The foundation of this whole proposal is marine engineering expertise and experience.
There are two phases in which this requirement operates; business as usual and rapid response.
Business as usual would include survey, design, contract management and operations support, essentially, spending DFiD and the MoD’s money on supporting Requirement 1 and 2 and in a standalone capacity where the development of small ports makes sense as part of an overall conflict reduction or defence engagement strategy.
It will also have an important skills transfer function, building capability.
To be clear, this function would not be designing multi-billion Dollar container hub ports, but it would be doing so at a much smaller scale, e.g. the Sandy Bottom type described above.
The rapid response element would be in support of military options, or as part of a disaster response.
The survey task is arguably the most important as it describes a common recognised picture of the environment and task at hand, this could be a green-field site or an existing port, most likely the latter.
It might at first be imagined that a port survey would simply comprise of a bathymetric survey of approach routes, berths and turning basins but for a port to be of use to a joint force commander or humanitarian response effort it must include much more.
It is this breadth that makes it a relatively complex task and the drives the requirement to involve skills and capabilities across the defence spectrum, and possibly beyond defence as well. The baseline for a port survey is bathymetric and sub-surface obstruction information, but it should also include the following;
- Berthing and mooring facilities; are they damaged, are they in a good enough condition for shipping and what augmentation or repair is needed
- RORO link-spans, ramps and slipways; are they damaged, are any present, can they support the required traffic levels and shipping types
- Aids to navigation; are they present, in the right place and in what condition, can they support safe navigation for military and civilian shipping
- Handling equipment; cranes, reach stacker’s, forklift trucks and port tractors could all contribute to cargo handling but are they in a serviceable and safe condition, what spares or repairs do they need and how many of each are present
- People; harbour pilots, stevedores, security and engineers are all essential and will be needed to supplement military or aid agency personnel, does the port have a functioning team of people, can they be re-employed if not and is it possible to employ additional local staff
- Warehousing and storage facilities; hard standing, buildings, refrigerated storage and fuel tanks (with their associated pipelines and pumps) allow ships to be cycled through the port quickly, their condition and capacity will form part of the planning calculations
- Access roads; if stores are to move beyond the port the surrounding access roads will need to be assessed
- Others; utilities, security, radio systems and helicopter access are additional survey requirements
There might be many moving parts in play, emerging needs, changing situations and information that may be incomplete.
The simple objective is to create an accurate, georeferenced survey of the port, its facilities and potential for operability at a scale required by operational need.
With a survey complete, either using resources within the survey team or using ‘reach-back’ to the non-deployed team, an agreed design would be completed. A gap analysis between the ‘As Found’ state and requirements of the joint commander creates a statement of requirements for build, repair, augmentations and/or operation would also inform the design.
The agreed design and resultant work packages could either be fulfilled by resources organic to Requirement 2, or using local or international contractors on a less time sensitive basis.
Management of work package fulfilment could again use a combination of organic or contractor resources, depending on requirements and timelines.
Able to quickly deploy and into hazardous environments, the survey function would be the lead element for Requirement 2, and possibly requirement 3
One aspect that can have an achievable time requirement is notice to move for the survey team in response to an urgent requirement.
Holding the small survey team at 24 Hours-Notice to Move should be sustainable without disproportionate impact.
All survey team equipment should be transportable by air, preferably no more than 10 tonnes per individual item for transportability by helicopter.
To sum up, in diagram form;
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