The recently-released American Club Good Catch safety guidance focuses on the pilot ladder safety issues, due to an increase in marine pilot fatalities.
pecifically, the American Club has reached out to the marine pilot community regarding some of the main concerns they have with pilot ladder arrangements.
- To remind, SOLAS regulation V/23, Pilot Transfer Arrangements, set forth the standards and requirements for boarding arrangements, responsibility of ship’s personnel in rigging pilot transfer equipment, associated pilot transfer equipment, clear access and lighting.
- To rig a pilot ladder is hard physical work for the vessel’s crew. The longer the pilot ladder in length, the more difficult it can be to retrieve once it has been deployed, and retrieval lines are regularly used.
- International Maritime Organization Assembly Resolution A.1045(27), Recommendations on Pilot Transfer Arrangements, paragraph 2.1.5 recommends that when a retrieval line is considered necessary to ensure the safe rigging of a pilot ladder, the line should be fastened at or above the last spreader step and should lead forward.
- The retrieval line should not hinder the pilot nor obstruct the safe approach of the pilot boat. The reason for this is very simple: A retrieval line suspended under the bottom spreader can easily get caught in the fenders or bollards of the pilot boat, or the pilot’s leg can get entangled in it.
- Ensure the retrieval line is correctly rigged every time as the pilot’s safety is dependent upon it.