A year ago, pilot Capt. Dennis Sherwood died in the line of duty

by Frank Diegel - published -
548

A year ago, pilot Capt. Dennis Sherwood died in the line of duty
photo: Sherwood family / official obituary
It has been exactly one year ago that a pilot from Sandy Hook (New York), Dennis Sherwood, died in the line of duty while attempting to board the container vessel Maersk Kensington.
What has happened since then? Has safety been improved for the pilots?

A look back

Capt. Dennis Sherwood, a pilot of Sandy Hook fell backwards off a ladder while boarding a vessel on December 30th of 2019 at 4:30 a.m. and died of his serious injury in Staten Island hospital, according to U.S. Coast Guard reports. A routine investigation of the accident has been initiated.

After the accident, the shipping company Maersk expressed its regret about the fatal accident in a short message distributed on a small maritime website.
Maersk Kensignton with non-compliant combination ladder
Maersk Kensignton with non-compliant combination ladder
Maersk Kensignton with non-compliant combination ladder
Maersk Kensignton with non-compliant combination ladder
IMPA President makes a statement to IMO on January 17th 2020 regarding the passing of Captain Dennis Sherwood. A letter to IMO was published via Twitter. Saying: “This controversial trapdoor arrangement has long been considered unsafe by pilots. It is clearly not in compliance with current SOLAS requirements.” … “Captain Sherwood’s death is a tragic reminder that much more needs to be done.” He demands further that all flag states, port states and ship operator organizations should support an initiative “to get rid of this arrangement, immediately”.
The Pacific Pilotage Authority proclaims on March 4th 2020 on the shipping inustry:
"There is a common misunderstanding amongst vessel operators that vessels built prior to 2012 are exempt from some of the requirements for pilot transfer arrangements. This is incorrect...".

The rules for trapdoors have been in place since 1979 and the requirement for the pilot ladder to extend above the lower platform to the height of the handrail has not changed.
Improperly rigged pilot transfer arrangement. Photo by Pacific Pilotage Authority
Improperly rigged pilot transfer arrangement. Photo by Pacific Pilotage Authority
Improperly rigged pilot transfer arrangement. Photo by Pacific Pilotage Authority
Improperly rigged pilot transfer arrangement. Photo by Pacific Pilotage Authority

What has changed until today?

In my opinion: Nothing!
Nothing has been changed on board the Maersk Kensignton, the ship continues to sail with a non-compliant "trapdoor arrangement". Some also speak of a "widow maker". All ships of the Maersk "K-Class" have the same combination ladders. They are not allowed and do not comply with the rules!


The combined arrangement of the pilot ladder and accommodation ladder were contributing factors in the death of the US pilot Capt. Dennis Sherwood, as the Pacific Pilotage Authority (Canada) stated.
Non-Compliant PBA on Maersk Kensignton (January 2020). Photo by Tom Rutter
Non-Compliant PBA on Maersk Kensignton (January 2020). Photo by Tom Rutter
Non-Compliant PBA on Maersk Kensignton (January 2020). Photo by Tom Rutter
Non-Compliant PBA on Maersk Kensignton (January 2020). Photo by Tom Rutter
Is Maersk such a big and powerful company that none of the global organisations dare to do anything about the company's non-compliant practices? It is clearly about economic interests: Replacing all non-compliant pilot ladders would be very costly for Maersk.

But also the local pilots, who have the right to reject a ship if the pilot ladder does not comply with the applicable rules and the ladder is unsafe, do not dare to take the consequences against these trapdoor arrangements. There is also economic pressure here, because no one wants to mess with the powerful shipping company Maersk, which provides employment in the port.
Often it is also - with all due respect - the unawareness of the pilots about the applicable rules in relation to the trapdoor arrangements. Or the pilot says: "We've always done it that way. The vessels of this kind have been coming for years. What's the problem?"

I can never tire of pointing out the problem of non-compliant trapdoor arrangements and supporting all those who are also fighting against these abuses. Especially today, one year after the fatal accident of Capt. Dennis Sherwood. It is time for a change. Now.
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. Opinion pieces might be deliberately formulated in a pronounced or even explicit tone and may contain biased arguments. They might be intended to polarise and stimulate discussion. In this, they deliberately differ from the factual articles you typically find on this platform, written to present facts and opinions in as balanced a manner as possible.
What's your opinion on this?
Login or register to write comments and join the discussion!
Read more...

Article Sandy Hook Pilot Timothy M. Murray lost his life while boarding a ship (08/05/2020)

by Marine-Pilots.com - published

On August 5, 2020 at approximately 10:30 pm, Sandy Hook Pilot Captain Timothy M. Murray was involved in an incident while boarding a tanker vessel inbound to the Port of New York & New Jersey. He sustained injuries after falling from a pilot ladder and was evacuated to a local hospital where his injuries proved to be fatal.

0

Article In Memoriam of Captain Dennis R. Sherwood (1955 - 2019)

by Bianca Reineke, lutheran Pastor, Germany - published

Ladders are the bridges for crossing the rough seas of our lives.
When you are a Marine Pilot at work, hoping and praying that the ladders which let you embark the vessel are stable, safe and not dangerous.
In Memoriam of the late Captain Dennis Sherwood who passed away on Monday the 30th of December.

0

Article Request from the American Pilots’ Association to State Pilotage Authorities Regarding Pilot Safety

by Marine-Pilots.com - published

The American Pilots’ Association has sent a letter to state pilotage authorities across the United States on behalf of approximately 1,200 American ship pilots to improve safety pilot safety following the death of a New York pilot in December.

0

Article IcePad, Smart download and view satellite images of sea-ice

by Drift + Noise GmbH - published

Download and view satellite images of sea-ice on your mobile device or PC within an intuitive map-based interface.

0

Video Bulk Carrier sailing from Liverpool Docks stern-first

Found on YouTube. Created by "Tim Nuttall".

Bulk Carrier "Jasmine A" leaving Gladstone lock stern-first with 3 tugs

0

Article National Transportation Safety Board Releases Report Detailing 2018 Allision At Louisiana’s Sunshine Bridge

published

On October 11, 2018, the Kristin Alexis was performing fleeting work with a crew of six, including a captain, pilot, and four deckhands (two per shift), at the Cooper Consolidated fleeting facility at Convent located at mile 161.5. About 2300, the Cooper Consolidated dispatcher informed the Kristin Alexis captain that their next job was to move the derrick-type crane barge Mr Ervin upriver to the Cooper Consolidated fleeting facility in Darrow, located at mile 175.

0

Video CMA CGM MISSOURI LOA:299.9Mtrs N'bound

Found on YouTube. Created by "bkaranlik".

Maritime Pilot , Istanbul Strait , Turkish Straits , www.turkishpilots.org.tr

0

Opinion Marine Pilots: Unsung Heroes Of The Shipping Industry

published

Qualified pilots are usually employed by the local port or maritime administration, and provide their services to ships for a fee, calculated in relation to the ship’s tonnage, draught or other criteria.

0

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 Colombo Dockyard delivers two pilot launches built for Sri Lanka Ports Authority

by Marine-Pilots.com - published

Colombo Dockyard PLC (CDPLC) at a ceremony held on Monday delivered two Pilot Launches as per an Agreement signed with Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) on 1st February 2019.

0