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EU SHIPSAN ACT JA - Newsletter: Issue 22

26 October 2016/Categories: News, Newsletters

Download the EU SHIPSAN ACT JA - Newsletter: Issue 22 in .pdf format

Editorial



Dr. Martin Dirksen-Fischer, Head of Hamburg Port Health Authority, Germany









Dear Readers,

What a pleasure it was to meet so many but not all of the SHIPSAN ACT Joint Αction community in Rhodes, Greece just a couple of weeks ago. These days included a lot of reunions and networking of all the people involved. You can read in this newsletter more on this meeting. All the representatives of the different countries involved presented the progress achieved in their home ports. We also enjoyed the talk from Taiwan on the ongoing cooperation. 

I personally was very happy to meet and listen to our colleague Jaret Ames. For sure: the leadership of Shipsan can only be congratulated on the fact that Jaret is now working with SHIPSAN. Without any doubt: He is one of the outstanding people in the field, with lots of experience and a good humour as well. Welcome to Europe, once again, Jaret. Read more about him in “People of the project”. 

This newsletter includes much more. Also with a fine sense of humour our colleague Martin Walker is presenting an article on “The Closing meeting”. Though, there is good news: The newsletter will still be published, most likely every three month. And Martin already agreed to continue publishing articles. 

Tom Gaulton, Eirian Thomas, Nicholas Brooke, Stacey Wyke and Raquel Duarte-Davidson got together for another fine article: “The importance of physicochemical properties in the event of a chemical incident”.

Great reading as well.  Last not least: Learn everything about the port of Messina, Italy. 

And most of all: Keep up the SHIPSAN spirit. 



News from the leadership

Prof Christos Hadjichristodoulou, SHIPSAN ACT Joint Action Coordinator
Dr Barbara Mouchtouri, SHIPSAN ACT Joint Action Manager

SHIPSAN ACT, as a European Union Joint Action was expected to achieve increased Member State involvement including take-up on national policies/programmes, as well as to present commitment to activities to be “institutionalised” or permanent. Indeed, the consortium recognized in the Final Conference that took place on the 27 of September in Rhodes, that much have been achieved in terms of sustainability and dissemination. The appointed representatives of the EU MS in the 2nd General Assembly meeting of the joint action that took place on the 28 of September decided continuation of certain activities the following year and until the next EC funding: 


  • conduct of inspections according to the European Manual for hygiene standards and communicable diseases surveillance on passenger ships;
  • cooperation of the EUMS for scheduling of inspections on passenger ships on an international voyage according to the European Manual for hygiene standards and communicable diseases surveillance on passenger ships; 
  • training activities including the eLearning, the webinars and the face to face courses 
  • maintenance and operation of the website and the SHIPSAN ACT Information system 
  • e-newsletter (published every three months) 
  • continue work on developing/adjusting the national legal framework for implementation of activities at a national level (if not already in place) 

It was agreed during the 2nd General Assembly, that the University of Thessaly (coordinator of the EU SHIPSAN ACT joint action), will continue providing secretariat services to EU MS partners of EU SHIPSAN ACT for conduct and scheduling of inspection, issuing the newsletter, organizing training activities, as well as maintaining operation of SIS and the website.

The EU SHIPSAN ACT Joint Action partnership is currently working at finalising the deliverables including the final implementation reports, and the exit sustainability plan. Efforts continue for developing a legal framework at a European level as well. Moreover, on the 20th of October a table top exercise for the SHIPSAN ACT Information System (SIS) was conducted and at the same time the hygiene routine short notice inspections continue to be conducted by the EUMS in accordance with the European inspection schedule prepared by the EU MS.



Thematic Sections

Environmental health and hygiene on ships: 
The Closing Meeting


Martin Walker, Port Health Officer, Suffolk Coastal Port Health Authority, Felixstowe, England

 

Key Message: Procedures and etiquette for the closing meeting after inspection.

Introduction
As the SHIPSAN ACT Joint Action is drawing to a close (after 45 months and 22 newsletters), it seems fitting to close my series of newsletter articles by looking at the purpose of the closing meeting and how to properly carry it out. This follows the theme of looking at the various areas of the ship that are of public health interest to us and then rounding up with our conclusions.

The purpose of the closing meeting
The World Health Organization (WHO) Technical Handbook1 sets out in some detail both pre-inspection and during inspection requirements for inspectors, but is less detailed on the closing meeting. This meeting is as fundamental to a successsful inspection as both pre-inspection and the inspection itself. During this meeting inspectors should:

  • Describe the inspection findings based upon observations made;
  • Give the rationale behind the public health risk of each finding when necessary; and
  • Discuss any health or control measures that need to be implemented2.
The meeting also allows the master (or the relevant officer in charge at the time) to make any representations that they wish to make to the inspector at this time. This can include suggesting alternative measures for compliance with certain matters (see newsletter 21), making commitments to rectify certain matters, discussing the feasibility of possible solutions, clarifying points of possible confusion/misconceptions or challenging the findings of the inspector (hopefully unjustified!).
It should be noted that some of the above can/should be addressed at the time of observing inspection findings. The general approach should be that nothing comes as a surprise to the crew of the ship at the closing meeting. This is because inspection findings should be raised with the member of the ships crew accompanying you at the time of inspection.

Etiquette during meetings
Inspectors need to recognise that certain matters may be sensitive or private. As such a suitable private venue (e.g. the captains office) should be used if this is likely to be the case. Suitable time needs to allocated to the meeting as they should avoid the impression of being rushed (though time can invariably be a scarce resource). The Master of the ship is likely to feel better if they have had the opportunity to make any representations that they consider need to be made, particularly if an agreed appropriate change can be made. Inspectors will need to ensure that they employ some of the skills applied during inspection (particularly active listening, appropriate communication styles and ensuring that messages have been heard and understood) to ensure that the closing meeting is successful.
If there is more than one inspector involved in the inspection, a pre-meeting between the team members before the closing meeting may be appropriate to discuss the findings. This can ensure that conflicting messages are not given to the ship and allows all findings to be discussed to ensure that the appropriate Ship Sanitation Certificate (SSC) is issued. This is an approach that takes place on WHO face to face training courses in the classroom after practical ship inspection visits. Thereafter, the designated lead inspector will take the lead during the closing meeting.

Experience of closing meetings
My own experience of closing meetings has covered examples of all the aspects that I write about in the first section. In addition, I often hear some common messages from the ships crew. Ones that particularly come to mind are “Why have you mentioned this? It has never been mentioned on previous inspections!”, “Why are you asking for this? It is not necessary.” and “Please do not put this on the certificate, we will have problems when we visit xxxx port”.
I am sure that these (and doubtless some others that are similar) will have been heard by inspectors and readers. Some of these are difficult and awkward to answer. My usual approach is to emphasise that the technical handbook specifically mentions these items, refer the ships to them (share the URL with them so that they can verify the source), personalise the advice and requirements to them (that is, point out the potential hazards and risks to their/their colleagues health and as a result that you are acting in their interests) but also be open to any reasonable suggestions that can be agreed without compromising your position. This is sometimes not an easy task but they are skills that are necessary for inspectors to have and develop.
On the more positive side, I have also had examples of “Please write these findings down. Our company will only spend the money if they see something in writing!”.

Conclusions
The closing meeting offers a valuable forum to successfully concluding an inspection. It is part of the inspection process and needs to be properly scheduled by inspectors. It is also vital to allow enough time to complete the Ship Sanitation Certificate and this should not be under-estimated.
I don’t know if there will be future newsletter articles for the next chapter of the SHIPSAN voyage but I would be interested to hear the views and experiences from other inspectors about closing meetings. One forum could be PAGNet3. If you are an inspector or work for a national focal point/competent authority please join a discussion and share your experinces with colleagues working within the same field.
Finally, I hope that you have enjoyed this series of articles and that you have found them useful. It has been a great pleasure for me to produce them and I thank readers for the kind comments and suggestions that have been made over the last 3 years. I look forward to hearing from readers and hopefully seeing as many of you as possible again in future years.
Thank you and best wishes,

Martin Walker

References:
1. “Handbook for Inspection of Ships and Issuance of Ship Sanitation Certificates”; World Health Organization, http://www.who.int/entity/ihr/publications/handbook_ships_inspection/en/index.html
2. Extract from World Health Organization online training https://extranet.who.int/hslp/training/
3. PAGNet (Ports, Airports and Ground Crossings Network) https://extranet.who.int/pagnet/


Occupational health on ships: On the lawless sea

Kristina Militzer, Martin Dirksen-Fischer (Hamburg Port Health Service, Hamburg, Germany)
Interview with Ian Urbina, investigative journalist for The New York Times, 23.08.2016

Ian Urbina is an investigative journalist for the New York Times. Besides other topics, he has published several articles on the lawlessness on the high seas. Since early childhood, Ian has a preference for the ocean. During graduate school he took some time off to work on a ship and got his first experiences on the ocean. He immediately became fascinated by the people and the “space out there”. Working for the New York Times was, so Ian, a perfect opportunity to share his fascination with a global readership. Ian is convinced that it is important to inform people about the manifold things happening in the wide ocean. Therefore, he is not concentrating on a single topic but write stories about different subjects like human trafficking, sea slavery, stowaways, murder with impunity, illegal fishing or stealing of ships. “There are a lot of crimes out there but missing stories”, so Ian. Additionally, he adds, it is important to not focus on one geographical area like the South China Sea but to record stories from all over the world.

According to Ian, his audience already sees the dangers for the seamen and the environment as real. Though, the bigger problem is the sense of distance and the unawareness of complicity in the progress from people onshore. As a result, Ian has the impression that people don´t see, for instance, the linkage between their consumption and the overfishing of the ocean and the exploitation of human resources.

Ian is now working for 13 years as an investigative journalist. He is optimistic that, in the course of time, some points have been improved. However, there is still a lot to be done.
Until the end of this year, Ian will continue his work for the New York Times. Coming year, he will take a break to write a book and do a film project. He is also giving regular talks to share his stories and experiences.

Ian’s articles are vividly written and highly worth it to read. We warmly recommend you to check out one or more of his stories. See more under: http://www.nytimes.com/by/ian-urbina

And please have a look at those outstanding pictures that come along with the stories. 



Chemical and radiological issues on ships:
The importance of physicochemical properties in the event of a chemical incident


Tom Gaulton, Eirian Thomas, Nicholas Brooke, Stacey Wyke and Raquel Duarte-Davidson

The SHIPSAN ACT Joint action project is preparing guidance on dealing with radiological and chemical incidents on ships and at port, which aims to strengthen safeguarding of the health of travellers and crew of passenger and cargo ships, prevent cross-border health threats and improve health security. It is intended to complement existing arrangements within EU Member States by generating awareness and promoting communication amongst port health officers, public health authorities and other relevant agencies who might be involved in planning, preparing and responding to an incident.

In the event of a chemical release, the risks to human health and the environment need to be evaluated; this involves identifying the source of contamination and the pathways by which a chemical can come into contact with people or other potential receptor(s), which is crucial for tailoring an effective response and recovery strategy.

The physicochemical properties of a chemical, described in Table 1 can be used to define the behaviour of chemicals and are a useful aide in the risk assessment of chemical releases. This may be particularly important when considering questions such as: how toxic is it? are there degradation by-products to consider? is it persistent? All the physicochemical properties highlighted in the table can be used to address these questions and assess the potential public and environmental health impact.

Different chemicals may share similar physiochemical properties, which may allow a broad strategy with a concise number of options to be considered for dealing with chemical incidents, even for a mixture of chemicals.

Physicochemical property

Description

Physical form

Whether the chemical is a solid, liquid or gas will influence how it will behave in the environment. Gases will spread out until they are evenly distributed, liquids will flow with gravity and solids are relatively easy to contain. However, care must be taken with fibres, dust or smoke, which can be rapidly dispersed.

Persistence

This depends heavily on the environment that the chemical is released into, with factors such as the local microbial population, sunlight exposure, temperature and pH affecting the half-life of a chemical. Chemicals with a low persistence may be left to disperse naturally, whereas highly persistent chemicals are more likely to require removal from the environment.

Density

This is of particular importance to chemical spills on the water, as the density of the chemical relative to that of seawater will dictate whether the chemical is a ‘sinker’ or a ‘floater’, which would change the method of remediation. Density can be temperature dependant, so the behaviour of chemicals may change with the weather.  Volatile gases which are also heavier than air can accumulate in low-lying spaces such as basements, cellars, or in holds of ships and are more likely to lead to exposure to the public in inhabitable areas

Water solubility

The ability of a material (solid, liquid or gas) to dissolve in water. Materials can be soluble, sparingly soluble or insoluble. Water soluble materials (such as acids) may be more easily dispersed in water and have a greater potential to pollute water environments. Many water insoluble materials (such as petrol) may be spread by the movement of the sea. Water-based decontamination of surfaces may be more effective if a chemical is water soluble; whereas removal options or active decontamination may be more appropriate for non-water soluble chemicals. Also of note is that the hydrophobicity of organic compounds is higher in seawater than in freshwater.

Bioavailability/
bioaccumulation

Bioavailability refers to the amount of chemical which can enter local organisms, while bioaccumulation refers to the extent that a chemical can build-up and remain in an organism over time. Bioaccumulation depends on the water solubility of the chemicals, as highly soluble chemicals will be rapidly excreted from animals while chemicals with low water solubility (lipophilic) are harder to excrete and remain inside animals for longer. This can have impacts on the food chain as chemicals which bioaccumulate can persist in e.g. plankton, which are eaten by small fish and in turn eaten by larger fish. This has the effect of concentrating the chemical up the food chain (biomagnification).

Vapour pressure

This is how readily a chemical will evaporate and volatilise in the environment. This is particularly important when dealing with chemicals that will float on seawater, as highly volatile chemicals will be rapidly evaporated and dispersed whereas those of low volatility may be more likely to persist on the water surface, increasing the chances of exposure.

Table 1. Source: Wyke et al. 2014

Incidents associated with the release of chemicals may develop quickly and require inter-agency liaison, public health risk assessment and evidence-based decision making.
Any event requiring a public health risk assessment should be evaluated on a site and incident specific basis. It may be necessary to access relevant expertise, for example to assess risk and determine the fate and transport of chemicals. Evaluating the physicochemical properties of the chemical(s) will significantly help decision makers assess the health risks of the chemical release and identify evidence-based control measures and determine the most appropriate recovery strategy. Tools which support the assessment of risk to public health, which take account of the physicochemical properties of chemicals, include the ARCOPOL HNS risk prioritization tool and the UK recovery handbook for chemical incidents, both have featured in previous editions of the SHIPSAN newsletter. These tools may also be used in the preparation and pre-planning phase of an incident under non-crisis conditions, to engage with other relevant stakeholders. They may also be used for training purposes and contingency planning.

References

Wyke S, Pena-Fernandez A, Brooke N, Duarte-Davidson R. The importance of evaluating the physicochemical and toxicological properties of a contaminant for remediating environments affected by chemical incidents. Environ Int. 72 (2014) 109-118. Available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412014001445

The UK recovery handbook for chemical incidents. Accessed on 02/09/16 here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/201024/UKRHCI_publication_31st_May_2012_web2.pdf

ARCOPOL HNS prioritisation tool. Accessed on 12/09/16 here: http://www.arcopol-hns-db.eu/index.php/get-started



News and events

EU SHIPSAN ACT past events:

National training event in Slovenia: Chemical safety - safe manipulation of potentially contaminated cargo with toxic chemicals

When: 1st September 2016          Where: Koper, Slovenia




The one-day workshop was targeted to port authorities (custom officers, inspectors, port workers, commercial national association, port administrator, occupational health) and covered the following topics:
  • Overview of European and international standards and recommendations for the safe use of pesticides on ships
  • Fumigation in shipping
  • Safe Unloading of Containers – Practical Solutions
  • Practical demonstration at the Port of Koper


Final Conference of the EU SHIPSAN ACT Joint Action

When: 27th September 2016            Where: Rhodes, Greece


The EU SHIPSAN ACT Final Conference was held on the 27th of September 2016 in Rhodes, Greece.

Conference topics:

The aim of the Final Conference was to present the results and the impact and added value of the EU SHIPSAN ACT Joint Action in preparedness and response to public health events, enhancement of capacities in regards to maritime transport and health threats. Additionally, scientific sessions were held presenting research developments for maritime health and hygiene.

A poster session was held where results of the Joint Action were presented.

Participants had the opportunity to hear from 18 EUMS and from Taiwan about the take up of activities at national and local level and the impact the EU SHIPSAN ACT Joint Action had at (i) their daily work lives, (ii) preventing, assessing and coordinating to serious cross border health threats caused by chemical, radiological, biological agents including infectious diseases and (iii) addressing public health events of international concern at national and local level.

Participants:
A total of 85 participants from 23 countries (22 EUMS and Taiwan) attended the Final Conference [response rate: 88% (23 out of the 25) of the EUMS invited, all associated (100%) and all except three (83%) collaborating partners]. Attendees included representatives from port health authorities, universities, public health institutions, ministries, international organizations, professional associations the cruise and ferry shipping industry and water technology.

- Associated partners: 32 participants from 10 EUMS
- Collaborating partners/Collaborating ports: 30 participants from 15 EUMS, 2 participants from Taiwan
- Maritime industry representatives: 17 participants from cruise lines, Cruise Line International Association
- European Organisations/Agencies: European Commission Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE), Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA), European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)
- International Organisations: World Health Organisation (WHO)

Photos from the Poster Session, SHIPSAN Final Conference, 27 September 2016:




2nd General Assembly Meeting of the EU SHIPSAN ACT Joint Action

When: 28th September 2016      Where: Rhodes, Greece


After the Final Conference, on the 28th of September, the General Assembly of the EU SHIPSAN ACT Joint Action consisting of representatives officially assigned from the Ministries of Health of 24 EUMS came together to discuss the sustainability of the Joint Action activities.

Participants:
A total of 76 participants from 23 countries (22 EUMS and Taiwan) attended the meetings (response rate: 88%, 23 out of the 25 associated and collaborating partners invited) coming from port health authorities, universities, public organizations, ministries, international organizations, professional associations and the cruise shipping industry.

- Associated partners: 31 participants from 10 EUMS
- Collaborating partners/Collaborating ports: 25 participants from 14 EUMS, 2 participants from Taiwan
- Maritime industry representatives: 14 participants from cruise lines, Cruise Line International Association
- European Organisations/Agencies: European Commission Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE), Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA), European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)
- International Organisations: World Health Organisation (WHO)



Other forthcoming events:

14th International Symposium on Maritime Health

When: 21- 24 March 2017           Where: Manila – Philippines

The 14th International Symposium on Maritime Health (ISMH14) will highlight both the most recent and – even more importantly – the emerging approaches to maritime health with the singular goal of further enriching the health and quality of life of seafarers for the benefit of all stakeholders in the maritime industry.
For further information: http://ismh14.com/


People from the project

Jaret Ames

Photo from the final official CDC ship inspection where the tradition is to give your uniform hat to the ship’s Master.
(From left to right: Capt. Jaret Ames, the Master of Carnival Valor)


Hello All. I’m Jaret Ames; born and raised in Xenia (Greek – guest-friendship) Ohio. My home since 2002 is Tucker, Georgia USA. College degrees earned were Environmental Health, 1986 and Masters, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences in 1996. From 1986 to 1990 I held various environmental health positions in Florida, Georgia and New York City before joining the U.S. Public Health Service as an officer in 1990.

Assignments in New York and Maryland lead me to transfer with CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program in Miami, Florida in 1998. I was promoted with VSP, transferring to Atlanta, Georgia in 2002, and becoming Chief in 2007. In all the VSP positions I continued to conduct ship inspections, training, and GI illness outbreak investigations.

I retired from the Public Health Service 31 August, 2016 and began consulting, which I’m honored to say has brought me to EU SHIPSAN Act Joint Action, Thessaloniki Office. I’ve admired the people and supported the mission of SHIPSAN from the beginning, and from 13 September have been living in the pretty and very hospitable city of Thessaloniki, Greece. With free time I search for fava! I have great belief in EU SHIPSAN Act and hope to contribute something towards the continuation. 



Recent Publications

Replication of human noroviruses in stem cell-derived human enteroids.

Ettayebi K, Crawford SE, Murakami K, Broughman JR, Karandikar U, Tenge VR, Neill FH, Blutt SE, Zeng XL, Qu L, Kou B, Opekun AR, Burrin D, Graham DY, Ramani S, Atmar RL, Estes MK
Science. 2016 Aug 25.

Abstract

The major barrier to research and development of effective interventions for human noroviruses (HuNoVs) has been the lack of a robust and reproducible in vitro cultivation system. HuNoVs are the leading cause of gastroenteritis worldwide. We report successful cultivation of multiple HuNoV strains in enterocytes in stem cell-derived, nontransformed human intestinal enteroid monolayer cultures. Bile, a critical factor of the intestinal milieu, is required for strain-dependent HuNoV replication. Lack of appropriate histoblood group antigen expression in intestinal cells restricts virus replication, and infectivity is abrogated by inactivation (e.g., irradiation, heating) and serum neutralization. This culture system recapitulates the human intestinal epithelium, permits human host-pathogen studies of previously noncultivatable pathogens, and allows the assessment of methods to prevent and treat HuNoV infections.

Further information:

International Health Regulations in practice: Focus on yellow fever and poliomyelitis.

Simons H, Patel D.

Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2016 Aug 19:0. [Epub ahead of print]

Abstract

The spread of infectious disease represents a global threat and therefore remains a priority on the international public health agenda. The International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) came into effect in June 2007 and provide a legal framework to which the 196 member states of the World Health Assembly agree to abide. 1 These regulations include implementation of protective, control and response measures at points of entry to a country (i.e. land borders, sea and airports), and of notification measures, all of which aim to prevent or limit the spread of disease whilst minimising disruption to international trade. The World Health Organization can apply and enforce IHR (2005) to any disease considered to pose a significant threat to international public health. This short paper focuses on two diseases; yellow fever and poliomyelitis, both of which have the potential to spread internationally. It will discuss the measures applied under IHR (2005) to minimise the threat, and explore the implications for both travellers and travel health advisors.

Further information: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21645515.2016.1218100



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Quiz

By Jaret Ames
What novel began as an undercover investigation in a newspaper series intended to expose the harsh working and living conditions of European immigrants in Chicago, Illinois? The result was not sympathy for the plight of those workers, but there was instead a public outrage over the poor sanitation practices in the U.S. meatpacking industry that were revealed. Inspections and new regulation of the meat industry soon followed.

Answer to the previous issue’s quiz: Prisoners of the Sun

Congratulations to the following for providing the correct answer

  • Dr. Miguel Dávila-Cornejo, Head of the International Alerts Unit, Deputy Directorate General of Foreign Health, Directorate General for Public Health, Quality and Innovation, Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality


Port in focus

Port of Messina, Italy

By Maria Elsa Gambuzza, Messina, Italy

Among the main Italian ports, Messina occupies an important place, since it represents the main departure port from Sicily to Italian mainland and the Eolian islands.

Along the “Strait of Messina”, the body of water of about 3 km that separates Sicily from the rest of Italy, both international cruise and national ferry traffic are particularly intense. Messina is also included among the itineraries of major cruise lines.


A few thoughts on mythology and history

The Strait of Messina was object of old fantastic stories and legends, cause its stormy waters. According to Greek mythology, two immortal and irresistible sea monsters, called cylla and Carybdis, localized on the opposite sides of the Strait, felled the narrow waters traversed by the hero Odysseus , as described in Homer’s Odyssey.
Scylla was pictured as a rock shoal (a six-headed sea monster) on the Italian side of the strait, whereas Charybdis was a whirlpool off the coast of Sicily. From this legend was born the idiom “between Scylla and Charybdis”, that indicates a person who is between two dangers.



To the Saturn’s legend is attributed the characteristic sickle shape: Saturn is told to castrate his father Uranus, who in turn launched the tool in direction of the strait giving rise that particular strip of land shaped like a sickle.


The legend of the “Morgan fairy”, an optical illusion caused by atmospheric conditions, due to the refraction of light from the sky by heated air, claims that the fairy created boats flying above the sea and never approaching the shore and caused above the straits, golden castles floating in the air that no one was ever able to reach since they were an optical illusion - a mirage, the Fata Morgana.


Messina and its port were devastated by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami of 1908, a double catastrophe that completely destroyed the city and many nearby coastal towns.



After its rebuilding, the port regained its importance with its characteristic peninsula encompassing a vast expanse of water of about 820,000 m2 with mouth NW m 400 and backdrops that allow direct mooring docks even large ships. Its 11 docks ensure the daily loading and unloading of goods of any kind and size, for ships of any type and tonnage through the provision of modern services and infrastructure that make it one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean, for volumes of freight traffic, passenger and cruise passengers.

In the last two years the port acquired further importance since it became one among the most important point of disembarking of migrants and asylum seekers crossing the Mediterranean Sea and rescued by British, Maltese, Belgian, Italian vessels and Icelandic and Finnish planes deployed in operation Triton coordinated by Frontex.

In the 2014 and 2015 about 5,809 and 10,008 migrants respectively have been disembarked and attended by a well-organized staff formed by Official Authorities of Health Ministry – Territorial Office of Messina, volunteers of Italian Red Cross and aid organizations and the main local authority representatives.









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