It can be a complex process to manage the River Tees, but our harbour office team work together to ensure it’s always smooth sailing.
Here, Chris ‘Watty’ Watt tells us more about his role as a Vessel Traffic Services Officer (VTSO)…
What does your job role involve?
I assist the Duty Assistant Harbour Master in the safe and efficient running of Teesport and Hartlepool.
This involves placing vessel orders on CSMI our movements system, planning and co-ordinating movement’s dependant on factors such as tide, size and services required. We also provide navigational assistance to vessels in poor visibility and ensure that all services are available to ensure safe entry and departure from our jurisdiction.
What is your favourite part about the job?
I enjoy the fact that every shift is different. Plus, I get lots of job satisfaction every time a vessel arrives and departs with the minimal fuss!
What attracted you to the role?
I love that I get to work with and see ships every day (I am a closet ship spotter!) and the work pattern allows me to see my family.
Tell us about your journey to become VTSO
I started out as Deck Officer Cadet with TK Shipping in the mid 90s, then joined the British Army as a sailor on landing craft before transferring to the Royal Navy where I became a Hydrographic Survey Recorder. I served for 11 years where I did tours in Sierra Leone, the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea. Upon leaving the forces I spent four years on a helicopter training vessel for the UK SAR helicopter fleet.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy cycling, watching my son play cricket (strange for a Scotsman, I know!) listening to Depeche Mode and walking my dog, Thor.
To find out more about our role as Statutory Harbour Authority, visit https://www.pdports.co.uk/marine-information/statutory-harbour-authority/
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