Article

Best practice on rigging pilot ladders (UK MAIB)


published on 7 July 2022 446 -

article by safety4sea.com, photo courtesy UK MAIB

On the occasion of the Maritime Safety Week (July 4-10), UK MAIB’s inspector Bill Evans refers to the issue of unsafe pilot ladders, a concern that has been regularly voiced by the industry.

In 2021, the branch received almost 200 reports about substandard pilot ladders. Of those, 87% of the ladders were rigged incorrectly and the remainder were observed by the marine pilot as being materially defective. Fortunately, serious accidents have been rare, but the potential for injury and even loss of life clearly exists.

Mr. Evans says that marine pilots play a critical role in the safe operation of any harbour, where they guide almost every vessel in and out of the port. However, while the size and technological complexity of ships has increased, marine pilots still embark and disembark moving vessels by using a rope pilot ladder.

"The pilot transfer is a hazardous operation, so it is absolutely essential that these ladders are correctly rigged and their use properly supervised by the crew." …he highlighted.

Discussing about the things to look out for when inspecting the safety of a pilot ladder, he mentioned that the crew must inspect the pilot ladder before and after its use to verify that it is in good condition.

In particular:

  • ensure the ladder is in date by checking the maker’s plate, normally found underneath one of the lower spreaders
  • inspect the ladder’s side ropes to ensure that they are undamaged and in good condition
  • check the ladder’s steps, making sure they are undamaged, clean, evenly spaced and horizontal
  • replace the ladder if there are any signs of damage, no matter how small. Someone’s life may depend on it.
He then continued saying that to rig a pilot ladder correctly, it must be secured to strong points on the ship’s deck by a rope stopper attached to the ladder’s side ropes.

Some of the reported incidents of substandard rigging have included the use of shackles or guardrails, which should never be used to secure the ladder. When a combination of accommodation and pilot ladder is being used, the lower platform of the accommodation ladder must be horizontal and secured to the ship’s side so that the pilot can safely transition between the two. ….Mr. Evans said, adding that on some larger container vessels, a trapdoor arrangement is used, in which case the pilot ladder must extend above the platform to ensure that the marine pilot can safely transfer.

It is imperative that the pilot ladder is supervised by a qualified officer when in use, ready to take action if things go wrong. The ABP poster (see below, click to enlarge) is an excellent guide as to what is acceptable and what is not.
ABP Poster
ABP Poster
ABP Poster
ABP Poster

The three most important points for someone who has a pilot ladder are:

  • #1 inspect the pilot ladder before and after use
  • #2 ensure it is well lit and rigged correctly
  • #3 supervise its use, with a suitably qualified officer at the embarkation point who is in direct communication with the bridge and has lifesaving appliances close at hand, ready to respond if something goes wrong.
What's your opinion on this?
Login or register to write comments and join the discussion!
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...

1

Video Pilot Leaving Ship Vigo

published on 31 March 2023

0

Article 99.9%: Canadian Pacific marine pilots’ tanker safety success

by Context - Enery examined - published on 19 May 2022

Consistently 99.9 per cent safe operation of large vessels: Marine pilots on Canada’s West Coast have an exceptional safety record in the world’s largest pilot-mandatory zone for large vessels including oil tankers.

0

Opinion Fashion Label "Camp David" launches "Sea Pilots" Collection

by Frank Diegel - published on 29 September 2020

The label was developed in 1997 by the company Clinton as a brand of leisurewear for men.

0

Opinion Example of a Passage Plan used by Portsmouth Pilots, UK

by Tim Cummins, Portsmouth, UK - published on 10 February 2021

Created by Tim Cummins. This is an uncontrolled example of the latest passage plan used by the Pilot Service at Portsmouth International Port.

0

Article Safehaven: New Pilot Boat to Williams Shipping (UK)

published on 19 May 2022

Safehaven Marine of Ireland will soon deliver a new pilot boat to Williams Shipping based in Southampton, UK.

0

Video Maritime Single Window 2024: New guidelines are coming!

published on 15 November 2022

Video recording of the Maritime Single Window 2024 Window of opportunities Webinar which took place on 24 October and highlighted the benefits and opportunities for maritime trade arising from the application of the maritime single window (MSW) to electronic ship clearance processes in ports.

0

Video Introduction to pilotage in Japan.

published on 23 June 2021

This video was produced in September 2013 to provide an easy-to-understand introduction to pilotage in Japan.

0