Update on 18 Jan 2022:
- Guidance on pilot transfer arrangements
Pilots join vessels to assist the Master and crew during critical and potentially hazardous phases of navigation.
Normally, pilots board and disembark using a traditional pilot ladder from and to an awaiting pilot boat. However, this can be a dangerous procedure if those involved do not adhere to IMO standards or fail to practise acceptable seamanship skills. A number of pilots have died as a result of accidents while boarding/disembarking from vessels, and many have been seriously injured.
Furthermore, deficiencies with regards to the boarding arrangements and unsafe rigging of pilot ladders continue to be detected during port state control inspections, resulting in delays and financial penalties for the operator.
Seafarers should always check the condition of the ladder before it is rigged and ensure it is secured to the ship. While this is done, seafarers should always take care of their own safety, wearing all appropriate PPE (a life jacket and lifeline if necessary). If seafarers are uncertain about any of the requirements, they should always ask their supervising officer for advice.
Version 3 of the Shipping Industry Guidance on Pilot Transfer Arrangements is published in January 2022. This brochure is published by the International Maritime Pilots’ Association (IMPA) and ICS/ISF, and supported by the International Group of P&I Clubs, BIMCO, CLIA, INTERCARGO, IPTA, INTERTANKO, OCIMF, SIGTTO, ITF, IFSMA and the Nautical Institute. It aims to remind shipping companies and seafarers of the vital need to ensure that ladders used for pilot transfers are always rigged correctly.