PEC Health Warning

Vessel concerned is a regular visitor.  Vessel is over 20m in length, carries passengers and therefore  requires a pilot in line with the Pilotage Directions.

The CHA (Competent Harbour Authority) granted a PEC (Pilotage Exemption Certificate) for the vessel to a person employed by a local firm.  He was not the bona fide master or mate of the vessel in question and did not satisfy the requirements of the Pilotage Directions with regard to qualifying trips, assessment and examination for that type of vessel.

The issuing of a PEC to a person other than the bona fide master or mate is in breach of sect. 8 of the Pilotage Act 1987.

The Pilotage Act 1987 states at s.8:

“….a competent harbour authority which has given a pilotage direction shall, on application by any person who is bona fide the master or first mate of any ship, grant a certificate(… referred to as a “pilotage exemption certificate”) to him if it is satisfied……..

(a) that his skill experience and local knowledge are sufficient for him to be capable of piloting the ship of which he is master or first mate (or that and any other ships specified in the certificate)….. . ”

“Bona fide” according to Osborn’s Concise Legal Dictionary 1993 means:

“In good faith, honestly, without fraud, collusion or participation in wrongdoing.”

If the facts are as reported then, in CHIRP‘s view, the operation described would not comply with the requirements of the Act irrespective of whether the Pilotage Directions with regard to the qualifications for PEC had been complied with or not.  A pre-condition for the use of a PEC is the individual’s status as the “bona fide master or first mate” of the vessel to which the certificate applies.

CHIRP expects to publish more reports on PEC in the future, but can say that this does not appear to be an isolated case.  Given previous incidents involving PEC, CHIRP wishes to highlight this issue to CHA and emphasise awareness of the potential risks to safety of not complying with the requirements of the Act.

CHIRP has learned that the MCA is currently in talks with the Department for Transport’s Ports Division with respect to the transfer of certain operational functions, including responsibilities for the Port Marine Safety Code.

The following comment has been received from the MCA:

“The extent of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s responsibilities for this issue are currently under discussion, however we can say that in the interests of navigation safety Competent Harbour Authorities should ensure that PEC are issued and used in accordance with the Pilotage Act 1987.”