Trinity House on Environment and Safety

Date: Monday 19th May 201412:30 – 14:30

Host: IMIF

Venue:  Trinity House, Tower Hill, London. EC3N 4DH

Speaker: Mr Graham P Hockley, Commander Royal Navy, Secretary to The Corporation Of Trinity House

Subject: “Trinity House on Environment and Safety”

19th-may-2014-trinity-house-on-environment-and-safety“The Guild, Fraternity or Brotherhood of the most glorious and Undivided Trinity and Saint Clement in the Parish Church of Deptford Strond in the County of Kent, otherwise known as The Corporation of Trinity House”

On the 22nd May, The Corporation of Trinity House celebrated its 500th birthday with a Royal Charter being granted by Henry VIII in 1514.  This was instigated when a group of shipmen petitioned Henry VIII over the dangers of unqualified individuals piloting ships in the king’s water and the need to relieve the poverty of destitute mariners who had fallen on hard times.

Princess Anne is the current Master of Trinity House recently succeeding The Duke of Edinburgh who was Master for 42 years.  The court consists of 38 Elder Brethren and is advised by a Fraternity of 368 Younger Brethren who have all been ship Masters, in command of a RN Warship or play a notable part in the UK’s Maritime Industries.

The four functions of The Corporation of Trinity House are a Guild, The General Light House Authority (initially just in the River Thames but now expanded to the whole of England, Wales, The Channel Islands and Gibraltar), a Charity for education & training of Mariners, and a Deep Sea Pilotage Authority all of which have experienced many changes over the years.

Graham Hockley was proud to report that Trinity House’s carbon footprint has decreased by 97% since 1997, by method such as; changing the type of light bulbs, converting buoys and light ships to run on solar power, the depot in Harwich is being solarised and there has been a change in the management system with now almost paperless lighthouses.

Lighthouses are now on metal poles with LEDs.  However there have been comments that the LED light does not have the same useful lume as previous lights therefore they are trying to find a way of artificially creating this lume.

The biggest environment input is the prevention of ship collisions.  There are new aids to navigation such as the lighthouses and the AIS tracking system.  Trinity House’s three ships are continuously present in the English Channel to assist ships in distress, to mark wrecks and are guaranteed to arrive within six hours of the initial incident.

The GLA Mission Statement is “To Deliver a reliable, efficient and cost effective aids to navigation service for the benefit and safety of all mariners”.  The Headquarters and main operational Depot of Trinity House is at Harwich with offices in London, Swansea (Buoy Yard) and St Just (a Helicopter Depot) and is responsible for Annual Inspections of Navigational Aids, of which the number of audits total approximately 10,500 lights annually.

Around the English and Welsh coast, Trinity House has 67 Lighthouses, 8 Light Ships, 2 Light Floats, 22 Beacons and 447 buoys.  The oldest Trinity House lighthouse was built in 1719 and it was established in 1499.

Trinity House’s sister GLAs, The Northern Lighthouse Board for Scotland & the Isle of Man, and Commission of Irish Lights, raise $84 million annually which is paid into the General Lighthouse funds.  All three services then draw on the fund to support future developments.

One of the services the funds are used for, as well as the day to day requirements, is the development of wind-farms which should ideally fit between the sea lanes.  These wind farms are under strict surveillance to ensure they are safe to shipping.

Another of Trinity House’s services is to remove wrecks which block sea passages, such as recently removing a World War 1 German submarine.

The three GLAs have made some radical developments, not exclusively to radio navigation.  GPS blockers are often left on by lorry drivers which block the AIS signals of the position of the vessels.

The eLoran (Long Range Navigation) stations will be installed along the South and East coast to provide alternative position navigation and timing information to ensure ships equipped with eLoran receivers can navigate safely in the event of GPS failure.  The eLoran initial operational Capability is due to be completed by the end of 2014 which covers 7 major ports on the UK East Coast.  By 2019 a Full-Operational-Capability (FOC) service covering all major ports in the UK and Ireland, plus traffic Separation schemes are due to be installed which will be in time for the first e-navigation services to come online.

The 33 Deep Sea Pilots certified by Trinity House, who advise the Ship’s master during operations in the Irish or North Seas are examined annually.

Climate change is increasing the sea level and Trinity House is responsible for ensuring the structures can withstand the different and sometimes extreme conditions such as higher waves and water levels.

Trinity House has been based at Tower Hill since 1796 and has survived many fires but was totally destroyed by a bomb on 29th December 1940 and had to be rebuilt.  Fortunately pictures and mirrors were evacuated before the war, yet ironically many mirrors were destroyed in a car crash.  During storage some small pictures began to rot due to mildew therefore were moved back to Trinity House, which was then destroyed by the bomb.

Prior to 1995, Trinity House had many charities; however they have now merged into two.  The corporate charity has a wide ranging remit, however receives very little funding, primarily from investments and letting the Public rooms and the Second Trinity House Maritime Charity, which concentrates on Alms Houses, beneficence, welfare, education, training and safety benefits from funding.

John Noble of Noble Marine enquired why the UK has lighthouses but Africa does not and why we won’t we supply them with the technology, to which Graham confirmed that the technology is available.

IMIF would like to thank Graham Hockley and Trinity House for supporting IMIF by making an excellent presentation and supplying a delicious luncheon.