I was very surprised when, in the last days of November last year, I received a call via Facebook messenger from a familiar contact on the other side of the world. It was Troy Evans, a captain and pilot in the port of Tauranga, in northern New Zealand. I had never heard his real voice before, although I had already communicated with him so much via the internet.
His voice sounded familiar. I didn't quite understand what the real reason for his call was. His voice was a bit weak, but he was keen to speak to me in person. He thanked me for my work and for initiating our website, just as I thanked him for his great contributions to the safety of pilots worldwide, which we put out into the world. The messenger call had then left me a little perplexed, ashamed and also a little distraught after we had finished it. It sounded very much like a goodbye.
I knew that he had been struggling with the treacherous disease Parkinson's for some years. I had not yet fully understood the full implications of first and last call, but I had been very moved by it. Today, it concerns me even more than it did in November last year.
I have a great respect for the man Troy Evans and what he did for the safety of pilots all over the world. He deserves not to be forgotten and he will continue to be with us in our lives with the results of his work.
I would like to thank Troy today for what he has left us. We will cherish his work and I will never tire of spreading the word about his results and experiences.
The international pilotage community has lost a great campaigner for greater safety on pilot ladders in Capt Troy Evans.
Somehow it makes sense that the ladder used by sea pilots to board ships is called Jacob's Ladder.... It leads them out of the stormy waters and into the safety of the huge ships. And the job of the pilots on the ship is to bring the ship safely into port. Troy Evans has made his final port of call, and I hope he is now in a better world for it. I will never forget him.
Our thoughts are with the late Captain Troy Evans. May his soul rest in peace. And may his family and friends find comfort in all the loving memories they shared with him.