The US Coast Guard shared equipment manufacturers’ guidance to seek approval of pilot ladders and embarkation ladders that meet ISO 799-1:2019 or ISO 5489:2008, respectively, as well as current guidance on embarking and disembarking of pilots.
n the CG-ENG Policy Letter No. 01-21, the USCG Office of Design and Engineering Standards (CG-ENG) harmonizes the approval of pilot ladders and embarkation ladders with updated international standards and provides updated guidance on embarking and disembarking of pilots.
SOLAS Chapter V Regulation 23.2.3, requires pilot ladders to be certified by their manufacturer as complying with Regulation 23. SOLAS Chapter III, Part A, Regulation 4 requires lifesaving appliances, including embarkation ladders required by SOLAS Chapter III, Part B, Regulation 11.7, to be approved by the Administration.
Under Title 46 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 32.90-1, 77.40-1, 96.40-1, 108.719, and 195.40, certain U.S. vessels are required to have pilot ladders approved by the Coast Guard under approval series 163.003. Title 46 CFR 199.110 requires embarkation ladders to be approved by the Coast Guard under approval series 160.117 or 160.017.
- Manufacturers are strongly encouraged to produce ladders that comply with ISO 799- 1:2019 and ISO 5489:2008, as applicable.
- Manufacturers of pilot ladders intended for use on a vessel engaged in international voyages should ensure they provide certification of the ladder’s compliance with SOLAS Chapter V Regulation 23.
- Manufacturers of pilot ladders and embarkation ladders intended for use on a vessel engaged in international voyages should ensure they are marked in accordance with ISO 799-1:2019 and ISO 5489:2008. This includes “ISO 799-1” or “ISO 5489” and “SOLAS”.
- Operators of vessels embarking or disembarking maritime pilots away from the dock are strongly encouraged to comply with the pilot transfer arrangements described in enclosure (1). The Coast Guard also recommends that all vessels obtain the poster illustrated in enclosure (2) and post it where it is accessible. It is available for download on the International Maritime Pilots’ Association’s website at www.impahq.org
In late 2020, USCG published MSIB 21-20 Change 1 “Recommendation for Pilot Transfer Arrangements”, in light of deaths of maritime pilots while embarking commercial vessels. As incidents involving poorly maintained pilot ladders remain a concern for the shipping industry, local pilot associations, including several in the US, have recently taken action in protest of boarding arrangements that are considered non-compliant.