In this study, it was tried to determine the deaths and causes of active pilots (under 65 years old according to the legislation) during the 62 years between 1961 and 2023 in Turkey. Deaths during the retirement period were not included in the study. Pilots working in Turkish ports, straits and inland waters and, as an exception in Libya's Tobruk Port (only one pilot), took part in the study. The pilots who served as military workers in the Turkish Naval Forces Command were excluded from the study. In the study, the names and surnames, birth and death dates of the pilots, the age of death, the institution/organization in which he was assigned, the cause of death and the school and year he graduated from are presented. The researcher reached the pilots mentioned in the study with the means at hand. There may be deficiencies in the study. We would like to thank those who will contribute to this work in advance.
The death of 20 pilots during 62 years reveals that 1 pilot lost his life in 3,1 years. In my study in 2014, this ratio was 3,50.
Among the causes of death, heart-related diseases come first with 8 deaths. Other diseases come second with 6 deaths, and pilot ladder accidents come third with 4 deaths. In the fourth and last place, one death each comes because of traffic accident and fire/explosion on board.Table-1 Below shows the causes, number and percentages of death included in the study:
The most intense ranges in the death age range are 61-65 (6 deaths-30%) and 51-55 (5 deaths-25%). The youngest death is 35, while the oldest is 64.Table-3 Below shows the age range, number, and percentage of death:
The graduated school is 80% Turkish Merchant Maritime Academy (TMMA, today İstanbul Technical University Maritime Faculty). Due to the difficulty in obtaining pilots in Turkey before the 70s, pilots were recruited from graduates of other schools.Graduated schools are shown in Table-4 below:
Pilots who died before 1996 due to the privatization of pilotage in Turkey (except Tobruk Port – Capt. Erdoğan Baykal) are public pilots. In the institution/organization where the deceased work, the public company has the highest density (50%)The following Table-5 shows the institutions/organizations that work:
The relationship between heart diseases (40%) and age at death, which is the first cause of death, is important. In the table below, 61 is the age with the highest death rate.Table-6 below shows the age ranges of those who died because of heart diseases:
This article has focused on the deaths of active pilots over the past 62 years. Questions such as how these can be avoided and what are the near-accident situations are not explored here. Naturally, it is important to investigate them. In this regard, the numbers in the world are also not satisfactory. We, as pilots, especially must take action to improve the pilot transfer systems, right now. The steps to be taken about the perfection of the pilot transfer system in the world are vital and indispensable for us.
May God have mercy on the 20 valuable pilots we bid farewell to infinity in this work, and the pilots who passed away in retirement, may their souls rest in peace.
Capt. Uluç Hanhan
Board Member of Turkish Maritime Pilot Association