Pilotage issues addressed

Sep 01 2014

The International Maritime Pilots’ Association (IMPA) has put together a guide for pilots, Masters and seafarers.*

Pilots sometime come under fire when casualty reports are analysed. Incidents of collisions, groundings, etc, are still being recorded worldwide, despite the presence of a pilot on board in some cases.

Over 30 pilots and industry experts contributed to the guide, which commences with a brief history of marine pilotage, followed by an overview of the legislation governing pilotage and more importantly, pilot liability.

The practical aspects of pilotage are examined in detail, including Master/pilot exchange, pilot transfer, shiphandling, vessel characteristics and interaction, fatigue management and training and certification.

In the legal and statutory section, IMO and national instruments, liability and criminalisation, pilot immunity and exemptions are discussed.

The section on conducting pilotage contains a pilot’s passage plan, Master pilot exchange, communications and underkeel clearance, including ship squat.

This section also looks at pilotage in different locations, such as canals (Panama and Kiel), straits, rivers and deepsea, plus the problems that can be encountered during severe winter periods, such as found on the St Lawrence River.

Shiphandling merits its own section in the book, covering various aspects including propulsion, steerage and power, vessel blackouts, shaft generators, CP propellers navigational technology and equipment, high sided vessels, azimuthing controlling devices, tug use and the handling of speciality vessels.

Perhaps of equal importance is the section on requirements, training and certification.

This starts with an overview, followed by requirements needed in France and the US, continuing professional development, mentoring training, simulator training, scaled manned model training and bridge resource management for pilots, which training academies have said is of increasing importance.

Fatigue is covered as pilots can sometimes be expected to work for long hours, as is the question of pilot transfer systems, including ladders, pilot boats, pilot vessels and helicopters.

In the Appendix, IMPA gives its stance on pilotage competition and this section also includes a guide for members on the use of ECDIS, plus IMPA’s position statement of the IMO’s E-navigation strategy.

Finally, IMPA’s guidelines on the design and use of portable pilot units are outlined.

By and large each section and its relevant chapters are written by different IMPA members who have particular expertise in the subject being covered, although there is a certain amount of overlap.

*IMPA on Pilotage is published by Witherby Publishing Group, price £75, pp 256, 4-colour, diagrams, ISBN: 978-1-85609-635-5.

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