Throughout 2016, the International Maritime Pilots’ Association (IMPA) held a safety campaign focused upon the standard of pilot ladders and associated equipment. CHIRP supported this campaign and received many reports on the subject, several of which are highlighted below. This article should be read in conjunction with “The hazards of Pilot boarding (1)”, and “The hazards of Pilot boarding (2)”
The final report in this section outlines how the latest SOLAS pilot arrangements as per IMO Assembly Resolution 1045(27) – see the comment under the first report – were not incorporated into a new build.
What the reporter told us
Due to her recent construction (2015) one might think safety features would be carefully addressed, but a raised belt along her side makes the usually hazardous pilot transfer operation even more dangerous. As far as I know “IMPA Required Arrangements for Pilot” demand at least 6 metres of unobstructed ship side at the pilot access point, yet on this ship there is a gap in the belt no longer than 1.5 metres. In cases of swell and/or bad weather the belt can significantly affect the pilot boat performance and increase the risk. This is a design issue.
CHIRP made several attempts to contact the third party ship manager, who declined to respond. The Maritime Advisory Board agreed that the boarding arrangements were non-compliant to the latest SOLAS amendments. They noted that the 6 metres clearance was designed to give a pilot boat sufficient scope to come alongside and drop back. In this case the pilot boat could easily ride up under the “belt” in inclement weather conditions, and since there is no flexibility for movement of the pilot ladder, this creates a very hazardous condition.