S1/2004M b Practices in Pilotage – Past, Present and Future

In 2006 the Accident Investigation Board published a study called Piloting Practices and Culture in the Light of Accidents. The study concluded that both the traditional way of piloting and one based on modern technology are used at the same time in maritime pilotage. The reciprocal importance of these ways to provide pilotage varies, but according to the conclusion drawn by the investigation, the simultaneous impact of two different lines of action causes significant development tensions related to pilotage and its organisation.

The investigation reached the conclusion that it would be advisable, with reference to improving the safety of pilotage and seafaring, to develop good pilotage practices in such a way that pilotage would be improved by making use of the possibilities offered by the new navigation equipment and that cooperation on the bridge would be an essential part of the new method for providing pilotage.

Safety observations related to pilotage

During the last twelve years the investigations carried out by the Accident Investigation Board contain altogether 99 observations about safety in pilotage. The matters related to these observations have had an effect on the occurrence of accidents either directly or indirectly. The majority of these observations, 56, are related to the work itself, e.g. to route planning and to the manoeuvring and manoeuvrability of the vessel. A matter related to the organizing of the work, bridge cooperation and work rhythm has been the subject of investigation twenty-two times. Twenty-one findings have been related to environmental factors, e.g. ice, wind, fog or the surrounding fairway area.

When classified in more detail, twenty of these safety observations have been connected with turning measures in the fairways or with the monitoring of the turn manoeuvres. The second most common cause of findings is related to the shared responsibilities with reference to bridge cooperation and pilotage, altogether fourteen cases. The lack of route planning and the manoeuvrability of the vessel constitute other significant factors, both with more than ten findings. Other pilotage-related factors have been related to difficulties in port manoeuvring, unclarities with reference to the pilot boarding and disembarkation places, environmental conditions, fairways, fatigue and to the manoeuvrability of vessels in overtaking and meeting situations.

Safety study

The previous safety study on pilotage primarily concentrated on the pilotage organisation and organising the work on the bridge, but did not look at the actual pilotage work in detail.

The Accident Investigation Board decided to launch this safety study ’Practices in Pilotage – Past, Present and Future’ to complete the earlier publication. Master Mariners Kari Larjo and Karl Loveson and M.Sc. (Tech.) Jaakko Lehtosalo were appointed as members of the work group. This report discusses the practical pilotage work and the opportunities to develop it. Pilotage applies to all seafarers who have a pilot licence, fairway certificate, or pilot exemption certificate, as well as all those who work as Masters or as watch-keeping officers. Pilotage is often considered to only concern the pilot from outside the vessel, but pilotage includes navigation and monitoring as well, irrespective of the position or certificate of competency.

Contents of the safety study

Chapter 1 of this report presents a definition of pilotage, whereas chapter 2 of this Safety Study deals with the history and development of pilotage until the middle of the 20th century. Chapter 3 covers the international and national rules and regulations with reference to pilotage.

Chapter 4 describes the most important phenomena related to the manoeuvrability of the vessel and to the interaction of the vessel and its environment. Matters related to the fairway area and channel alignment are also dealt with. Chapter 5 describes the preparations made prior to pilotage and piloting both as a technical activity and as a part of the bridge organization.

Chapter 6 goes through the technology needed in piloting, the technical minimum requirements and the ergonomic use of the appliances. Chapter 7 deals with integrated piloting devices and the possibilities the technical systems offer to support pilotage.

The List of Sources of this Safety Study includes a list of the investigation reports published by the Accident Investigation Board, in which an accident has taken place when the vessel has been navigated along a fairway in the archipelago. The list presents safety observations from the investigation reports related to pilotage and the section of this safety study that discusses the topic.

The report has been delivered to the Finnish Transport Safety Agency, State Pilotage Enterprise, Finnlines, TallinkSilja, Viking Line, Neste Oil Shipping, Aboa Mare, and the Satakunta and Kymenlaakso Universities of Applied Sciences for comments. Some parts of the report have been modified based on the feedback received.

S1/2004M Report (pdf, 2.4 Mt)

Published 17.6.2004