Tag Archives: pilotage

The long and winding pilot ladder

This picture has just come across my WhatsApp…

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… and the pilot scaled that.

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2014/04/03 · 20:33

Passage Planning: an image

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2014/01/07 · 13:30

[The] perceptio…

[The] perception that the masters and OOWs know well the local conditions and routines can lead both pilots and ship officers to take a lot for granted. Both groups can assume that they share a common mental model of the area and the plan, without having to review it together. This situation can lead to the bridge personnel and the pilot surprising each other. In a dynamic situation, this can easily get out of hand. One person assuming that another shares the same assessment of a situation can take action which the other does not expect. This places both of them in a difficult situation. Misunderstandings can build on each other, destroying mutual support or teamwork, and even leading to conflict. Prior discussion and agreement on the plan and mutual acceptance of duties and responsibilities, however, will usually foster teamwork.

Transport Safety Board of Canada (1995). A Safety Study of the Operational Relationship Between Ship Masters/Watchkeeping Officers and Marine Pilots. Available at <http://ntl.bts.gov/data/letter_nz/pilot.pdf&gt;

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2013/06/24 · 18:30

MARITIME: Guidelines to Master-Pilot Exchange

The text below was produced by the Canadian Marine Pilots’ Association and published on their site. I understand that not all guidelines may be applicable to pilotage districts elsewhere; still, I regard them as a welcome contribution of the Canadian pilots to the matter of pilotage and maritime safety.

In accordance with Annex 2 of the International Maritime Organization’s Resolution A960 on Pilotage – “Recommendation on training and certification and on operational procedures for maritime pilots other than deep sea pilots” – each pilotage assignment should begin with an information exchange between the pilot and the master. Each pilot group is encouraged to develop, in collaboration with its regional pilotage authority, a standard practice for the exchange of information, taking into account statutory requirements and best practices in the pilotage area. Pilots should consider using an information card or checklist (a “MPX Card”) to ensure that essential exchange items are covered. The card should supplement and assist, not substitute for, the verbal information exchange.

The following is offered as guidance for the development of standard practices for the exchange of information between the master and the pilot regarding navigational procedures, local conditions and rules, and the ship’s characteristics.

Initial conference

The initial conference is an opportunity not only to exchange information that the pilot and master each needs, but also for the pilot and the master to establish an appropriate working relationship.

The amount and nature of the information to be exchanged in the initial conference should be determined by the specific navigation demands of the pilotage assignment. This information should typically include: the ship’s navigational characteristics and equipment; plans and procedures for the anticipated passage, special conditions that may be expected during the passage; the characteristics and number of tugs to be used, as appropriate; and the language to be used on the bridge and with external parties.

For some assignments, particularly those involving a long run or difficult maneuvers at the beginning, not all relevant information must, or should, be exchanged in the initial conference. Additional information can be exchanged as the assignment proceeds and communication should be understood as a continuous process that generally continues for the duration of the assignment.

MPX Card

The pilot should give the MPX Card to the master at the time of the initial conference and use it as the basis for discussion during the conference.

The Card should include information specific to navigation in the local pilotage area as well as the instructions or requests concerning the pilot’s needs from the master and crew.

When presented by the master and crew with “pilot cards” containing the characteristics or operational condition of the vessel, pilots should keep in mind they are under no obligation to sign or initial such documents and that a signature could be construed as a form of confirmation of the condition of the vessel.

Absent or unwilling master

An effective exchange requires the participation of a master who is present, is willing, and has sufficient skills, knowledge, and language proficiency to provide the information needed by the pilot and to understand the pilot’s instructions.

If the master or bridge crew fails to provide the information needed by the pilot or if an unsatisfactory exchange leads the pilot to doubt the ability of the master or crew to perform the navigation duties normally expected during the assignment, the pilot should use his best professional judgment to determine whether it is safe to proceed with the assignment.

If a pilot determines that an assignment can safely proceed despite an unsatisfactory exchange, the pilot should adjust his pilotage practices accordingly and report the master’s refusal to engage in an exchange or to provide required information.

If a pilot determines that it is not safe to proceed with an assignment due to an unsatisfactory exchange, the pilot should refuse to proceed, advise the master/bridge crew on anchoring the vessel or take other steps to secure the vessel’s safety, and notify appropriate authorities by the best means available.

Conduct of the vessel

The MPX Card and the initial conference should clearly convey that, under Canada’s Pilotage Act, no person other than a pilot licensed for the compulsory pilotage area where the assignment takes places may conduct the vessel (Subsection 25 (1)).

The exchange should also underline that the only situation where a person other than the pilot – this being the master – can legally take conduct of the vessel is if he has reasonable grounds to believe that the pilot’s actions are endangering the safety of the vessel. It should be added that, in this event, the master must file a report with the pilotage authority within three days, setting out his reasons.

The exchange may also emphasize that, with the exception of the singular situation described above, the authority to make decisions related to the conduct of the vessel is entrusted solely with the pilot and that no other person, including representatives of the owner, the charterer, the underwriter, the shipper, or their agents, may interfere with the conduct of the vessel by the pilot and related decisions or hinder the discharge of his duties.

Use of auto-pilot and auto-tracking systems

The MPX Card and initial conference should clearly convey that an autopilot or auto-tracking system may only be used with the express consent of the pilot and that, in those situations when such systems are used, a qualified helmsman shall be ready, at all times and without delay, to take over steering control.

Passage planning

In accordance with the IMO’s Resolution A960, plans and procedures for the anticipated passage should be discussed during the initial conference, with the understanding that any passage plan is only a basic indication of preferred intention and that – pilotage being a dynamic exercise – both the pilot and the master should be prepared to depart from the plan when circumstances so dictate.

Portable pilot units (PPU)

In those cases where pilots carry aboard a portable pilot unit, they should advise the master and bridge crew of how the system will be used.

Ships calling on a regular basis

The information exchange should not be abandoned for vessels that call on a frequent basis; such vessels have the potential to induce complacency.

Pilot-to-pilot transfer

The transferor pilot should request the master’s presence during the transfer.

Recognizing that the circumstances of many pilot-to-pilot transfers do not allow much time for extensive discussion among the pilots and the master, pilots should focus on quickly exchanging the most critical information, including any unusual handling or operational characteristics of the vessel.

Where practical, the transferor pilot should repeat to the transferee pilot information previously provided to the master, in the master’s presence, and ask the master to confirm that the information is correct.

Training in the Master-Pilot Information Exchange

The master-pilot information exchange should be an important focus of initial and continuous training for pilots.

Initial training should cover statutory requirements, recognition of language and cultural impediments to effective communication and techniques for overcoming those, and best practices in the pilotage area.

Continuous training should review initial training items and examine new practices and studies dealing with the subject.

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MARITIME NEWS: ‘Pilot error’ costs P&I clubs US$ 50 million per year

Pilot error is costing the protection-and-indemnity (P&I) clubs $50m per year with the claims bill appearing to be increasing.

An analysis of 406 claims that cost the clubs $443m over nine years shows the number of incidents arising from pilot error is not increasing but the value of claims is.

[Of course it is: for starters, ships have been getting bigger.]

A breakdown of pilotage claims produced by Mark Williams of the West of England Club, who is chairman of the International Group’s pilotage subcommittee, puts Mexico in the top spot with an incident costing $100,000 or more for each 13,440 pilotage moves.

By contrast, Italy has the best performance with a costly incident only arising once in 70,400 moves.

But the Mexican figure was based on only three casualties.

The worst place for pilotage error where there was a substantial level of pilotage activity was Argentina, with one in 24,591 moves producing a casualty.

But a challenge for the clubs in tackling the problem of pilot error is that there is little international regulation of standards to match that of seafarers.

The International Group has mooted the idea of pilotage being added to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)’s Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) convention but Williams accepts that finding a state to sponsor the change and then pushing the change through was likely to be difficult.

[It was tried before — and failed. What came up was the IMO Resolution A-960.]

Although a pilot may cause a casualty and the master of a ship have little knowledge or opportunity to challenge a bad decision, the shipowner usually ends up footing the bill.

[Expected, though not always fair, as the asymetry of resources between pilots and shipowners and carriers is hugely in favour of the latters.]

The idea of the clubs or some other insurer providing insurance for pilots so they had equally deep pockets was mooted at the conference but an objection is that the premium would be added to pilotage fees, so the owner would still end up with the bill.

Source: Tradewinds, 2012.02.01

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NEW ZEALAND | ‘Quick-thinking pilot’ saved Schelde Trader

The charterers of the Schelde Trader that ran aground in the port entrance last Friday [Oct 28] are praising the Port of Tauranga for its quick actions.

Maersk’s Auckland based New Zealand country manager Julian Beavis says the Port was very quick off the mark (sic) in reacting to the incident.

“These things do happen very infrequently, but they do – and it’s the responsibility of everybody to be trained to deal with incidents when they happen. Everybody who was involved acted with great despatch, and I’m very grateful to the Port, and everybody down there for what they did.”

Dutch registered Schelde Trader is chartered by Maersk, and was leaving Tauranga for Noumea when her engine failed.

When the engine stopped the hydraulics failed, which meant steering was also lost. As the ship began to swing across the current, the Port of Tauranga pilot gave the command for the man on the bow to let go the port anchor.

The anchor slowed the ship enough so that when the Schelde Trader hit the rocks, it was a relatively gentle collision, compared to what could have happened.

Without the pilot’s quick actions, the 8000 tonne container ship would have struck the rocks at about 12 knots, causing serious damage to the ship. As it was she was able to be pulled free on the outgoing tide, only a few minutes after grounding.

The Port of Tauranga pilots train on simulators for a range of eventualities, says Port of Tauranga operations manager Nigel Drake.

Harbour pilots are Master Mariners who guide ships into and out of the port of Tauranga. It is a centuries old convention that uses local knowledge to ensure the safety of ships as they enter and leave ports around the world.

The Schelde Trader was scheduled to depart for Noumea on the Friday morning.  The pilot boarded about 10.30am, says Port of Tauranga Operations manager Nigel Drake.

“The pilot undertakes a passage plan with the master which is normal practice,” says Nigel. “He talks with the master of the vessel about the manoeuvre from the berth, the conditions both weather and tide prevailing, and any swell that might be encountered in the seas outside the harbour.”

In the case of the Schelde Trader, a relatively small 133 metre, 6,700 gross tonne container ship, draught was not an issue, says Nigel.

A single tug helped clear the ship from the berth, and stood by at the No 1 berth for its next job as the Schelde Trader entered the cutter channel. She rounded the turn and was on course to pass between B and C buoys when the engine stopped.

Fonte: http://www.sunlive.co.nz/news/18232-quick-thinking-pilot-saves-ship.html

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MARITIME | EMPA position on competition in the pilotage service

In recent years EMPA has persistently explained to the European Commission and to Members of European Parliament that pilotage was not a commercial service. Pilots have clearly mentioned in the discussions about the non-followed projects of EU directives about port services that the constraints of general interest of a pilotage service, whose objective is to preserve maritime safety and the protection of environment in ports, are not compatible with a market approach and free competition logic. Therefore EMPA is strongly opposed to competition between pilot services in a mandatory state pilotage area.

In the late 19th century, competition was the rule. It was exactly because of poor service levels that Governments decided to ban this and to attribute the service to a single provider in the frame of a regulated organisation. Today, in every European Member State, Pilotage regulations have established a corps of state-controlled pilots whose competence, knowledge and training has been tested and confirmed. In addition to their service obligations, pilots have a duty of reporting any deficiencies they encounter on board the ships they assist and which could constitute a risk to navigation and/or a threat to the marine environment. Doing this, they fully participate to the mission of preventing maritime accidents organised by the European Union. Pilots are thus not only serving the interests of the piloted ship but also the interests of other maritime traffic, the port and the State.

For reasons of port safety and free circulation of ships in ports, the public service obligations of pilots should be rendered under supervision by a Competent Pilot Authority that guarantees a level playing field including minimum service levels, qualifications of pilots and the pilot dues. The pilot dues must be set by the Competent Authority after consultation with the port users, the port authorities and the pilots’ organization. Competition and commercial pressure will only lead to discriminatory “cherry picking” and thus will break the continuity of the overall pilot service in a port.

  • Pilots cannot exercise their independent judgement under commercial pressure. Their only considerations should be nautical technical with priority to public safety. Pilots must be able to refuse any operation if the safety of it is not guaranteed. In a competitive environment, it is extremely difficult for pilots to maintain their independence; their dependability will shift from the interests of the port community to their sole contractual customers. Pilots who compete for work will do things that they would refuse to do for safety reasons in a non-competitive setting. This leads the way to foreseen accidents.
  • With more than one service provider, the economy of scale is lost: competing providers do not cooperate, thus doubling the costs for pilot boats expenses, logistics operations… Duplication of expenses is contrary to the public interest and the protection of environment. Opportunities for significant economies of scale reducing the overall costs are missed and competing companies, for making more profits, are not using the best “state-of-the art” equipment but sometimes old, unsafe and non-environmentally friendly ones.
  • Competitive pilotage is by its very nature discriminatory. In economic efficiency terms, competing providers are looking for the more regular (liner), more lucrative (large), easiest work while other traffic will be neglected or delayed. This leads to what is called “cherry picking” or “cream skimming”. Maybe there will be reduced tariffs for one shipping line but this will be to the disadvantage of other port users who will be neglected. Safe and efficient pilotage should be provided to all port users at all times (European principle of universality of the service).
  • Poor human and material resources: all experiments with competition have shown, in spite of regulation, longer working and shorter rest periods with consequential fatigue induced decrements in performance. For reasons of economy and limited term contracts, there could be pressure to postpone recruitment of new pilots, to reduce training & education to the strict minimum, less recurrent training programs, less incentive to invest in boats and equipment.
  • Competition experiments in pilotage may provide an environment for corruption to flourish. As there are no regulations of the rates that pilotage companies charge and collect for their services, corruption may occur with the various private organisations siphoning off large percentage to place work with favourite suppliers to the detriment of safety and quality.
  • Competition requires a greater level of regulatory involvement in pilotage. The burdens placed on the regulatory authorities are much greater with competition than without competition, particularly in the areas of licensing, training and rates1. With competition, a greater level of oversight is required to monitor the activities of the pilots to prevent abuses.

With the aim of offering port users a quality service, European seaports need to be able to draw on a pool of skilled and properly trained pilots, because the quality of a pilot service depends above all on the training and experience of the pilots. Competition may endanger the efficient training of pilots as recommended by IMO Resolution A.960.

Therefore EMPA believes competition is not the way to implement a modern, safe and efficient pilotage system in Europe.

Source: http://www.empa-pilots.org/userfiles/file/EMPA%20position%20about%20competition_final.pdf

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