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Gard Guidance Masters PILOTS

Whilst pilots should be familiar with the environment of a vessel and its access points, accidents nevertheless do occur. These accidents may have fatal consequences or cause permanent disability necessitating the payment of substantial compensation.

The main causes of accidents suffered by pilots are
  • improperly rigged pilot ladders
  • insufficiently lit alleyways
  • obstacles and hazards on deck
  • residues of liquids creating a slippery surface
  • frozen surfaces in winter
  • open stairways to the bridge not being closed or fenced off during night-time pilotage.

    Embarkation and disembarkation of pilots should be considered a critical shipboard operation under the Company’s SMS and SSP for which special procedures should be in place. In addition, the Master should follow the IMPA and IMO recommended Required Boarding Arrangements for Pilots.

    Pilot embarkation and disembarkation should be attended to by
  • a responsible officer in charge
  • professional and properly trained crew members ready to assist as required and be available in the event of an incident.

    If the embarkation or disembarkation of the pilot appear to become too difficult in adverse weather conditions, the Master should not hesitate to abort and postpone the operation and wait for improved weather conditions.

    Pilots should not be left unattended on proceeding to or leaving the bridge, or on their way to or from the pilot ladder. If a pilot slips or falls whilst accompanied by a member of the ship’s crew, a helping hand should be given and the incident will have been witnessed by a ship’s witness.

    For helicopter operations, reference should be made to the Critical Shipboard Operation Procedure in the SMS. A safe descent and crew assistance must be provided from where the pilot is landed.