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International Group of P&I Clubs reports on pilot error-related claims.

The Pilotage Sub-committee of the International Group of P&I Clubs (IG) has published a report on claims over USD 100,000 involving pilot error. Information pooled by IG Clubs relating to 260 such claims has been included in the study, which covers the period from 20th February 1999 to 20th February 2004.

Important observations
The average number of incidents per year involving pilot error was 52. The frequency did not increase from year to year. The average cost of each claim over the five year period was USD 850,000. The average cost did not increase from year to year either.

Claims for damage to fixed and floating objects (FFO) involving pilot error accounted for 65 per cent of claims by number (37 claims per policy year) and 33 per cent by cost. The average cost of each claim for damage to fixed and floating objects was USD 400,000. The report recommends better training or briefing of bridge team management to operate with the pilot on board, especially in relation to passage planning.

Collisions involving pilot error accounted for 24 per cent of claims by number and 24 per cent by cost. On average there were 14 collision cases per year involving pilot error and the average cost of each case was USD 800,000. The report recommends bridge teams to keep a proper look-out and not to forget that their eyes are still the most sophisticated aid to do so.

Groundings, pollution and general average/salvage cases involving pilot error each accounted for about three per cent of the incidents by number. There were on average two incidents in each of these categories every year. Groundings accounted for 35 per cent of all incidents by cost. The average cost of each grounding involving pilot error was USD 7.85 million and of each pollution incident involving pilot error the average cost was USD 1.8 million. The report recommends better training or briefing of the bridge team management to operate with the pilot on board, with emphasis on the master/pilot exchange of information.

Groundings are the most expensive pilot error claims. They are more than four times as expensive as pollution claims and almost 20 times more expensive than FFO claims.

The IG is currently maintaining a database of pilot error incidents from 21st February 2004 to the present and thereafter.

The complete report can be downloaded from the IG website at www.igpandi.org under “News and Information”.

Gard News 186, May/July 2007

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Gard News is published quarterly by Gard AS, Arendal, Norway.