(Client confidential; photo unrelated)
ABPmer was commissioned to facilitate a risk assessment workshop to review the need for two pilots for container ships on passage to, and from, a large UK port.
The workshop attendees included pilots, ship’s masters, tug masters, Harbour Authority personnel and marine operational staff. The team collectively critically examined the passage of a 400m LOA ULCS with a draught of 13.5m from a pilot boarding location to its berth, captained by a single pilot.
The workshop found that:
- Effective use of the ship’s bridge team, master and officers removes workload from the single pilot. This needs to be clearly defined in the master/pilot exchange, with critical sections of the passage identified.
- Active use of the vessel traffic service by masters or pilots using one-way traffic operating within certain areas can provide a priority passage, reducing the risk of interaction with other craft, thereby removing time pressure for the pilot who would otherwise need to respond.
- Moving to a one-pilot operation may reduce the use of the PPU, but will not make its use redundant.
- It is not possible to mitigate for the sudden illness or incapacitation of a pilot. In this case, the ship’s master would decide whether to complete the passage to berth or abort back to sea. This decision can be informed by the Vessel Traffic Controller.
The workshop concluded that a one-pilot operation was practical and safe for inbound and outbound transit for a ULCS of 400 LOA with a draught of 13.5m, assuming hazard risk controls remain as now, and measures identified in the workshop are implemented.