PORT Authority of NSW has announced the signing of a non-exclusive towage licence with Svitzer Australia for towage services in the ports of Sydney Harbour and Botany Bay.

This follows a consultation period described by PANSW as “extensive”.

Port Authority CEO Philip Holliday said the agreement would set a new safety standard for the provision of towage services in the two waterways.

“Open and transparent eligibility criteria allow any towage provider that meets the criteria to apply for, and be issued, a licence in either or both ports,” Mr Holliday said.

“The introduction of non-exclusive towage licences will improve port safety, efficiency and emergency response capabilities within these ports.”

According to PANSW, the standards in the licence include a requirement that towage services be available continuously and ready to commence within two hours of a request for a booking.

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Also, that a minimum fleet is maintained within the port, and includes a communications system and certain quality service standards, including staff compliance and training programs. 

The licence contains obligations to share information and participate in joint simulation exercises to improve safety outcomes. 

Svitzer Australia managing director Nicolaj Noes was enthusiastic about the deal.

“The licence will ensure a minimum set of standards for assets and their availability, support optimal shipping schedule integrity and promote safe and efficient trade to the mutual benefit of the Port Authority, its clients and the whole port community,” Mr Noes said.

A harbour master’s direction on 15 December 2019 mandate that by 15 June, any vessel requiring pilotage within the port of Sydney Harbour or Botany Bay must only utilise towage providers who hold a non-exclusive towage licence issued by Port Authority of NSW.

According to PANSW, their focus will now turn to promulgating non-exclusive towage licences in the other NSW ports.

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