Article

Pilots: deaths from unsafe pilot ladders and incompetent crew


published on 22 December 2021 239 -

Original Article by Bart Oosterveld / Schuttevear, published on 15 December 2021

The international pilots association Impa is sounding the alarm about unsafe pilot ladders. According to the pilots, a worldwide survey has shown that access to the ship via the pilot's ladder often does not comply with the regulations. In Europe this is even the case in more than 17% of cases. The need for change is great: every year fatalities occur.

Just imagine: transferring from a pilot boat riding the waves to a tall ship. In stormy weather, at night and at dawn. Pilots risk their lives every day for safe shipping. You might think that the equipment should be in top condition and used properly. But the pilots experience that this is not always the case. They come across defective pilot ladders, with slippery or crooked steps and ladders that have been hung up incorrectly, to name but a few.

Of the 3322 reports made during the two-week survey in October, relatively the most poor assessments ('non compliant') came from Europe (166) and Asia/Oceania (122).

A so-called trapdoor, banned since 1979, is still used on ships.
A so-called trapdoor, banned since 1979, is still used on ships.
A so-called trapdoor, banned since 1979, is still used on ships.
A so-called trapdoor, banned since 1979, is still used on ships.
Arie Palmers is a Scheldt pilot (Wester- and Oosterschelde) and almost every day he has to transfer to large container ships, tankers and bulkers in the North Sea to bring them safely to the ports on the Scheldt. He says that it is not only the ships under a flag of convenience where the rules are not respected. Also ships of large shipping companies, or under a respected flag, sometimes do not have their affairs in order. The sanction he has in his hands is severe. If I come across an unsafe pilot ladder, I will, if necessary, make them take a round trip until it is safe. Sometimes it turns out that they've found a brand new pilot ladder somewhere. Often the ladder can be made safe with a little adjustment.

Gangway
What goes wrong according to the Impa pilots? Common faults are a ladder that does not adhere to the hull, broken steps, steps that are not evenly distributed, dirty steps and steps that are not properly attached to the ropework.

Above a height of nine metres, a pilot ladder must be used in combination with a gangway. Otherwise, climbing is no longer responsible. The top part of the ladder must then protrude 1.50 metres above the gangway, which is also regularly not the case.

Retrieval line
A lead rope with a broken spreader. (Photos Arie Palmers)
A lead rope with a broken spreader. (Photos Arie Palmers)
A lead rope with a broken spreader. (Photos Arie Palmers)
A lead rope with a broken spreader. (Photos Arie Palmers)
Most often, it goes wrong with the confirmation of the retrieval line. This is also what Palmers encounters most often. The retrieval line is attached to the end of the lower spreader, which is used to balance the ladder against the ship's hull. The crew can use the retrieval line to pull the ladder up quickly when necessary. That line must point to the front of the ship', says Palmers. Otherwise, there is a risk that it will get stuck to the pilot boat during an unexpected wave movement and take the entire pilot ladder with it. But it is often at the back. I have that changed before I get on the ladder.

Communication
Palmers observes that it is often not a matter of faulty material, but of incompetent handling by the crew. He also often encounters those who hang up ladders not wearing life jackets. Unacceptable according to Palmers. Look, if someone falls overboard, as happened recently, then the pilot boat crew has to fish the victim out of the water'. What also often happens is that no mate or other person in charge is on deck while climbing aboard. This is mandatory, among other things for communication with the bridge, says Palmers. But sometimes he can understand why things are done this way. They have been loading or unloading in the harbour all day and you see a lonely sailor walk up to them. He doesn't feel like getting his colleague out of bed.

International Pilots Association IMPA
International requirements for a pilot ladder. (Source: IMPA)
International requirements for a pilot ladder. (Source: IMPA)
International requirements for a pilot ladder. (Source: IMPA)
International requirements for a pilot ladder. (Source: IMPA)
Palmers has long been committed to safe working conditions. He believes that writing thick manuals with lots of instructions makes little sense. The sailors and other crew members are not going to read them. It's all about training and explaining. For example, I put a lot on social media. Pictures work really well.

He is also in regular contact with the major shipping companies and provides them with advice.

Solas
In its annual report, the Impa makes a comparison with the coronas measures. 'Ships have been quick to introduce precautionary measures. It is commendable that keeping a distance, using mouth masks and washing hands have become standard procedures on board. In contrast, we must unfortunately note that enforcement of the long-standing Solas regulations (on pilot ladders - ed.) is still not improving. Pilots are still being injured or killed during transhipments. As with safety measures around the virus, there needs to be a change in the practice of pilot transfers.'

Join the conversation...

Login or register to write comments and join the discussion!
MM
Mackenzie Moseley British Columbia Coast Pilots, Canada
on 23 December 2021, 22:28 UTC

Not wearing backpacks while boarding.

Wearing inherently buoyant floatation (not inflatable that punctures or fails to inflate).

Wearing helmets.

Not having the hard boat underneath you to fall back on until you are less than ten feet above it.....

All best practices pilots can do, but seem to be rarely seen or mentioned.

Would also love to see injury patterns of what is actually killing pilots coming off ladders, not just speculation.
[show more]
0

Herman Broers Loodswezen Rotterdam - Rijnmond, Netherlands
on 23 December 2021, 19:29 UTC

Good translation ;-)
1

Read more...

Video Kittiwake Mersey Pilot

published on 22 December 2021

KITTIWAKE ( MMSI 232008570) is a Pilot and currently sailing under the flag of United Kingdom (UK) Here she is speeding down the River this morning.

0

Video Polaris Pilot Boat Antwerp Belgium

published on 15 March 2022

Vessel name: Polaris ; Year built: 2012 ; Flag: Netherlands ; Homeport: Rotterdam Length: 81.2m X 13.3m ; GRT: 2501 ; Callsign: PBZN ; MMSI:245142000 ; IMO: 9496915 Type: Special Vessel / Pilot Ship A "Pilot Ship / Pilot Vessel" is a "special type" of ship in which it accommodates a certain and limited Marine Pilots (Sea, River, Harbor Pilots), it also carries small boats/crafts that are used to tender services to and from the Pilot ship. In a Pilot Vessel, the Pilots can take their time...

0

Video Pilot Transfer - New Zealand (Auckland) & Australia (Melbourne/Fremantle)

published on 21 October 2021

Spotted some Pilot Boats in the Port of Auckland, New Zealand and Melbourne & Fremantle Australia (Port codes: Auckland:NZ AKL ; Melbourne:AU MEL ; Fremantle:AU FRE).

0

Video Lynx pilot boat

published on 16 July 2020

16mt HSLC CLASS ALUMINIUM PILOT BOAT engineered & build by LYNX.

0

Article Norwegian Coastal Administration is working on salvaging Eemslift Hendrika

published on 7 April 2021

Norwegian coast guard said that there is still a risk that the ship may capsize and pose an environmental
hazard.The ship is still drifting, and is located 40-50 nautical miles west of Alesund. KV Sortland is still on
site, and they are the Coastal Administration's eyes and ears.

0

Video Hamburg-Süd 10.000-TEU container ship breached hull in ferry pontoon contact in Brazil

published on 27 June 2021

Container ship CAP SAN ANTONIO contacted landing pontoon of Santos – Guaruja commute ferry in the afternoon Jun 20, while leaving Santos, Brazil. The ship dragged pontoon for some time, and sustained portside hull breach above waterline, probably in ballast tank area. CAP SAN ANTONIO was taken to outer anchorage and anchored, for investigation, survey, probably for some temporary repairs. She’s bound for Paranagua.

2

Article Fiji: Man dies after collision with pilot boat on 2021-01-08

by The Fiji Times - Narayan Reddy - published on 21 January 2021

A 42-years-old fisherman died after an accident at sea along the Navula passage in Momi Bay yester-day morning. Police spokeswoman said the victim was a passenger of a fishing boat.

0

Video New Footage Shows Tugboats Trying To Free A Massive Container Ship Blocking The Suez Canal

published on 26 March 2021

New footage shows tugboats trying to free a massive container ship blocking the Suez Canal. MORE INSIDER NEWS VIDEOS: Asian Community Answers 3 Burning Questions On Racism And Stereotypes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zF2s_rV4a50 Watch A German Nonprofit Rescue More Than 350 Libyan Migrants In 3 Days https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWmUowxX1F0 Watch The Eruption Of Europe’s Most Active Volcano From Every Angle We Could Find https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD7HNAC-w94 -----------------------...

0

Article Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) Annual Report 2021 published

published on 10 June 2022

The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch’s (MAIB) has published their latest annual report showing that pilot ladders remain a safety issue for workers.

0

Opinion Anti-Entrapment Pilot Boat

by Captain Francesco Aiello - Honorary Member Fedepiloti ROMA, Italy - published on 21 April 2020

The entrapment problem of a pilot ladder has not yet been solved and has prompted Captain Francesco Aiello to seek a solution. His very simple idea (patented) has been internationally recognized as innovative.

0