article by Capt. Pilot René Hartung and Capt. Pilot Sergio Stuiver
contact information and links at the end of article
Since 2022, there is a solution in Germany that helps pilots to report defects in pilot ladders or pilot transfer arrangements quickly and easily
Maritime pilots have one of the most difficult and dangerous jobs at sea. In all weather conditions and at all times of the day, they must climb on and off a ship via mostly simple pilot ladders to get to their workplace. In doing so, they have to blindly rely on the correct work of strangers who have to ensure that the pilot ladder provided complies with all regulations and safety rules. Unfortunately, the conditions of the pilot ladders are often in poor conditions. Now there is a solution in Germany that can help Maritime Pilots report these defects quickly and easily.
On behalf of the German Maritime Pilots’ Association
The German Maritime Pilots’ Association launched a new app in December 2022 to help German Maritime Pilots report defects and incidents on pilot ladders quickly and easily. This app is a great safety asset and will help improve safety for Pilots and prevent future accidents.
The app is easy to use and can be installed on any smartphone (iPhone / Android) or tablet. It can be used to quickly report a non-conformant transfer arrangement: In the app, the vessel in concern can be selected from an extensive vessel database and marked from a list of various standardised categories of violations to describe the defect. Furthermore, the incident can be documented with photos and descriptive texts, whereby the app automatically records the time and location of the incident via GNSS / AIS. The password-protected login of the Pilot ensures that only authorised persons can report incidents in order to exclude misuse.
Follow-up and documentation
The incoming message from the Pilot is stored in the German Pilots’ ship database to document incident. If the pilot deems it necessary, the report can be forwarded directly to the responsible Port State Authority so that they can take further safety actions. Those reports are being filed into the Port State database of the "Paris MoU on Port State Control" (www.ParisMoU.org). This organisation consists of 27 participating maritime authorities in Europe whose aim is to prevent the operation of non-compliant ships through a harmonised system of port state control. Non-compliant setups will therefore be checked during a Port State inspection.
The German Pilot Ladder Reporting App offers the advantage of being able to gather statistics on defects and incidents in its database over time. This enables the German Maritime Pilots’ Association to have a detailed evaluation and documentation of the condition of the pilot ladders in the history as well as an up-to-date monitoring. Future measures to improve the safety of Pilots can be derived from the statistics and monitoring.
Although the Pilot Ladder Reporting App and its database of the German Maritime Pilots’ Association has initially only been launched in Germany, consideration is being given create interfaces to other systems in other countries and organisations such as EMPA. This is intended to promote the exchange of data and information on the safety of pilot ladders on ships in the covered regions across countries. Pilots in the participating network will be able to use the system to obtain information in advance about ships that will be calling in the future and decide if any safety compliance measures are required on the ships.
Overall, the new app of the German Maritime Pilots’ Association is an important step towards improving the safety of Maritime Pilots. They can now quickly and easily report defects on pilot transfer arrangements in order to be able to take measures as quickly as possible and to avoid accidents. All recorded incidents are archived for statistical analysis. With this app, a great safety gain is achieved for Maritime Pilots. This safety gain will be even greater the more the network of participating countries and institutions can be expanded.
The Ladder Report App described is a supplement to the German pilot management system "PIA" (Pilot Information Assistant), in which all nine pilot brotherhoods have been working together for more than ten years under the umbrella of the German Maritime Pilots’ Association. "PIA" and this app are developed and operated by the company TRENZ from Bremen on behalf of the German Maritime Pilots’ Association.
Capt. Pilot René Hartung and
Capt. Pilot Sergio Stuiver
for Bundeslotsenkammer, Germany
Meet us during the EMPA meeting in Rome (April 27th - 28th, 2023)
Mr. Hartung will be present at the EMPA meeting in Rome). You can contact him via the mail above. You can also get more information on site at the TRENZ Stand, where you can meet Mr. Hartung.