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The harbour master's office

Nautical and general information

Every day in the Port of Hamburg a large number of journeys are made by all types of vessel including sea-going, inland, traditional and pleasure. The trouble-free navigation of all this traffic at such an intersection is only possible if nautical safety is continuously guaranteed.

This is the responsibility of the harbour master's office. On a day-to-day basis this means maintaining navigational safety through shipping traffic management measures and, where possible, increasing it even further.
Amongst the office's other main duties is consultancy in respect of nautical affairs which must be considered in construction planning, and approval and licensing processes.

Here the harbour master's office is recognised as a competent contact and source of knowledge for the Port of Hamburg and as such is regularly consulted both by the HPA and the wider port economy.
The central self-concept of the harbour master's office includes the preventative exercising of its functions: the early identification of predictable incidents and the timely implementation of counter-measures before anything happens, thus making an essential contribution to the port's productivity.

The area of the open tidal Port of Hamburg is covered by powerful land-based radar systems and an AIS land station (Automatic Identification System for ship identification), the information from which is displayed in the nautical control centre. The harbour master's office provides ships with information about navigation routes and berths and advises vessel navigators from the nautical control centre.

The responsibility of the harbour master's office extends, as defined by the Port Traffic and Navigation Law, to all arms of the Elbe and the waters connected to it between a line crossing the Elbe at Oortkaten (km 607.5) and the Hamburg state border where it runs between Tinsdal (km 639) and Cranz across the Elbe.

Downriver of the state border, the Hamburg Waterways and Shipping Office is responsible. The applicable traffic regulations in the Port of Hamburg are the Waterways Regulation, the Collision Prevention Rules (KVR) and the Port Traffic Regulations.