For a Maritime Pilot, embarking and disembarking a ship is a dangerous task. The method of operation has changed very little over the years, and a large percentage of vessels still fail to comply with Solas Regulation V/23 and IMO Resolution A. 1045(27) which sets out mandatory compliance standards for those arrangements.


Among the main problems that the survey presents are:

  • Vessels still do not comply with basic standards;
  • Many fake ladders are sold to unsuspecting vessels;
  • Classification Societies certify non-compliant arrangements;
  • Port State Control officers sign off vessels on the basis of certificates without even sighting the ladders;
  • Inadequate boarding arrangements are prepared by poorly motivated crews often without officer supervision.

As far as in which areas are the most cases of non-compliance, Europe is leading with 207 non-compliant cases, followed by South America with 192 cases of non-compliance. However, the biggest percentage is found on South America, as in 55 cases, 12 of them were non-compliant. In general, 468 cases were reported all over the world, or 16.03%

Credit: IMPA

Moreover, when it comes to what problems were reported the most, "Steps not being horizontal" is at number one with 68 or 17.39%. Close by is "Poorly rigged retrieval line", with 61 cases or 15.6%.

Credit: IMPA

Pilot ladders may be a simple and inexpensive way to embark and disembark a vessel at sea, and compliance is not complicated nor expensive. However, in 2017 pilots are still being injured whilst embarking ships, IMPA noted.

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