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.
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.