Specifically, the Association highlights that given the current regulations around the ladder-platform transition issue it is not “an expensive proposition” to comply with the Regulation 23 and Resolution A.1045. Replacing or retrofitting equipment to meet the standards would not be a significant project.

Recently, the Dangerous Ladders campaign was launched in efforts to improve the safety of pilot transfer arrangements and in particular the safe rigging of pilot ladders, Fidra Films has developed a series of informational and educational films to illustrate the dangers and also best practice.

Therefore, the Association issued this marine notice to bring this matter t the attention of the maritime sector and bring an end to this dangerous situation by taking responsible measures, including, but not limited to, the ones the Association is proposing below, to protect the safety of the pilots under your jurisdiction.

 Concerning Pilots

Pilots are advised to communicate with pilots and pilot association(s) and remind them that a pilot has the right to refuse to use a transfer arrangement that he or she reasonably believes is unsafe.

Pilots should note the problems with a trapdoor arrangement similar to the one from which Captain Sherwood fell, and provide a brief description of the current IMO standards for combination arrangements using a trapdoor.

You should also confirm that you will support, and defer to the judgement of, a pilot who refuses to use a transfer arrangement that he or she believes is unsafe, unless that refusal is later shown to be clearly unreasonable or insincere.

Concerning Maritime Community

The Association advises the maritime community to issue a notice to pilot users and others in their local maritime community that they are aware that some ships may offer a pilot transfer arrangement consisting of an accommodation ladder/pilot ladder combination with a trapdoor that does not meet IMO standards in effect since at least 2012.

Also, they recommend the community to remind the pilots that they may refuse to use a pilot transfer arrangement that they reasonably believe is unsafe, particularly the offending trapdoor arrangement.

Urge ships with a trapdoor arrangement to bring their arrangements into compliance with the current IMO standards as soon as possible in order to avoid potential disruptions to ship schedules and port operations.

Ships can either

a) switch to the more traditional system of a pilot ladder hung from the ship’s deck, positioned adjacent to the accommodation ladder platform, and secured to the ship’s hull at a point nominally 1.5m above the platform;

b) ensure that the trapdoor arrangement meets the following IMO standards:

  • pilot ladder rigged through the trapdoor extending above the platform to the height of the handrail;
  • lower platform of accommodation ladder secured to the ship’s side, so as to ensure that the lower end of the accommodation and the lower platform are held firmly against the ship’s side;
  • pilot ladder remains against the ship’s side.