Whilst attending vessels, I have found pilot ladders with plastic tape wrapped around the manila rope of the pilot ladders. This is deadly. When the rope becomes wet, the plastic tape will inhibit the drying process and the rope will start to rot. There will be no visual indication as the rotting rope is hidden by the tape.
In a hot climate this process may be very quick, a week or less. The writer is aware of an incident in which a pilot fell into the water due to such failure of a ladder.
I have also seen manila rope used for lifeboat painters similarly wrapped with plastic tape.
When I pointed out the hazard, the ships’ staff took prompt action to replace the ropes.
A key way in which individuals can improve safety is to intervene if they observe a hazard so that it is corrected before it leads to an accident. The reporter did this by pointing out the hazard to the ships’ staff. We thank him for sharing the lesson with us.