Navigational safety


The emergency plan

The Harbour Master is responsible for navigation safety in the port water area and within the operational area of the VTMIS (Vessel Traffic Management and Information Services).

The Harbour Master

The Harbour Master is the official of the Authority, which in accordance with the laws and regulations of the Republic of Latvia, the laws and regulations of the International Maritime Organization, Helsinki Convention and the Helsinki Commission recommendations’ requirements organizes and controls vessel traffic at the port, within the port water area, shipping fairways, at berths and terminals The Harbour Master manages operation of the Harbour Master Service.

The Freeport of Riga Harbour Master Service

The Freeport of Riga Harbour Master Service includes:

  • Vessel Traffic Service Center (VTSC) operators; 
  • Ship pilots; 
  • The Harbour supervisor; 
  • Radar experts; 
  • Administrative Service; 
  • Marine Accident Consequences Liquidation and Lighthouse Supervision Unit.

The objective of the Harbour Master Service operation is to ensure and organize understandable, safe and environmentally friendly shipping for all traffic participants in the port water area, as well as provide vessel anchorage and berthing within the port water area.

The Riga City Council Binding Regulations the “Freeport of Riga Regulations” is a the key instrument for the Harbour Master, stipulating  operating procedures with the aim to supervise, organize and control navigation safety at the port.

 Harbour Master Functions

The main functions of the Harbor Master's to ensure safety at sea are as follows:

  • Vessel traffic organization, management and control. These duties are performed by properly qualified VTSC operators and ship pilots, provided with the relevant modern technical equipment. The Radar Unit specialists provide for the equipment maintenance and maintenance control. 
  • Navigational aids provision and operational control. Servicing and maintenance of aids to navigation is carried out by a commercial company on the contract basis. 
  • Safe shipping fairways and berthing areas provision. Hydrographic measurements within the port water area are provided by a    commercial company on the contract basis.
  • Navigation information provision. With the aim to ensure navigation safety the Latvian Maritime Administration provides the necessary navigation information available to the seafarers.
  • Navigation accident registration and analysis.
  • Compliance with the port formalities control within its competence. These duties are performed by the Harbour Supervisor in collaboration with the VTSC operators.
  • Ice navigation notification and icebreaker operational management. During the ice navigation season there is an icebreaker “VARMA” and an ice-class tugboat “FOROS” at the disposal of the Harbor Master.


Additional functions to ensure navigation safety

Additional important functions which are necessary to ensure navigation safety:

  • Tugboat technical support. Tugboat services in the port are provided by a commercial company.
  • Pilotage services provision. Pilot services at the port are provided by the Authority employees, and the pilot transfer services are provided by a commercial company.
  • VTMIS services provision. VTMIS services are provided by the Authority employees. VTMIS provides information and traffic management and control services.
  • Provision of linesmen services and necessary technical base for mooring operations. Mooring operations at the berth are provided by the berth owner or its legal operator.