As part of PD Ports’ role as Statutory Harbour Authority, our skilled vessel traffic services (VTS) team are responsible for ensuring safe and efficient navigation on the River Tees.
VTS Manager Luke Oldham tells us more about working in the harbour office…
What does your role involve?
As VTS Manager, I am responsible for managing and co-ordinating the activities of the Tees vessel team on behalf of the VTS Authority, ensuring current rules, regulations and legislation are adhered to.
Each day working in VTS varies, but a taste of what it involves is handling enquiries from vessel agents, attending arrival\departure meetings for barges and project vessels, or preparing evidence in response to an incident or accident within the VTS area. I can also find myself dealing with HR matters, looking after our VTS software\equipment\hardware, and ensuring all VTS Operators are trained and qualified to the high standards that are required of them by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
What is your favourite part about the job?
No two days on the river are the same and this in turn means each day comes with a new set of challenges.
What attracted you to the role?
I decided to take the step from sea to shore as I had a growing family and wanted to spend more time with them. I joined PD Ports three years ago as an Assistant Harbour Master and in February I moved into the newly-created VTS Manager position. I knew coming ashore and working for PD Ports would allow me to find a better work-life balance, whilst remaining connected to the shipping industry.
Tell us about your journey to become VTS Manager
At 16 years old I was fortunate enough to commence a Merchant Navy Deck Officer Cadetship sponsored by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), a company I stayed with for 13 years. One highlight during my time in the RFA was conducting counter piracy operations off the coast of Somalia. After the RFA, I spent four years on DP vessels in the offshore oil and gas sector where I was fortunate to progress further through the ranks and have a spell as Master.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Prior to lockdown I had been appointed as a Magistrate to the Northumbria South Bench. When restrictions ease, I’m looking forward to recommencing my training and getting back into court.
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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