I am Heading the Pacific Maritime Institute today!
As an aside, a part of many harbor pilots safety culture is watching air-crash videos and comparing causes similar to those in maritime casualties. Most likely this doesn’t work the other way around."
There are many similarities between the challenges of the airline pilot and the harbor pilot. Today I will be taking a break from my regular studies to drop by PMI and partake in some training. When I asked Captain Jim Wright about Maritime and SMS and this was his response:
"The maritime industry is becoming more proactive regarding SMS. The pilotage segment of the industry, being relatively small in numbers, has relied on both intra and inter-organizational dialogue to address safety issues. Of prime safety concern over my career has been what might be called “getting to and from work” issues.
It seems somewhat inconsistent in this day of glass-bridges and automation that pilots still go to work in small “pilot-boats” and then climb up the side of the ship on a rope ladder. After losing a number of pilots in pilot-ladder accidents, the Australian Pilot Authority decreed that vessels showing up with inadequate or improperly rigged ladders would be put to anchor until the problem was corrected. Almost overnight it seemed that the desired safety improvements began to spread. Soon even ships showing up in Alaska ports had improved pilot ladders.
Our recent Risk & Resource Management class at PMI included 2 Columbia River Bar pilots. Pilot ladders are an important part of their safety culture due to boarding in extreme sea and swell conditions. They have instituted a new policy where every boarding/disembarking is video recorded for later review by the pilots. This gives them an opportunity to debrief their performance on the ladder. Although the Columbia River Bar videos are proprietary the following U-tube video (probably at some European port) shows the potential hazards of “going to work” for harbor pilots:
In this case the problem appears to have begun when the pilot reached for the ladder before ensuring the pilot boat was pressed in hard against the side of the ship. We were quite fortunate in SW Alaska in not having lost a pilot from a pilot ladder fall – at least during my career. Nonetheless, every one of our pilots could tell some alarming pilot ladder stories.
Update Next Week!
Have a GREAT weekend!
Enjoy the Journey!