Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
On 21 October the Australian Maritime Safety Authority issued a new Marine Notice reminding shipowners, operators, masters, crews, recognised organisations, marine pilots and pilotage providers of the obligation to provide safe pilot transfer arrangements.
AMSA notes with concern that since November 2017 several pilots’ lives have been placed at risk, in six separate incidents where man ropes have parted or its securing point has failed. In addition, AMSA regularly receives reports and complaints about non-compliant pilot transfer arrangements.
Shipowners, operators, masters and crews are reminded that pilot transfer arrangements, including pilot ladders, must comply with Marine Order 21 (Safety and emergency arrangements) 2016 (MO21). MO21 implements Australia’s obligations under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Chapter V Regulation 23.
Pilot transfer arrangement standards
Whenever a pilot or other person embarks or disembarks from a ship by ladder, they entrust their safety to the pilot transfer arrangements provided by the ship and the pilot boat crew.
Requirements in SOLAS V/23 are the minimum standards for equipment installed and arrangements for pilot transfers on ships on or after 1 July 2012. The IMO standards can be found in IMO Resolution A.1045(27) Pilot transfer arrangements and IMO Resolution A.1108(29) Amendments to the Recommendations Pilot Transfer Arrangements (Resolution A.1045(27)).
SOLAS V/23.2.3 also states that a pilot ladder shall be certified by the manufacturer as complying with V/23 or with an international standard acceptable to the Organization and refers to ISO 799:2004 Ships and marine technology – pilot ladders.
Compliance with this particular provision of SOLAS V/23 can be met when a manufacturer has certified that the pilot ladder complies with either of the above standards, noting they are not identical.
Paragraph 10.1 of Part A of the International Safety Management Code (ISM) requires that vessel operators establish procedures to ensure that a ship is maintained in conformity with the relevant rules and regulations, including pilot transfer arrangements. Such procedures should include regular inspections of the pilot transfer arrangement and storage of such equipment when not in use.
Pilot transfer arrangements
IMO Circular MSC.1/Circ.1428 illustrates the pilot transfer arrangements required by SOLAS V/23.
Strict attention should be paid to the freeboard of the vessel to determine whether a combination ladder needs to be rigged and, if a combination ladder is required, attention should be paid to arrangements for securing such ladders to the vessel’s side.
Clear and efficient communication with the pilot boat master is essential to ensure the safety of the pilot transfer arrangements before a person uses the ladder. The pilot boat master is best positioned to judge correct height of the bottom of the ladder and identify any potential issues with the ladder or ropes once in place.
Responsibility for safe practices for personnel transfers rests with each person involved in the activity including the vessel’s owners, operators, master and crew, pilotage providers, pilots and pilot boat crew, as well as the person being transferred. All parties should observe both the spirit and intent of the regulations, to ensure safety is not compromised.
Where a marine pilot suspects that the pilot transfer arrangement provided is unsafe, they should refuse to use the arrangement until it is made safe by the master and crew. Where such situations occur, AMSA will follow-up to determine the cause and actions taken. Where a vessel is not calling into an Australian port, AMSA will follow up with the flag State.
The following are references for pilot transfer arrangements:
• AMSA Fact Sheet 399 (https://www.amsa.gov.au/about/regulations-and-standards/marine-notices )
• Marine Order 21 (Section 12)
• IMO/IMPA Pilot Ladder Poster (http://www.impahq.org/admin/resources/finalimpapladderposter.pdf )
This and other useful guidance material is available on the AMSA website at:
Implementation of standards
When conducting port State control inspections it is understood that AMSA inspectors will pay particular attention to the material state of all equipment and the implementation of MO21, Res.A.1045(27), ISO 799:2004, MSC.1/Circ.1428 and MSC.1/Circ.1495/Rev.1. The relevant IMO circulars and resolutions can be obtained from AMSA or www.imo.org
Compliance with the referenced standards does not of itself assure safety in each case. Therefore, the Master or responsible officer supervising the rigging of the pilot transfer arrangements should assess whether supplementary measures, such as lifejackets, harnesses, lifelines and lifebuoys be made available to enhance the safety of personnel using the pilot transfer arrangement.
Example of an unsafe man rope.
Photo: AMSA ©
DFDS’s newest ro-ro vessel, Humbria Seaways, commissioned in February this year, berthed at North Sea Port in mid-September. Her first port visit here was to the Mercatordok terminal in Ghent which handles high volumes of transhipment cargo.
Between Gothenburg in Sweden and North Sea Port this service is one of the most important on the North Sea for DFDS. Conversely, DFDS is a top customer for North Sea Port. With five calls each week, the Danish shipping and logistics group is one of the port’s most frequent users. DFDS’s blue and white ships have been a familiar sight on the Western Scheldt, in the lock at Terneuzen, on the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal and at Mercatordok for many years.
DFDS was particularly busy this month at the Mercatordok terminal in Ghent. In the words of Alain De Brauwer, Route Operations Manager for DFDS Seaways in Belgium: ‘We always have a lot of cargo ready for shipment and we receive large volumes from Sweden. So when a bigger ship calls, it always comes in handy.’
Humbria Seaways was briefly available to ship some extra cargo. The ship had just come out of dry dock and made a quick crossing from Gothenburg to Ghent and back before switching to another one of the shipping company’s routes. As always, there was a tight schedule.
Humbria Seaways is one of the newest Mega Ro-Ros built for DFDS in China. Vessels in this class are 237 metres loa and 33 metres wide notable for their unusually large cargo capacity with up to 6,700 line metres of cargo.
Trinity House has appointed a new Director of Navigational Requirements following the retirement of Captain Roger Barker MNM FNI on 13 September 2020.
Roger joined Trinity House in July 2005 as Navigation (Examiner) Manager after a career in commercial shipping, a subject that he remains passionate about. He was promoted to Director of Navigational Requirements (DNR) in May 2009 and was sworn in as an Elder Brother of Trinity House at the same time.
As DNR he took on a wide range of duties and responsibilities in the service of the mariner. While governing Trinity House through both the Lighthouse Board and the Corporate Board, he also sat on the Executive Committee and the Examiners’ Committee; any major decision made by Trinity House in the last decade will have benefitted from Roger’s enthusiastic and sage input.
Roger is also a keen advocate and adopter of technology, and this was readily apparent in his assessment of potential hazards to navigation such as shipwrecks and other new dangers at sea, liaising with Trinity House’s Planning Centre at all hours and consulting hydrographic surveys and charts overlaid with marine traffic analysis on his ever-present tablet.
Among other things, he also played a major part at IALA, being a leading voice on the Aids to Navigation Requirements and Management Committee, as well as being a frequent liaison with various maritime partners such as the UKHO and the MCA; he was also a Board member for the Trinity House Maritime Charity and Seafarers UK, these latter roles reflecting a lifelong passion for the wellbeing and education of mariners.
Roger will continue to be an important part of Trinity House despite retiring from his role as DNR. He will become the Nether Warden and will retain the role of Director of Deep Sea Pilotage for the next two years.
In November 2016, Roger was awarded the Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service for services to the Merchant Navy; the medal was presented by HRH The Princess Royal at a ceremony in Trinity House.