Pilotage Problems

30th November 2008

Pilotage Problems

Initial Report

Report Text:

A manager has sent us two reports of incidents regarding pilotage in different parts of the world.

In the first, the Master was concerned that the pilot was making excessive use of his mobile phone whilst piloting the vessel.  This was compounded by the pilot’s refusal to take advice on his behaviour from the Master.

In the second report, the Master of another vessel was concerned that the pilot was apparently under such time pressure that

  1. a) He did not initially wish to spend time discussing the proposed plan for departure from the port.
  2. b) He was initially reluctant to the order to the tug to make fast to the ship – “There’s no time for that!”
  3. c) The vessel passed too close to another moored ship.
  4. d) The pilot disembarked before the vessel was clear of the port entrance.

In both cases, the Masters, with the full support of the manager, had reported the incidents to the appropriate local authorities.  On subsequent visits to the ports, significant improvements have been noted.

CHIRP Comment:

In previous editorial comment we have emphasised that willingness to intervene is a key attribute to improving safety.  It is pleasing to note that these Masters, supported by their manager, have intervened and that, as a result, improvements have been achieved.

On specific points raised in the reports:

  • Nobody conning a vessel in confined waters should allow him/herself to be distracted by making or receiving calls on a mobile telephone.
  • Proper review and discussion of the proposed passage plan is essential. “Poor planning produces poor performance.”
  • In regard to the comment that “there is no time for that”, the response is “there is always time for safety.” (The Editor is reminded of this frequently as this is engraved on a small clock that was presented as a safety award to all personnel in a fleet.)

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