dredgings are deposited.

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31.13 - Harbours Act, 1964
Harbour Authorities have a general duty to exercise their functions with regard to nature conservation and other related environmental considerations.

Every Harbour Authority has power to make the use of services and facilities provided by them at a harbour which, in the exercise and performance of statutory powers and duties they are engaged in improving, maintaining or managing, subject to such terms and conditions as they think fit.

The statutory powers of a harbour authority, contained in its local legislation, may be revised by means of a harbour revision order, provided the appropriate Minister is satisfied that the making of an order is desirable in the interests of securing the improvement, maintenance or management of the harbour in an efficient and economical manner or of facilitating the efficient and economic transport of goods by sea or in the interests of the recreational use of sea-going ships.

Harbour revision orders may be made for objects including imposing or conferring duties or powers on a harbour authority (including powers to make byelaws), either in addition to, or in substitution for, existing duties or powers imposed or conferred, being duties or powers imposed or coffered for the purpose of:

  • improving, maintaining or managing the harbour;

  • marking or lighting the harbour, raising wrecks therein or otherwise making safe the navigation thereof; or

  • regulating the carrying on by others of activities relating to the harbour or of activities on harbour land.

There are similar provisions for varying or abolishing such powers.
Harbour authorities have powers to collect dues from users to pay for their statutory functions. They may demand, take and recover such “ship, passenger and goods dues as they think fit. The public right to use a port for the purpose of shipping and unshipping goods and the embarking and landing of passengers (the open port duty) is exercisable expressly upon payment of the rates made payable by the local legislation for that port. There are related obligations to publish dues and to keep accounts.

The harbour authorities power to levy dues is subject to a statutory right of objection to the Secretary of State (or the appropriate devolved administration as the case may be).

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31.14 - Food and Environment Protection Act, 1985
This act sets out the requirement for licences for the deposit of substances and articles in the sea.

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31.15 - Fire Precautions Act, 1971
At any fire, the Senior Fire Brigade Officer shall have sole charge and control of all operations subject to the overall authority of the master on board ship although they are not in charge of ship safety and other matters within the marine sense.

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31.16 - British Transport Docks Act, 1972
Power to appoint a Harbour Master (HM) for the Humber.
Power for HM to issue General Directions for navigation.
Power for HM to issue Special Directions for navigation.

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31.17 - General Directions for Navigation in the Humber, 1974
(First published as a Notice to Mariners No.41/1974 and now issued as Standing Notice to Mariners No. S.H.1).

This is a General Direction made under the “British Transport Act 1972”. It has been reissued as a Standing Notice to Mariners No. S.H.1 and gives a series of directions to vessels in the Humber.

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31.18 - Dangerous Vessels Act, 1985
A Harbour Master may give directions prohibiting the entry into, or requiring the removal from, the harbour of any vessel if, in his opinion, the condition of that vessel, or the nature or condition of anything it contains, is such that its presence in the harbour might involve a grave and imminent danger to the safety of persons or property or risk that the vessel may, by sinking or foundering in the harbour, prevent or seriously prejudice the use of the harbour by other vessels. He must have regard to all the circumstances and the safety of any person or vessel. Such directions given by the harbour master may be over-ridden by the Secretary of State.

A Harbour Master may detain a vessel if he has reason to believe that it has committed an offence by discharging oil, or a mixture containing oil, into the waters of a harbour.

Notice must be given to a harbour master before oil is transferred at night to or from a ship in any harbour. This requirement may be supplemented by harbour byelaws regulating transfers at any time. Byelaws may also regulate the offloading of oily water and oily water and oily waste residues. All oil spills into harbour waters are to be reported. Harbour Masters have powers to board ships to investigate possible offences.

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31.19 - Pilotage Act, 1987
Devolve powers for pilotage to Competent Harbour Authorities.
Powers include, inter alia:

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31.20 - The Merchant Shipping (Reporting of Pollution Incidents) Regulations, 1987
This regulation specifies in detail the incidents required to be reported.

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31.21 - The Dangerous Substances in Harbour Areas Regulations, 1987
A Harbour Master has powers to prohibit the entry into a harbour of any vessel carrying dangerous goods, if the condition of those goods, or their packaging, or the vessel carrying them is such as to create a risk to health and safety. The Harbour Master also has powers to regulate the movement of vessels carrying dangerous goods. Prior notice must be given to bring dangerous substances into the harbour area from sea or inland. The period of notice is normally 24 hours, although the Harbour Master has some powers of discretion on both the period and form of notice. Harbour authorities have a duty to prepare emergency plans for dealing with dangerous substances.

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31.22 - The Humber Navigation Byelaws, 1990
All Harbour Authorities have wide powers under their own special legislation, (derived from Section 83 of the Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act 1847), which allow them to make byelaws for all aspects of the movement and regulation of vessels within the harbour. Byelaws empower harbour authorities to regulate activities for specific purposes. This power goes beyond simple management to include a power to create and prosecute in the Courts offences for which fines may be levied at different levels up to a substantial amount. Byelaws are a means of reflecting the local needs and circumstances of individual harbour authorities and are intended to allow them to conduct their business efficiently and safely. Byelaws are generally available to regulate rather than prohibit.

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31.23 - The Water Resources Act, 1991
This is one of three acts empowering the Environment Agency, which is a non-departmental public body with statutory duties and powers in relation to water resources, pollution control, flood defence, fisheries, recreation, conservation and navigation in England and Wales. The Environment Agency is responsible for control of pollution and water quality in all controlled waters; which include ground waters, fresh waters, estuaries and relevant territorial waters (these extend 3miles seaward from specified baselines).

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31.24 - The Merchant Shipping (Categorisation of Waters) Regulations, 1992
This regulation defines four categories of smooth waters and divides the UK into districts, defining the category of water. The River Humber is defined as category C within a line from North to South Ferriby and category D in winter within a line from New Holland to Paull and in summer within a line from Cleethorpes Pier to Patrington Church.

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31.25 - The Conservation (Natural Habitats, and c.) Regulations, 1994
Harbour Authorities have a general duty to exercise their functions with regard to nature conservation and other related environmental considerations. They also have an obligation, where a Special Protection Area for Birds or a Special Area of Conservation has been designated under the Wild Birds or Habitats Directives, to have regard to the requirements of the Habitats Directive so far as they may be affected by the exercise of those functions.

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31.26 - The Merchant Shipping Act, 1995
The Secretary of State has power to give directions to a Harbour Authority, a Harbour Master, Master of a vessel, Pilot, or Salvor or Owner of a vessel, where an accident has occurred to or in a ship and, in his opinion, oil from the ship will or may cause pollution on a large scale. The power may be used if in his opinion this is urgently needed. The person directed may be required to take, or to refrain from taking, any action whatsoever. Among other things, the direction may require that the ship is moved, or not moved to or from a specified area, locality or place, that any oil or cargo should or should not be discharged, or that specified salvage measures should be taken. The Secretary of State, or persons authorised by him, may take any action he may direct to be taken. A representative of the Secretary of State (SOSREP) has been appointed to exercise these functions.

Each Harbour authority is a Local Lighthouse Authority as regards its area. Every Harbour Authority has the power to carry out and maintain the marking and lighting of a harbour or any part of the harbour within the harbour authorities area or on land. The General Lighthouse Authorities have the general superintendence and management of all lighthouses, buoys and beacons within their respective areas. They have a duty to inspect all lighthouses, buoys, beacons and other navigational aids belonging to or under the management of a local lighthouse authority, and may give directions to a local lighthouse authority. A local lighthouse authority shall not, without the General Lighthouse Authority s consent, erect, remove or vary the character of any lighthouse, buoy or beacon.

All aids to navigation maintained by harbour authorities must be maintained in accordance with the availability criteria laid down the General Lighthouse Authorities, and must be subject to periodic review. The characteristics of these aids to navigation must comply with the IALA Guidelines and Recommendations. Local lighthouse authorities and their officers must give to the General Lighthouse Authorities all such returns, explanations or information concerning the lighthouses, buoys and beacons under their management of them as the General Lighthouse Authority may require.

Where there is a wreck in, or in or near the approaches to, a hour, which is or is likely to become a danger to navigation, the harbour authority may take possession of, remove or destroy it. They may also light or buoy it until it is raised, removed or destroyed.

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31.27 - The Merchant Shipping (Reporting Requirements for Ships Carrying Dangerous or Polluting Goods) Regulations, 1995
These regulations implement EEC Directive concerning minimum requirements for vessels bound for or leaving community ports and carrying dangerous goods. Dangerous goods means goods classified as such in the IMDG Code, in Chapter 19 of the IGC- code or in Chapter 17 of the IBC-Code. Polluting goods means oil as defined in MARPOL Annex 1; noxious liquid substance as defined in MARPOL Annex II; and harmful substances as defined in MARPOL Annex III.

The regulation aims to ensure that in the event of an accident the “competent authority” (the MCA in the case of the UK) has ready access to the information about such goods.

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31.28 - The Merchant Shipping (Port State Control) Regulations, 1995
An authorised pilot engaged in the berthing and unberthing of a vessel in the UK, or engaged on a vessel bound for a port within an European Union Member State, must immediately inform the harbour authority whenever they learn in the course of their normal duties that there are deficiencies which may prejudice the safe navigation of the vessel, or which may pose a threat of harm to the environment. The harbour authority shall immediately inform the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

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31.29 - The Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Pollution) Regulations, 1996
This regulation provides that the Secretary of State may make provision for the detention of ships suspected of having contravened oil pollution control regulations.

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31.30 - Diving at Work Regulations, 1997
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regulate commercial diving under these regulations. The HSE has produced a set of five Approved Codes of Practice (ACOPs), one for each section of the commercial diving industry. Typically work carried out in docks and harbours falls within the scope of the Inland/Inshore ACPO. Divers engaged in commercial operations must be qualified to HSE recognised standards and operate within the approved code of practice.

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31.31 - The Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation Convention) Regulations, 1998
Harbour Authorities powers are considered to be wide enough to empower them to clear oil spills from their harbour. They have a duty to prepare plans to deal with such spills for approval on behalf of the Secretary of State.

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31.32 - Harbour Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations, 1999
Consent to dredge is subject to this regulation. The Directive from which these regulations transpose impose controls on “projects”. This means that consideration must be given to the dredging and disposal of material, even though the consent requirement may relate to the disposal only.

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31.33 - Habitats Regulations, 2000
A consent to dredge may be subject to these regulations, which impose severe restrictions and special tests on works which may adversely affect a European site. This regulation may require an environmental assessment.

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