Pilots corner

By far the largest number of reports received by CHIRP Maritime originate from marine pilots, so the members of the MAB have approved a new section for each issue of Maritime FEEDBACK. Regardless of any specific reports concerning pilot boarding arrangements and pilotage issues featured in the main body of each edition of Feedback, there will be a  separate article  about pilotage. Written by a member of the CHIRP editorial team or by a guest writer, the piece might discuss a specific report, a compilation of reports, or might be a general article on good practice.

Why do pilots submit more reports than other seafarers? The reasons for this are varied but:

  • whilst the average seafarer may join a small number of different ships every year, a pilot can join or leave  many different ships in a week or  in a single shift cycle.
  • pilots have a focused view of things – when your eyes are only 45cm from the rungs of a pilot ladder you are quite focused.
  • pilots are independent, even detached. They feel no reticence about reporting a defect, deficiency or anomaly which reflects badly on the ship or crew. Their sole concern is safety, of themselves and  future pilots who  are going to board or disembark from the ship using the same pilot boarding arrangement .

Reports suggest that one in five pilot boarding arrangements do not comply with SOLAS requirements and are potentially unsafe, which makes being a marine pilot potentially one of the most hazardous occupations at sea.

If you are involved with pilot boarding or disembarkation in any way, ask yourself these questions:

  • is there a copy of the IMPA Pilot Boarding Poster* on board, on the bridge and where the pilot ladders are stowed?
  • when was the last time you read it?
  • do you know the correct way to rig the pilot boarding arrangements on your ship – not just the way that it’s always done, but the correct way?

*The IMPA Pilot Boarding Poster is available to download in English, Chinese, French and Spanish from the IMPA website www.impahq.org/downloads.php . A laminated version is also available to buy from Witherby Seamanship https://www.witherbyseamanship.com