The United Kingdom Maritime Pilots Association (UKMPA), is the representative professional body for Maritime Pilots in the United Kingdom. Almost every ship entering or leaving a port, is required under UK law to engage a duly Authorised Maritime Pilot, who either boards the vessel in port or at sea and takes conduct of the safe navigation of that vessel. This undertaking is critical to protecting the country’s national infrastructure and environment from damage or pollution, supporting the UK’s economy, and ensuring the safe, timely and efficient movement of all trade.
The MV MOL Treasure, an Ultra Large Container Ship, departed the Port of Southampton at around 1100 bound for Le Harve. For pilots Capt Christopher Hoyle and Capt Neil Dunn this should have been a routine act of pilotage; but nevertheless one which only very experienced pilots are authorised to do given the size of the vessel at 400m long with the capacity to carry 20,000 twenty foot containers.
The weather conditions were good although gusty, with clear visibility and a calm sea state.
Not more than an hour into the passage, the MOL Treasure developed a significant reduction in engine power. Thankfully an escort tug was already in attendance and Southampton Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) deployed a further three tugs to assist the Pilots & vessel to remain safely controlled within the navigation channel at all times.