Pilots Corner – Changes can be made

The following information was passed to CHIRP by a pilotage authority to illustrate the extent of the problem and the success that can be achieved.

Regarding trap door pilot boarding arrangements and combination arrangements, over the past few months we have had some success in non-compliant unsafe arrangements being adapted to comply with the regulations and made safer. This is mainly due to the tenacity of our Harbour Master’s department in following up on pilot ladder defect reports.

In 2020 we had 114 pilot ladder defect reports generated on 9512 acts of pilotage, this figure was an increase on 2019.

Case Study 1. Container Ship 304 m LOA, built 2008.

The vessel arrived at pilot station at night, pilot refused to board on arrival as ladder appeared to be non-compliant.

(Left) original arrangement as presented. (Right) after modifications.

A second pilot did board in daylight and the vessel came in, it was reported to local Port State control who, after viewing pictures, deemed it compliant but not safe. Port Authority issued the vessel with notice that the arrangement was to be rectified before next visit otherwise vessel would not have a pilot. Dialogue took place over several weeks and on return the vessel presented a modified configuration as the boarding arrangement. Vessel was served on arrival and the pilot confirmed arrangement was safe.

Case Study 2. Container Ship 259m LOA, built 2013.

A trap door arrangement with the pilot ladder secured to the underside of the platform, so the ladder did not pass up through the hatch. Dialogue took place but no adjustments had been made, on arrival at port limits the vessel was refused pilotage until boarding arrangements were compliant and safe. After 3 days at anchor the arrangements had been adapted to a combination arrangement with the pilot ladder secured to strong points on the main deck.

 What was presented originally (rejected)

This was the final arrangement (minus the securing magnets which were in place when used by a pilot).

Case Study 3. Container Ship. 190m LOA, Built 2020.

Combination ladder, the gap between the pilot ladder and the lower platform was greater than 20cm (when measured it was 50cm). Dialogue took place with the vessel who originally stated this could not be modified. Sorry captain, but there will be no pilot boarding your vessel. They found a solution on board and reduced the gap to 20cm. A pilot boarded.


Before modification                                                  After modification


Compliant combination pilot boarding arrangement ready for use.



Report Ends ………