Harbor Master - Coast Guard
within the territorial scope of the Maritime Directorate of Venice.
The Corps of Port Captaincies – Coast Guard has among its main missions the regulation of civil and productive uses of the sea, for which it is functionally and organizationally integrated within the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, the Department to which its main institutional tasks are attributed.
Additionally, the Corps also operates under functional dependence on the Ministry of the Environment and Protection of the Territory and the Sea, and the Ministry of Agricultural, Food, Forestry, and Tourism Policies. For these Ministries, the territorial organization of the Port Captaincies exercises its highly specialized competencies.
As a Corps of the Navy, the personnel of the Port Captaincies have military status and, in this context, perform tasks in support of more strictly military functions (e.g., administrative tasks related to mobilization and conscription, logistical support to naval squadron units, defense of port facilities).
From this framework of functional dependencies, the main functions performed by the Port Captaincies derive, including:
Mission of the Corps of Port Captaincies
Below are the main missions of the Corps of Port Captaincies – Coast Guard within the territorial scope of the Maritime Directorate of Venice.
The Corps of Port Captaincies is responsible for ensuring the efficient organization of search and rescue services within the entire Italian area of interest at sea, which extends well beyond the boundaries of territorial waters, covering an area of approximately 500,000 square kilometers.
Within the national SAR organization, the Maritime Directorate of Venice performs the functions of a Secondary Maritime Rescue Sub Center (M.R.S.C.), ensuring the coordination of maritime search and rescue operations within its jurisdiction, in accordance with specific directives or delegations from the National Coordination Center for Search and Rescue Activities, based in Rome at the General Command of the Corps (I.M.R.C.C.).
Furthermore, thanks to the Vessel Traffic Management and Information System (VTMIS) platform, the Maritime Directorate of Venice carries out monitoring and control activities of maritime traffic in its jurisdiction, coordinating the actions of its subordinate commands in collecting and exchanging information aimed at increasing navigation safety, the efficiency of merchant traffic, improving response capabilities in search and rescue activities for the protection of human life at sea, and for effective preventive and operational response to pollution, as well as monitoring and control of activities related to the exploitation of fisheries resources.
For environmental issues, the Coast Guard functionally depends on the Ministry of the Environment and Protection of the Territory and the Sea, exercising surveillance and control functions regarding the protection of the marine and coastal environment. In this area, within the jurisdiction of the Maritime Directorate of Venice, specific activities related to the protection of the marine and coastal environment are carried out over a broad spectrum.
Among these, in particular:
- Surveillance of areas subject to special environmental protection (e.g., the Porto Marghera area, classified as a “National Interest Site” SIN);
- Monitoring of the transfrontier transport of hazardous waste from the SIN of Marghera;
- Surveillance of waste cycles, with regard to maritime, coastal, and port areas (waste produced by ships – bilge water)
- Inspection of emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere from ships;
- Protection of marine flora and fauna species, ecosystems, and cetaceans;
- Control of dredging activities and monitoring of the dumping at sea of materials from seabed excavation, as well as from other sediment movements in the marine environment;
- Environmental communication and education programs through a cycle of conferences in schools of all levels.
The Corps performs numerous activities related to “Safety,” both as a flag administration (control, verification, and issuance of safety documentation for national merchant and fishing vessels) and as a Port State Control (inspection of the port state) aimed at verifying compliance with international conventional regulations for foreign-flagged vessels calling at national ports.
Another technical activity carried out by the Port Captaincies concerns maritime safety (“Security”), a sector characterized by the implementation of preventive measures to protect shipping and the full operability of port facilities, even in the face of threats of intentional unlawful acts.
In this context, the Harbor Master is responsible for coordinating and monitoring the preventive measures implemented by terminal operators and the Port System Authority in the 30 port facilities of the Port of Venice.
In the field of fishing, the Port Captaincies operate under functional dependence on the Ministry of Agricultural, Food, Forestry, and Tourism Policies, where the Maritime Fishing Department was established directly under the Minister’s authority.
Fishing surveillance activities aimed at ensuring the sustainability of fishing efforts, fish resources, and the final consumer entail checks at sea on fishing vessels in operation, trade, and distribution of the product.
The surveillance and investigation activities related to violations of laws and regulations governing the sector are coordinated by peripheral structures present at each of the 15 Maritime Directorates, called the Area Fishing Control Center (CCAP).
The personnel coordinated by the CCAP of Venice operate not only in the maritime waters of the Veneto Region but also on the territory of the provinces of Venice, Rovigo, Padua, Verona, Vicenza, Treviso, Belluno, Mantua, Bergamo, Brescia, Trento, Bolzano, Pordenone, and Udine, conducting targeted inspections of both large and small distribution networks and in the catering sector.
On the technical-administrative side, the Harbor Master ensure the fulfillment of the tasks of the peripheral administration of transport, fisheries, and the environment, offering local authorities, private users, and companies in the sector a true “one-stop shop” for maritime issues, maritime professions, and economic development of the territory.
This includes a wide range of technical services and activities, including, for example:
- Inspections of activities carried out on state-owned maritime property and the exercise of related administrative policing powers;
- Administrative services for maritime personnel (maintenance of registers and issuance of professional certificates and titles following periodic exams held at the Harbor Master’s Office, where required);
- Administrative management of merchant ships and boating (maintenance of registers and issuance of onboard documents);
- For boating, scheduling of examination sessions for obtaining a boating license, administrative proceedings related to the activities of companies operating in the port, supervision, and regulation of technical-nautical services;
- Safety supervision of work activities on board ships;
Investigation and inquiry into maritime accidents to determine causes, circumstances, and responsibilities.