This report involves two sister ships operated by a major shipping company with the same pilot ladder rigging issue. On this occasion, the DPA readily engaged with CHIRP, acknowledged the issue raised and thanked CHIRP for bringing it to their attention.
What the reporter told us (1):
The weight of the pilot ladder was supported by a bracket into which the step fits. This resulted in the weight being taken by the whippings around the chocks directly above the wooden step. I explained the issue to the master and advised him that the weight should be supported by the side ropes. I went to the ladder after berthing and explained to the Chief Mate how ropes should be secured to the side-ropes to take the weight if the pilot boat puts additional weight on the ladder.
What the reporter told us (2):
This class of vessel has a side door access. The ladder is rigged via slots in an angle bar bracket, thus putting the load on the step lashings rather than on the side ropes. By my reading of the rules and Witherby’s Pilot Ladder Manual, this arrangement is not compliant.
Pilot ladder rigged via an illegal angle bar bracket rather than side rope lashings.
The DPA was contacted and readily engaged with CHIRP, responding as follows;
Thanks for bringing this to our attention. The observations are fully acknowledged. As per design the weight should be on the ladder ropes and not the whippings. We are working on rectifying actions with particular vessels in this series. Again, thanks for bringing this to our attention.
The Maritime Advisory Board members, after discussion, noted the following points;
- Although starting as a non-compliance report the MAB took the view that due to the good communications with, and the positive response by, the DPA this is considered a successful outcome to the initial report.
- The following questions remained unanswered. Who designed the securing arrangement? Who approved and signed off this non-compliant, by design, arrangement?
- For the record the major shipping company that currently operates these vessels inherited them through mergers and route sharing agreements and was not involved in the original design and construction of the ships.