September 14, 2018

Places of Safe Refuge

Places of Safe Refuge Committee Chair


The Places of Safe Refuge Subcommittee of the Lone Star Harbor Safety Committee (LSHSC) is responsible for updating the Harbor of Safe Refuge Guide that was originally created by a HOGANSAC effort in the mid-2000’s (the original guide can be found under the “Resources” tab on our website). The Harbor of Safe Refuge Guide was developed to address the issue of vessels that may seek safe refuge within the ports of Houston, Galveston, Texas City and Freeport. The collision incident involving the Carla Maersk and Conti Peridot in the early part of 2015 raised awareness that incidents can also occur within the port boundaries that can lead to the need for safe refuge. Incidents may lead to significant closures of the waterways, affecting the broader maritime industry, the local economy, and the economy of the entire nation, and an effective plan is needed that will not only minimize the economic impact, but also to help mitigate the safety, security and environmental aspects as well. The Places of Safe Refuge subcommittee is to expand upon the original guide to address these issues, also taking into account any newer guidance provided by national and international bodies.

  • Improve safety, security and efficiency aboard vessels and the facilities these vessels call upon, without adversely impacting the commercial viability of the port complex or disadvantaging users or user groups.
  • Foster communication, cooperation and partnerships among Pilots, seafarers, vessel owners, charterers, terminal operators, vessel agents, the towing industry, governmental and non-governmental agencies, port authorities, and recreational users to maximize safety, security and efficiency on board vessels and in the waterways.
  • Nurture a safety culture that reflects utmost concern for lives, property and the environment.

Key objectives include:

  • Identify key learnings from the Carla Maersk/Conti Peridot incident, as well as any other key incident with pertinent learning value;
  • Develop guidance as to critical issues to be addressed when assessing these incidents, formulating potential solutions, and then implementing those solutions;
  • If possible, identify preferred locations where vessels may be placed, including distressed vessels, that provide for ongoing mitigation and resolution of the situation;
  • Identify long-term solutions that could aid in providing safe refuge, such as new locations to place vessels that may need long-term planning and funding;
  • Solicit input from all key players who may be involved, including local, state and federal agencies and the broad maritime industry.

LSHSC Places of Safe Refuge Committee Interest