Picture by Maritime BulletinAround 11 am local time yesterday (21 February), a pilot fell into the sea while boarding the feeder vessel Blue Ocean, which is operated by Shanghai Jinjiang Shipping on a China-Taiwan service.
The pilot was retrieved from the waters and rushed unconscious to hospital, but died. Taiwanese media reports indicated that Chong lost his balance due to strong winds amid the north-eastern monsoon season.
Wind strengths were rated level 6 at the time, below level 8 that warrants suspension of ship operations.
Crew members on Blue Ocean pulled the pilot on board, but he had already lost consciousness. Attempts to revive the pilot with CPR were unsuccessful.
Taichung port has 18 pilots, and the last pilot fatality in the port was in 1983.
At the time of the latest accident, the 760 TEU Blue Ocean was entering Evergreen Marine Corporation’s Taichung terminal. Following the accident, the ship was moved to Taichung’s North Terminal. The vessel is supposed to head to Shanghai next.
Blue Ocean’s operator, Shanghai Jinjiang, is a subsidiary of Shanghai International Port Group and is mainly an intra-Asia carrier.
Taiwan’s Master Mariners Association chairman Hwang Yu-hui told Liberty Times that regardless of the ship size, vessel pilots should climb the piloting ladder from the piloting vessel and then turn to the gangway to board the ship.
Hwang said, “Due to various factors, pilots may face dangers such as the ladder breaking and falling into the sea, being hit by the waves and falling into the sea, being hit by the piloting boat or the gangway and being injured or slipping on the deck.”