Opinion

Five questions for Thomas Bøggild, Project and quality manager, Greenland Pilot Service


published on 11 January 2021 250 -

In our new new section “Five questions for ..." Marine-Pilots.com introduces pilots and other market players to our readers in short interviews.

Today we have talked to Thomas Bøggild, Project and quality manager, Greenland Pilot Service.

How long have you been working as a pilot and why did you choose this special job?
I have worked as a pilot in Denmark (DanPilot) since 2005. I was quite happy, working as a Master, but my wife suggested that my newborn daughter and I would benefit from a job closer to home. I have never come to regret that decision.

Following new regulations, introduced in Greenland in 2016, all passenger vessels, with more than 250 passengers on board, must have a licensed pilot on board.

As I had previously worked on a tanker, distributing oil products to all the cities and settlements in Greenland, I agreed to participate in the Greenland Pilot Service startup. It was a perfect opportunity to return to this beautiful country and share my experience and knowledge about Greenland's unique conditions.

In late 2017 I was asked to join the management team in Greenland Pilot Service.

 

What is the best thing about your job and why?
I have combined my diverse experience and skills to assist in developing a new pilotage service provider.

As the only pilotage service provider in Greenland, we have been involved in ensuring navigational safety in almost all corners of Greenland.

Another part of my new role in Greenland Pilot Service was to develop a Polar Code course. It was six busy months, but in the end, I had the pleasure of being the lead instructor on our first courses in May 2018. Since then, we have conducted several courses for our pilots, pilot trainees, and navigators to obtain the required certification for voyages in polar waters.

What makes your pilotage area special? Which special skills are required from pilots?
I am fortunate to be able to carry out pilotages in both Denmark and Greenland. There are significant differences between the two pilotage areas and the nature of the tasks.

Usually, pilot trainees obtain the required local knowledge by training in the company of a licensed pilot.

Greenland is the world's largest island and located in the arctic. Hence, the pilotage authorities require that all pilots have a minimum of two years' relevant experience as chief officer or master. Some of our pilots have spent more than 30 years navigating Greenland waters.

The previous, personal, experience, combined with a strict internal 'self-control' enables us to provide expert local knowledge in all parts of Greenland.

Many of our clients are in-experienced in polar waters. A big part of the pilot's role on board is to ensure that the whole bridge team acknowledges that polar waters may impose additional demands on ships beyond those commonly encountered.

 

What was the most remarkable situation during your time as a pilot?
In 2018 we assisted a cruise ship circum-navigating Skjoldungen in east Greenland safely.

In close cooperation with the client, we had carried out a joint risk assessment. Skjoldungen is a very remote, uninhabited island. The poorly charted area made it necessary to add satellite-derived bathymetry. 

Working with our ice chart and satellite imagery supplier, we had near-real-time satellite images of the whole area.

As the picture shows, we experienced superb conditions, and the passengers were thrilled over the remarkable scenery.

 

What is your opinion about Marine-Pilots.com?
At first, I was curious if it would turn out to be another marketing platform for the company behind the website. But it has proven to be an excellent source of information and industry specific news.

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.
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