Port arrival and berthing mishaps (1)

This report should be read in conjunction with Port arrival and berthing mishaps (2), (3) and (4)


CHIRP has received several reports relating to  port  arrival  and  berthing.  The  following  reports cover communication failings, maintenance issues, and operational concerns.

What the Reporter told us (1):

The ship arrived early at the pilot station but continued to proceed inside pilotage limits. When outbound in the pilot boat I saw the vessel was ahead of time, so called and told them not to proceed inside the pilot station and if necessary take a round turn until I arrived. The vessel took no action  and continued inside the limit. Only after repeated calls and explanations did the vessel to go around to allow me to   board in the correct position.

We do not send out written instructions about not proceeding inside the boarding ground via the agents, as this may not be actioned upon receipt. Our harbour radio (VIS) instructs vessels not to approach the boarding station until contacted by the pilot. We do not talk to the ship until we  have the vessel in sight visually.

I’m sure that, with hindsight, I could have communicated better but it is clear that there was a lack of understanding about what was being requested. Once I got to the bridge   the captain immediately asked why he needed to go around. Having  explained, and  established  myself  on  the  bridge, I was very conscious to establish a good rapport with the bridge  team, since  an  overly  critical  pilot  can  create  a barrier between himself and the master/bridge team. Whilst encouraging  some  small-talk  to  soften  any  tension, I  was also able to get a  better  sense  for  the  captain’s  level  of English, which was moderate at best. It was confirmed he  had never been to this port  before.

CHIRP Comment:

The Maritime Advisory Board emphasised the need for good communications between the port authorities, vessel and pilot. In general, the reasons for not proceeding inside port/pilot limits might be;

  • Any incident inside pilot/port limits might have legal ramifications.
  • That the pilot needs time to familiarise himself with specific bridge equipment and also to conduct a thorough master–pilot information exchange.
  • The pilot and master need to satisfy themselves that the vessels equipment is all in good order for the transit.
  • Time may be required, for example to line up for a leads approach.
  • The vessel may not be aware of any other ship movements in the vicinity which may or may not have priority.


Report Ends.