This is not what you want to find after climbing the pilot ladder.
What the reporter told us:
I boarded the vessel and noticed that the ladder had been put under a steel platform. I asked the crew to lift the platform because I wanted to know how this ladder was secured to the deck. After they lifted the platform, I found out that the ladder hadn’t been secured at all. It ran under the platform, and this platform alone held it down. The ladder came from an electrically powered winch reel, which also wasn’t mechanically secured.
They say a picture paints a thousand words – this clearly demonstrates the appalling lengths that some mariners will go to with respect to endangering life.
Check exactly how the ladder is secured before boarding the vessel. This example shows a complete neglect of pilot safety.
- The above isn’t a shipboard modification, the ship came out of the builders’ yard like that
- Shipyards don’t do things randomly, ships are built according to the plans the yard are given, so this ladder arrangement was designed that way. Non-compliant by design
- Possibly it has never been inspected by a class surveyor – whilst pilot ladders are not a class item, they are a specific part of the Safety Certificate. Every 5 years they are supposed to be looked at, but they rarely are
- With more surveyors having an engineering background rather than a seafaring one, they may not be trained in what to look for or what the requirements are
- The issue of pilot ladders and boarding arrangements being non-compliant by design is a flag state issue and CHIRP has raised the issue with more than one flag state administration