This picture has just come across my WhatsApp…
… and the pilot scaled that.
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
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.
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.
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.