Trinity House working to keep seafarers safe and supported

Deputy Master Captain Ian McNaught describes the impact made by COVID-19 on Trinity House’s safety and charity operations and the work being done to move forward

Following the recent revision to the Government’s lockdown restrictions, we at Trinity House are looking closely at how we can manage a safe return to full operational capacity as both a General Lighthouse Authority and a major maritime charity.

First and foremost—given that our statutory work as a GLA and the objectives of the Trinity House Maritime Charity are all being delivered to a high standard—we are confident that we can take the time to get this right and do it properly.

Our people’s safety—both at sea and on shore—is our priority; we will continue to focus on delivering our various responsibilities and make our return to offices and depots when it is safe and appropriate, with all safety measures fully in place. As an organisation we have adapted quickly and deftly to remote working, making extensive use of technology to enhance collaboration and communication across shore teams and vessel crews.

While their core duties have resumed throughout the lockdown, our vessels and Buoy Yard teams are ready to pick up the backlog of buoy inspections and maintenance and our Field Operations teams will be getting out there to resume technical inspections and painting; we are proud to say that availability of our aids to navigation has been kept to the incredibly high standard demanded of all lighthouse authorities.

Likewise, our schedule for inspecting over 11,000 local aids to navigation has been slowed but will now return to its normal pace and we are making tentative arrangements—pending further Government guidance—to carry out our annual inspection committee.

The work of the Maritime Charity has been no less busy and meaningful; the team works diligently—and in near-constant collaboration with partner charities—to meet the growing welfare need in the maritime community, to ensure the welfare and safety of mariners and their dependants.

Emergency response grants have been given to the Fishermen’s Mission, the Sailors’ Children’s Society and the Mission to Seafarers, among others, and the team has been meeting regularly with other funding partners and frontline charities to stay abreast of the emerging challenges.

To reiterate my comments from an earlier statement, I want to thank everyone at Trinity House, and their families too, for adapting so capably and completely to the demands placed upon them by the extraordinary circumstances presented by COVID-19.

My gratitude extends to maritime sector workers everywhere, including our colleagues at our sister lighthouse authorities the Northern Lighthouse Board and Irish Lights and our partner maritime charities. They have all demonstrated time and again that they are worthy of the ‘key worker’ plaudits—whether at sea or on shore—and our continuing recognition, applause and support.

Captain Ian McNaught

Deputy Master, Trinity House