A report on AIMPA’s Webinar on “Reconceptualising Indian Maritime Pilotage”

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A report on AIMPA’s Webinar on “Reconceptualising Indian Maritime Pilotage”
Picture from the Youtube Video

Ampia Technical Webinar

The need to hold such a webinar was felt from the interaction over several months of AIMPA members through its President, Capt. Gajanan Karanjikar, with Capt Simon Meyjes and Capt.Ravi Nijjer - both instrumental in the thorough upgrade of pilotage operations Safety management systems in parts of Australia. From these interactions, AIMPA has come to the firm conclusion that a thorough upgrade of maritime pilotage management systems in India is necessary. Holding a webinar would be a good start to help bring about such change. The webinar was held on 24th Oct 2020 on a platform graciously provided by the Institute of Marine Engineers of India (IMEI). Maritime Fraternity supported the event as ‘must have’ and professional bodies like Nautical Institute and company of Master mariners supported the event full-fledged. As contacted with Chirp Maritime UK, their Marine Operations director Mr Jeff Parfitt not only supported the event but also agreed to be one of the speakers.
As many as seven accomplished experts in the field of maritime pilotage management were requested to share their views using short presentations of about 10 minutes each. Two moderators, each a very accomplished maritime professional, were also empanelled.
The intent of the webinar was to spark ideas and opinions which, after some analysis and moderation, could be put up by AIMPA as a set of recommendations for both policy as well as decision makers in India to consider.
The response to the webinar was very encouraging. As many as 500+ persons registered. For students in various maritime training institutes in India as well the wider public too, the webinar proceedings were streamed live via Facebook and Youtube.
The panellists had so much to share. So much so that the moderators had to extend the scheduled duration of the webinar! AIMPA is grateful to the panellists and the viewers for the enthusiasm shown. The question and answer time after each of the two sessions was lively but curtailed, due to time constraints. Then again, a lot of suggestions, reactions and questions were posted by attendees via the chat-box. It goes to show that attendees were following each speaker’s presentation keenly. AIMPA will be looking at the webinar chat-box record and endeavour to reply to questions posted. As well as take into consideration suggestions and points made via the chatbox when formulating its recommendations.
The Master of Ceremonies, Capt. Rajesh Nambiar, welcomed all the panellists and participants. Thereafter Capt.Karanjikar, as webinar host, made his opening remarks. He said the process to create and form the AIMPA was triggered by the sad demise of Capt.V.K.Gupta, Mumbai Pilot, in July 2019. Several pilots at various Indian ports took the initiative to right away initiate some practical steps to improve safety during pilot transfers. This was the beginning of AIMPA. Formalizing its formation was delayed somewhat due to the pandemic currently running its course. President Capt.Karanjikar said that he was encouraged by the views and support of industry organizations involved in ship owning & management, maritime education and training, professional organizations like the Company of Master Mariners of India, The Nautical Institute, London, the independent human factor incident reporting program “CHIRP Maritime,UK. And not to forget the enthusiastic and generous support of each of the panellists and moderators.
Based on an assessment of ideas exchanged over the last few months, AIMPA felt that the topics of Pilot Ladders, Pilot Transfer Procedures and Pilot Training would be good place to begin its formal efforts for improving the safety of not just its pilots but also that of navigation and all harbour front matters in Indian port waters. All these three topics form the essential pillars of Safety of Navigation in port among others Maritime Pilot being responsible for the protection of environment and associated risks by incoming and out-going ships, are much needed to be on board as local experts.
Capt Karanjikar ended his opening address saying AIMPA looked forward to industry support for its follow up efforts on the submitted proposals. On that note, the webinar’s first session, moderated by Capt.Ravi Nijjer, commenced.
There were two sessions of the webinar 1st session began with the moderator, Capt Ravi Nijjer confessing he had been swept along, same as most others participating in the seminar, by the infectious energy and enthusiasm of Capt. Karanjikar. He then gave a broad outline of how pilotage needs to be viewed by ports so that good systems are created and maintained. He introduced all the speakers in that session. The speakers in first session were Simon Meyjes, EX CEO of Reff pilots association of Autralia, Capt Sasnsarchandra choubye currently a Vice President at Mundra Port, is an ex-pilot, Capt Jeanine Drummond Harbour Master of NewCastle Port, Autralia who examined their port’s pilot transfer procedure in a very comprehensive manner and, as a consequence, came with improvements at many levels. He then introduced the final speaker, Capt Santosh Rangan. Capt Nijjer said it would be most useful to hear the views of a sailing master on the exchange of information between the master and the pilot.
The second session began with its moderator, Capt Sudhir Subhedar, a person who is very well versed in Indian maritime laws, saying that Indian pilotage per se was really not covered under a specific law. He felt that pilotage, though more an art than a science, could nevertheless not be left out of a properly devised system of training. Such a system should take into account the need for a uniform, internationally acceptable basis of training. Perhaps the Code of Pilotage as implemented in the UK, Canada and Australia could be a good place to start in achieving this objective. The code should describe the suitable entry point, step-wise training, thresh holds in the training - such as size of vessel, day or night, accountability and risk management.
The speakers in second session were, Capt Andrew Beazely – presented on “Manned Scale Model Training”, Mr, Simon Meyjes who spoke to Human Factor involved in Pilot training, Capt Anand Karkare (Ex DC MBPT) spoke about the Benchmarking of The Indian Maritime Pilot training benchmarking and Capt Jeff Parfitt spoken diligently on the incidences that are reported to CHIRP and gave a full account of systematic defects in the Pilot transfer system including the Human Errors.
The webinar was great success in putting the message across to the industry that the Pilot ladders and Pilot transfer procedures are important aspects in Safety of Navigation along with proper training of pilots and, cannot be ignored. AIMPA urged industry to come forthwith make these operations safe.
The seminar was ended here and the MC, Capt Rajesh Nambiar gave a vote of thanks.
He mentioned a few “take aways” from each session, by no means all of them. AIMPA would deliberate on these take aways and take them into account when submitting its proposals to the regulatory authorities.
Thanks were expressed to: Capt Karanjikar, President, AIMPA; the seminar Organising Committee of AIMPA; seminar partner Mr.Sanjeev Mehra from IMEI; Capt DK Jha and Capt MP Bhasin and the entire court of the Company of Master Mariners of India; Capt Kapildev Behl of the Nautical Institute, Capt RK Kumar and Capt Ranjeet Cheerath from CHIRP Maritime,
Capt Nambiar acknowledged the presence of several dignitaries amongst the attendees, naming some he mentioned - Ms Jillian Carson-Jackson – President of The Nautical Institute, London; Capt Subhash Deshpande ExC, former pilot Mumbai Port; senior mariners Capt Pritam Mohanty, Capt Soman Mani; Capt Mahesh Yadav – Director, FOSMA; Capt Joseph Alapat; Capt Glenn Saldanha, Shri NMC Nair.

The proceedings concluded with Capt Nambiar giving a special thanks to – Media partners M/s Bhandarkar Publications and Marex for their wonderful support.

Last, therefore most important, the fraternity of all the attendees and viewers – both students, maritime training institute faculty, practicing professionals and seniors.

This is summary of some of the takeaways:

Location on recording = 1st session 02:47:55 onwards; 2nd session 02:55:35 onwards


1st session:
1. Enhance the pilot’s profile in a port’s organisation,
2. Include pilot ladders in local regulations of ports (Dock worker’s regulations? To give it statutory force of law like how Ravi Nijjer said they did in Australia?)
3. Pilot boat design and construction to be safer and more standardised.
4. Improvements in pilot boat crew training
5. Uniform procedures for Pilot boarding, pilot communications are main areas which need to be improved.

2nd session:
1. Training procedures to be reviewed and refresher training to be included for pilots.
2. Improvised training of Maritime pilots is must through programs like Manned scaed model training, Such facility does not exist in India.
3. Incident reporting must be undertaken by all maritime Pilots
4. Play an enabling role in bringing about pilot training system as envisaged by Capt Karkare as per the efforts he had some years earlier along with Capt Saggi and others
5. CPD for pilots to be sought.
Report by Capt Sanjiv Pande- Pilot @ Dahej and member of Organising committee AIMPA- RIPM webinar and edited by Capt Gajanan Karanjikar- President AIMPA.
Editor's note:
Opinion pieces reflect the personal opinion of individual authors. They do not allow any conclusions to be drawn about a prevailing opinion in the respective editorial department. Opinions are usually deliberately formulated in a pronounced or even explicit tone and may contain biased arguments. They are intended to polarise and stimulate discussion. In this, they deliberately differ from factual articles you typically find on this platform, written to present facts and opinions in as balanced a manner as possible.
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The intent of the webinar was to spark ideas and opinions which, after some analysis and moderation, could be put up by AIMPA as a set of recommendations for both policies as well as decision makers in India to consider.

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