Isle of Man Maritime welcomes the Isle of Man Government’s Environment and Infrastructure Policy Review Standing Committee’s extensive June 2019 report (the “Report”) on the Harbour Strategy (GD2018/0011) approved by Tynwald in March 2018.
We fully support the recommendations of the Report which appear to mirror our opinion that the Harbour Strategy has been evolved and prepared from a bottom up operational, cost saving & maintenance perspective, rather than a broader, top down, truly national strategic perspective.
In our view, this stems from fact that there is not an overarching Maritime Strategy in place for the Island, which considers all of the stakeholders and users of the Island’s ports and harbours, as well as the Island’s broader international maritime obligations.
In line with the first recommendation of the Report, we concur that essential maintenance of Douglas Harbour must be progressed as a matter of urgency to ensure our lifeline services remain accessible. Our understanding is that these maintenance works, which will collectively cost in the region of £10m, include essential repairs to King Edward VIII, Victoria & Battery Piers.
We truly hope that Tynwald will adopt the second recommendation of the Report, appointing an external body to form a strategic review for the future development of the Island’s harbours, and that this body will be adequately resourced and empowered to engage appropriate professional advice on harbour development to ensure any proposals and options presented in their report to Tynwald are technically viable and appropriately costed.
We remain committed to supporting the Government by utilising the experience and industry expertise of our members to obtain the best long term economic and strategic outcome for development of the Island’s ports and harbours.
We have already performed a preliminary analysis of the requirements of a Maritime Strategy and look forward to the opportunity to engage further on these issues.