Pilot Transfer Arrangements

by Captain Kevin Vallance MNI - published -
994

Pilot Transfer Arrangements
Article by Captain Kevin Vallance MNI

 

Most pilot embarkations and disembarkations around the world, are still carried out using a traditional pilot ladder, consisting of wooden steps supported and secured by side ropes.

Following a high number of fatal accidents in a relatively short period around 2006 the International Maritime Organisation reviewed and revised the applicable regulations.  Currently the minimum requirements are laid down within SOLAS V Regulation 23 which came into force in July 2012 and IMO Resolution A 1045 (A).

It must be appreciated and accepted that compliance with these regulations is a statutory legal obligation, not just a target for attainment.

Results from recent ‘Pilot Ladder Safety Surveys’ carried out by the International Maritime Pilot Association and other regional bodies, continue to show that a considerable number of Pilot Transfer Arrangements are not compliant with legislation. The reasons for this are many and varied.  A contributory factor includes a lack of understanding of the regulations due to an educational gap, which leads to a subsequent lack of knowledge and the core seamanship skills required.

Results from the IMPA survey’s and other similar initiatives consistently record that approximately 20% of pilot transfer arrangements presented are non-compliant.  This figure which is likely to be on the low side, means that one pilot ladder in every five offered is putting a pilot’s safety at a risk level above that which meets the minimum industry standard.

Over the past 5 years a number of initiatives both official and unofficial have been instigated in an attempt to raise awareness of the problems encountered by pilots on a daily basis.  These regional, national and international projects have initially been focussed on addressing the gap in knowledge of the pilots themselves. It is only through having a thorough understanding of the applicable regulations that pilots can be empowered to decline to use non-compliant arrangements, which potentially put their lives at risk.

Many ports now require a pre-arrival declaration that ‘Pilot transfer arrangements comply with the latest IMO requirements’.  This declaration may be requested either verbally by VHF or as part of a written statement. Where a vessel is found not to have a compliant transfer arrangement available she may be denied port entry until the situation is rectified, potentially causing a significant financial cost to the ship owner.

When deficiencies are noted and pointed out to the vessels Master it is common for them to state ‘it’s always been like that, we have never had a complaint before’ or to produce a certificate stating that the arrangement is ‘class approved’. Pilots with a greater understanding of the regulations are now more likely to challenge these statements. Class approval of a particular arrangement does not necessarily imply that it is compliant with International or local flag administration legislation.

Pilots must appreciate they have a responsibility to themselves and their colleagues not to use non-compliant pilot transfer arrangements particularly if they are unsafe.

In many regions of the world including the EU, pilots have a legal obligation to report deficiencies they find when carrying out their duties. Within the UK the correct sequence of events would be for the pilot to first report the deficiencies to their Competent Harbour Authority.  Subsequent reports to the MCA or MAIB may also be required.

Where defective transfer arrangements are reported to a CHA, they have a duty under health and safety legislation to ensure that employees and contractors work in a safe environment. If a pilot correctly refuses to board an inward bound vessel which cannot provide a safe means of access, not only will the ports commercial trade be affected but the port itself will be duty bound to support the pilot’s action.

Captain Kevin Vallance MNI

Author of the ‘Pilot Ladder Manual’, published by the Witherby Publishing Group.

What's your opinion on this?
Be the first to comment...
Login or register to view comments and join the discussion!
Read more...

Article A contempt for pilot safety and total disregard for the contents of the SOLAS Convention.

by Captain Kevin Vallance MNI - published

Tuesday, October 1st is the start date of the latest International Maritime Pilot Association's annual Safety Campaign.

Previous campaigns by the association have consistently shown results of pilot ladder deficiencies around the 20% mark.

0

Article Origins of the IMPA pilot mark

by Kevin Vallance deep sea pilot and author - published

There are many things in both our everyday and professional lives which we take for granted and never question the origins of, an example of this might be the IMPA recommended ‘pilot mark or pilot line’, which is sometimes seen on the side of vessels indicating where a vessels freeboard exceeds 9 metres.

1

Article #dangerousladders - Using social media to improve pilot transfer safety.

by Kevin Vallance deep sea pilot and author - published

It remains a sad fact that accidents and near misses continue to occur during pilot transfers with frightening regularity. Most of these fortunately do not result in injury, and a surprisingly high number of them are not even recognised for what they are.

Surveys into pilot ladder safety consistently reveal that unacceptably high numbers of pilot transfer arrangements are not compliant with the regulations.

0

Video Pioneer Pilots (Pilot Exchange) - Pilot Boat at Vlissingen Netherlands

Name: Pioneer Pilots ; Type: Pilot Boat ; Callsign: PCGX
MMSI: 245711000 ; Flag: Netherlands ; LengthXBeam: 21m X 6m.

A Pilot Boat is the type of vessel that render services to incoming and outgoing ships in a designated or charted Pilot Station by transporting the Marine Pilot to and from the vessel. The Marine Pilot is the one who guides the commercial ships in and out of the Seaport.

0

Video A Pilot Underway To Work

Found on YouTube. Created by "The Rotterdam Pilot"

It’s not always calm seas, helicopters and fast speedboats. In the third weekend storm this year, the pilot embarks MV VERA D by fast launch craft of the Pilot Station Vessel PROCYON. It takes professional teamwork by Pilotboat crew, the ship VERA D and VTS to board these ships in the harshest conditions in a violent Northsea. Well done and thanks to all players involved!

0

Video Ship piloting in pandemic times in Santa Marta, Colombia

Found on YouTube. Created by Guille Rodriguez on 04/04/2020.

It has been 1 month since the 1st case of coronavirus in the country. All airports were shut down, and mandatory confinement was issued 10 days ago. Nevertheless, Maritime shipping must continue (except for tourist related). The means that us pilots must continue with our duties despite the risks involved with all the ships' crews arriving from different countries. So we need to take all safety measures possible.

This particular maneuver was unberthing a chemical tanker, in loaded condition, the "Maersk Borneo", which is a mid size tanker with a bow thruster and a fixed pitch prop. I used 2 tugs fast on the port side, backed her out of the basin and turned her to port. Captain and crew were very professional.

0

Video Submarine pilot boarding

Pilot boarding submarine HNLMS Bruinvis at North East Spit pilot station.
Pilot Captain Chris Renault.

0

Article Updated Marine Safety Information by U.S. Coast Guard

published

U.S. Coastgard has published an update of their Recommendation for Pilot Transfer Arrangements in latest Marine Safety Information Bulletins (MSIB).

"Recent deaths of maritime pilots while embarking commercial vessels highlight the risks of operating in an
unforgiving maritime environment. To ensure the safety of all personnel boarding a vessel at sea, the Coast
Guard reminds vessel owners and operators of the requirements contained in the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Chapter V, Regulation 23 and strongly recommends that owners and operators follow the recommendations within IMO Resolution A.1045(27) – Pilot Transfer Arrangements. "

0

Video Finnpilot: Development of a self-righting pilot boat

Found on YouTube. Created by Finnpilot Pilotage Oy.

0