Pilot Error

Ventry
8th June 2007, 20:37
There must be many Ship Masters out there with a tale to tell.
Last year we had three grounding of fully laden tankers at the entrance to the Liffey. I understand the same Pilot was responsible for two. Fortunately, no pollution. How often as Master has a Pilot been responsible for damage through shear incompetence and smiled and said ' Have you a docking bottle Captain. Views on the Pilotage Act welcome.

This is duplicated as I initially posted it in 'Say Hello'

kottemann
8th June 2007, 20:41
Another touchy subject Venners old boy lot of Pilots use this forum

Ventry
8th June 2007, 22:21
Never known to shy away from confrontation!

duquesa
8th June 2007, 23:09
Nobody is perfect - not even Ship's Masters!
In 25 years as a pilot I never once asked for a docking bottle. In the very early years there were those that did. None of my colleagues in the last three decades would have dreamt of it. Had we done so and been reported, the consequences would have been severe.
There are few pilots and masters who have gone through their careers without a mishap at some time. To have two or three incidents would be unfortunate and no doubt have been thoroughly examined. I see no mileage in this thread except to muck rake and to what end exactly!

notnila
8th June 2007, 23:44
After reading this and other threads,is there anyone that Ventry doesn't dislike.He's already shot down Unions,now lets get"" stuck into "Pilots!!!Come on man,there must be something that you like.

Geoff Garrett
8th June 2007, 23:50
Well Ventry,
You're not making yourself very popular with this thread are you?

Peter4447
9th June 2007, 00:08
"When in danger with no room to turn, ease her, stop her, go astern"

Peter4447(A)

duquesa
9th June 2007, 08:15
Indeed so. I've said my piece and well within my comfort zone on this one.
I'm out. Have a good day.

non descript
9th June 2007, 08:33
Whilst we all have our faults and I am sure that, just as a minority of Ships’ Masters can be less than perfect, there are other branches of this industry where the folk fail to measure up to the right standards, I would say that from my experience I was never let down by a Pilot and indeed very recently had good reason to be very grateful to one who placed our vastly oversized (for the port) Capesize Bulk-Carrier alongside in Aruba with extreme skill and then looked bemused and embarrassed when thanked, saying it was his job and he enjoyed a challenge. Bearing in mind that there are quite a few Members here who are Pilots, it is a pleasure to put the record straight, and at the same time say thank you to those who have to my knowledge done a perfect job in the course of their normal duties, without looking for any reward except for their normal and comparatively meagre wages.

Tony Crompton
9th June 2007, 09:17
On my station we accepted that the biggest critics of Pilots were men who had applied to be a Pilot and had not been accepted!!!
------------------------
Tony C

Ventry
9th June 2007, 10:05
Not in my case Tony. Now in my 35th year in command, and during that time commanding several of the largest vessels afloat. However, I was hoping for more constructive comment rather than defensive rhetoric. There must be views out there on the 'Sea Empress' and John Fredriksens chalenge of the Pilotage Act etc,etc. Even academic views on CVTMO & PA.

Binnacle
9th June 2007, 11:05
Ventry perhaps should have chosen a less contentious title for this thread. However a sorry pass will have been reached if the subject of piloting is taboo. What next for censorship, ship surveyors, compass adjusters,chandlers, shipmasters. etc. ?. Recounting experiences, good or bad is what attracts many of us to Ships Nostalgia.
P.S. Never having had any desire to enter the pilotage I never applied.

Hugh Ferguson
9th June 2007, 12:58
Here's a stanza from Barry Youde's (rtd. Liverpool pilot), "Sitting On A Bollard".
"How d'you think we are doing, Pilot? Do we need a special flag?
All the crew are ready, Pilot. I've put a bottle in your bag."

I've know too many masters breathe an audible sigh of relief to get their Pilot safely on-board, to take any notice of that insult. I landed from a fruiter once, carrying a "stem" of bananas: made a nice change from the usual bottle. Had to hire a taxi to get them up to Gravesend Station. My wife approved and we ate every one of them, after allowing them to ripen slowly in a cupboard: they tasted much better like that!

Hawkeye
9th June 2007, 13:49
In the Hook, the pilots are sometimes flown out to the ships in helicopters. The flight deck area on here has to be cleared of passengers. On one occasion, a passenger asked what was going on. It was explained to him what was going on, that helicopters take the pilots, sometimes more then one, out to the ships and drop them of. The passenger then asked if there was one still onboard when it landed back at base. It took a few moments for the crew member to realise he was refurring to the helicopter pilot.

Ventry
9th June 2007, 13:49
Hugh,
I did not wan't to be specific but it was the Liverpool Pilots I had in mind when I started the thread and threw in that little 'taster' (obviously unpalatable to some).

Larry Dev
9th June 2007, 14:33
Ventry, there is many a pilot that could tell tales of masters, mates etc ,I am certain it would not be comfortable reading. I was never a pilot but had many a first hand experience where I was embarressed by the master in the presence of pilots, enough said.
Larry

Anchorman
9th June 2007, 16:00
Hugh,
I did not wan't to be specific but it was the Liverpool Pilots I had in mind when I started the thread and threw in that little 'taster' (obviously unpalatable to some).

I was running into Liverpool last year for a while, and if we had DGs a pilot was required. I personally found the pilots very proffesional, helpful and friendly. No complaints at all.

Hugh Ferguson
9th June 2007, 18:18
Hugh,
I did not wan't to be specific but it was the Liverpool Pilots I had in mind when I started the thread and threw in that little 'taster' (obviously unpalatable to some).

Then you must get a copy of Barry's "Sitting On A Bollard." Published by LAVER, 2002, web-site:-<www.laverpublishing.com>

I've no idea what kind of a pilot he was but he writes jolly good poetry. Incidentally, I started my piloting career in Aden and living next door, as I do now, to a retired naval officer, I never stop hearing about the insults directed at pilots that he heard in ward-room gossip. A lot of Aden Harbour was not covered by a compulsory pilotage condition, and naval vessels of all nationalities came and went regularly. Never on one single solitary occasion, except one, was I ever asked to relinquish the con when shifting navy ships on moving to a non-compulsory part of the harbour. And that ship was an American destroyer going alongside two other American destroyers, and he would have made a "balls" of it if I hadn't been there to advise! So easy to find fault when you're not actually doing the job.

Orcadian
9th June 2007, 19:19
I remember as a third mate thinking that a pilots job was a easy job but since I have been a pilot it is not as easy as it looks.
Its always nice to get a compliment from the old man saying that you have done a good job. Bit of a bonus after a sometimes tricky job in poor weather conditions.
As for getting a bottle they are as rare as hens teeth these days. On some ships you are lucky to get a cup of coffee.

mclean
9th June 2007, 19:37
I retired four years ago after many years of owning my own ship operating company. We were involved in the chartering and operating of bulk carriers in the 25/30000 tonne range. Cargoes in the main were steel, forest products and generals. Towards the latter end of my career, I was repeatidly amazed at the total lack of knowledge shown by some masters and mates with regards to the stowage of relatively simple cargoes. On more than one occasion cargo operations would be hed up whilst the master would phone his office for instructions. I would not be too quick in running down Pilots. During my time at sea, I cannot recall ever having a problem. Colin

Ventry
9th June 2007, 21:28
Well gentlemen, a predictable response from you all. However, I can assure you that the UK P & I Clubs Loss Prevention teams take the matter serious.

Trader
9th June 2007, 23:09
Ventry, there is many a pilot that could tell tales of masters, mates etc ,I am certain it would not be comfortable reading. I was never a pilot but had many a first hand experience where I was embarressed by the master in the presence of pilots, enough said.
Larry

I was on the wheel of a certain vessel docking in Millwall Dock, London in 1970 when the pilot got so fed up with the "old man" interfering that he told him to f--k off. He did as he was told as he realised that he was in the wrong, he was also full of juice.

Trader.

Dave Edge
10th June 2007, 08:06
The heading 'pilot error' suggests a failure to understand the basic principle of Bridge Resource Management, which is designed to prevent 'one man error'. Nobody is perfect, not even pilots, but on a well-managed bridge a mistake by one person will be corrected before the error becomes an accident. For a pilot to cause an accident through 'sheer incompetence' he or she would have to be in the company of an equally incompetent master and bridge team.

Peter Dryden
10th June 2007, 08:30
Not in my case Tony. Now in my 35th year in command, and during that time commanding several of the largest vessels afloat. However, I was hoping for more constructive comment rather than defensive rhetoric. There must be views out there on the 'Sea Empress' and John Fredriksens chalenge of the Pilotage Act etc,etc. Even academic views on CVTMO & PA.

Ventry,

If you are requiring accademic discussion and sensible views change your title to something more palatable, in an accademic discussion you are looking for "Critical Thought" and not confrontation.
I for one not knowing anything about the "Pilotage Act" would have welcomed a discussion which I could have read and learned from.

Peter.

jim brindley
10th June 2007, 09:35
There must be many Ship Masters out there with a tale to tell.
Last year we had three grounding of fully laden tankers at the entrance to the Liffey. I understand the same Pilot was responsible for two. Fortunately, no pollution. How often as Master has a Pilot been responsible for damage through shear incompetence and smiled and said ' Have you a docking bottle Captain. Views on the Pilotage Act welcome.

This is duplicated as I initially posted it in 'Say Hello'

ventry as a humble deckboy j.o.s.s.os and reaching the dizzy hights of a.b . sailed with mates etc made more blues then pilots, old sinner jim .[=P]

Ventry
10th June 2007, 09:37
I used the Pilot Error title (knowing full well the reaction it would generate) as I wanted to contrast the views of both sides. The dirth on non Pilot input was disappointing. Recently investigated (on behalf of the Competent Authority) a 'Pilot Error' casualty in the UAE.
Pilot overan an SBM. The SBM was out for 10 days (thats what upset the 'Authority'. Ship damage ' nothing a drydocking in Dubai couldn't fix).The root cause of the problem was that the Authority used a SMS devoid of any Competence Assurance. The training was 'sketchy' and in an effort to recruit locals 'dubious'. The Pilot did not have appropriate qualifications but was well connected). Six weeks later another incident in a different UAE port where a VLCC missed HW and much delayed through the Pilot (local/non local interface)
Forgive my inexperience in these matters but I believe Insurers/Owners should be advised.

The above is the 'tenor' of posts I was expecting as it does highlight 'gaps' in the system( Gap Analysis in the aCademic world Peter,). We could then go 'Master Bashing' with a a suitably worded title 'Master Error'
I for one will not be springing to defence as I know what is out there.

Split
10th June 2007, 09:54
Not in my case Tony. Now in my 35th year in command, and during that time commanding several of the largest vessels afloat. However, I was hoping for more constructive comment rather than defensive rhetoric. There must be views out there on the 'Sea Empress' and John Fredriksens chalenge of the Pilotage Act etc,etc. Even academic views on CVTMO & PA.

This is a very polite site! Shame on you to try to criticise anyone with a nautical background. everyone else seems to be fair game. I am used to the cut and thrust of trading forums where there can be some very questionable opinions on one's prowess as a trader.. I was not in command, having left my career as c/o however, I have seen many expressive expressions on the Old Man's face(EEK) after arriving or leaving port to know that your opinion is not, all, unfounded. Perhaps a recent incident is still fresh in your mind!

Split

Ventry
10th June 2007, 10:37
Split,
With due respect/deference to your age..............you've lost me.

Tom S
10th June 2007, 10:59
pilotage in the UK is a "Profession" carried out by Professional Master Mariners
they are contolled by Competent Harbour Authorities and their training is much improved to what it was twenty years ago. They are examined regularily and now have strict disciplinary procedures. Most Harbour Authorities now involve Pilots in the Marine Management of the Ports and their Navigation Services. A rogue Pilot would soon be found out with the procedures in place to-day. Contrary to popular belief Pilots are disciplined if they are found responsible for any damage they cause. Give them a break they do a good job in sometimes difficult conditions. Shipmasters should always remember what is entered in the Logbook " To Masters Orders and Pilots Advice" when the pilot comes onboard he is part of the Bridge Management Team and if the Master feels he is not performing his duties to the best of his abilities he should intervene,
TomS

Ventry
10th June 2007, 11:04
Tom S,
Thankyou for that response. God only knows i've waited long enough on this thread for something constructive. Perhaps we may now get other similar posts (or otherwise).

duquesa
10th June 2007, 11:39
(Or call it what you wish!) Forgive me, but you seem to be darting around from the Liffey to Liverpool to other overseas ports where the selection and training of staff (not only Pilots) MAY be questionable. There have been some equally questionnable training programs (or lack of them) in this country too as we are all aware. Someone or something in the past has quite clearly rattled your cage and you do appear to be spoiling for an argument. You certainly won't get it from me and I doubt from any self respecting pilot whether serving or retired. I suspect you won't get it from most Masters. Why don't you get it off your chest and tell us what is really bugging you instead of trying to hide behind the desire for so called constructive criticism. What Tom has just written above is totally correct down to the very last word and is standard knowledge. Why you have been waiting for someone to tell you or put it in print, beats me.

K urgess
10th June 2007, 12:00
"Pilot's Advice" is a valid point.
I've seen a master overrule a pilot because the pilot was too tentative and wanted to go round the outside of something whereas the Old Man needed to catch the tide so he went the brave way round. If it hadn't worked it would've been his neck on the block. He knew the area and knew what he was doing. Also it wasn't within harbour confines.
I saw the same Old Man do it again when the pilot wanted to proceed to destination but we'd had a change of orders. A u-turn in the channel had the pilot hiding in the corner. The destination was hours away and the turn with a light, minimum ballasted ship was not a problem.
These are the only occasions where I can remember seeing this happen.
It's completely different when the Old Man is the pilot as in Wilson's. Can't throw himself off the bridge(LOL)
The same Wilson's ship went aground on the US coast because the pilot misjudged the tide. We got off again straight away and it was only mud so no real harm done. But definitely no docking bottle.[=P]
I hasten to add that these were over 30 years ago before the days of management teams etc.
Cheers
Kris

johnalderman
10th June 2007, 12:47
If Pilots are not necessary because ship Masters are so skilled in ship handling they will in the fullness of time be done away with just as Radio Officers have, but with the standard of ship master plying the seas today, don't hold your breath!

Peter Dryden
10th June 2007, 12:53
"The above is the 'tenor' of posts I was expecting as it does highlight 'gaps' in the system( Gap Analysis in the aCademic world Peter,). We could then go 'Master Bashing' with a a suitably worded title 'Master Error'
I for one will not be springing to defence as I know what is out there".

Ventry,

You have an odd way of going about achieving a credible discussion, I came to the conclusion in my late teens that this world was made up of good and bad people, I have accepted this fact and learned to live with it.
Winston Churchill once said, " The man that has not made a mistake has not made anything", You Ventry seem to delight in other peoples mistakes, hence the the highlighted correction of my inncorect spelling of academic, I think you could have what we up in the North would call, "A chip on your shoulder", Another North saying is that we should, "Clear the mess off our own doorstep before we start on someone elses".
I have no intention of "Master Bashing" or bashing anyone else. So I will take my leave of this thread and not return to it.

Peter.

James_C
10th June 2007, 12:57
"Bridge Team Management", "Safety Management System", "onboard integration", all these wonderful buzzwords phrases, and they all make my skin crawl.
Whatever happened to just "doing your job"?
Still, that's perhaps an old fashioned viewpoint.
I tend to find the Pilotage Act to be a bit of an enigma - particularly in ports where Pilotage is compulsory. In my humble opinion if Pilotage is to be compulsory then the local regs should be modelled on that in Panama - if the Pilot has the con then the Pilotage authority and himself carry the can and cover the insurance.

Split
10th June 2007, 13:05
Split,
With due respect/deference to your age..............you've lost me.

Never mind.

peter barc
10th June 2007, 13:07
Looks like the waters getting Deeper by the minute, I think we should let the Pilot go...

johnalderman
10th June 2007, 13:13
Make sure its very deep first!

duquesa
10th June 2007, 13:22
Peter Dryden, I think I shall join you on the afterdeck. I really can't be bothered. Next topic please.

RayJordandpo
10th June 2007, 13:51
Peter Dryden, I think I shall join you on the afterdeck. I really can't be bothered. Next topic please.
Any room for me?

Hague
10th June 2007, 14:02
A Ship Managers Perspective

And the water gets deeper!

Well Capt Bruic,
I think your Irish sense of humour and opening satement ref 'Docking Bottle' was lost on most. I recall in my days in 'the China' we had 'Choice Pilots' , The four S's if my memory serves me correctly (Small, Smart, Sweetman ???) and they all used to receive a bottle but, thats a long time ago. Only present on one incident in 65 as the 'Maron' on entering Gladstone Locks hit the wall and stove in the Stbd aft bulwarks.
The company I work for operate vessels on the 'old middle trade' and world wide which gives a fair cross section to draw on. The majority of berthing incidents happens on the former (6000 tonner's) trading in Europe. Our Handysize are relatively free.
At this point I would suggest we call such accidents 'Pilot Assisted' as that is what the Claims Department call them. Yes, It is of grave concern to the P & I Clubs.

Some time ago a Norwegian, John Fredriksen, tested the validity of the Pilot being the 'servant of the Shipowner'. The case was 'settled out of court' as it was not in any Ports interest to have this 'principal' challenged. Decide yourself.

Shipowners want nothing more than to Arrive, Load/Disc and Sail (Dennings def'n of a 'Safe Port' ) without any incident and most importantly, if the Pilotage is compulsory then he should be able to sue if a 'Pilot Assisted' incident happens. I don't think there is anything unreasonable in that. After all the Port owners are not slow to send an Invoice.
On a lighter note we in our office we believe are responsible for christening the locks at Immingham 'Goldilocks' as we thinks that over the last 20 years we have built the lock entrance many time over. A square foot of old concrete being dislodged starts the bidding at £20k. Usually get out with the P & I guarantees and insist on being present during repair.

I hope this gives a macro input rather than personal which is how the thread was from beginning until now, I hope.
As for my view on Ship Masters......I worry about the future as we simply do not have the training required in this country. STCW 95..... Don't get me started as I am sure I will attract far more 'fan mail' than old Capt Bruic has received for this one.

Tom S
10th June 2007, 15:23
A Ship Managers Perspective

And the water gets deeper!

Well Capt Bruic,
I think your Irish sense of humour and opening satement ref 'Docking Bottle' was lost on most. I recall in my days in 'the China' we had 'Choice Pilots' , The four S's if my memory serves me correctly (Small, Smart, Sweetman ???) and they all used to receive a bottle but, thats a long time ago. Only present on one incident in 65 as the 'Maron' on entering Gladstone Locks hit the wall and stove in the Stbd aft bulwarks.
The company I work for operate vessels on the 'old middle trade' and world wide which gives a fair cross section to draw on. The majority of berthing incidents happens on the former (6000 tonner's) trading in Europe. Our Handysize are relatively free.
At this point I would suggest we call such accidents 'Pilot Assisted' as that is what the Claims Department call them. Yes, It is of grave concern to the P & I Clubs.

Some time ago a Norwegian, John Fredriksen, tested the validity of the Pilot being the 'servant of the Shipowner'. The case was 'settled out of court' as it was not in any Ports interest to have this 'principal' challenged. Decide yourself.

Shipowners want nothing more than to Arrive, Load/Disc and Sail (Dennings def'n of a 'Safe Port' ) without any incident and most importantly, if the Pilotage is compulsory then he should be able to sue if a 'Pilot Assisted' incident happens. I don't think there is anything unreasonable in that. After all the Port owners are not slow to send an Invoice.
On a lighter note we in our office we believe are responsible for christening the locks at Immingham 'Goldilocks' as we thinks that over the last 20 years we have built the lock entrance many time over. A square foot of old concrete being dislodged starts the bidding at £20k. Usually get out with the P & I guarantees and insist on being present during repair.

I hope this gives a macro input rather than personal which is how the thread was from beginning until now, I hope.
As for my view on Ship Masters......I worry about the future as we simply do not have the training required in this country. STCW 95..... Don't get me started as I am sure I will attract far more 'fan mail' than old Capt Bruic has received for this one.
You Identify yet another problem in which I feel I must comment. After many in Port Management I have heard first hand the arguments of P&I Clubs on who should be held responsible for so called Pilot Assisted damage when entering lockgates such as those at Immingham. What you must remember is that 99% of the lock entrances in the Uk were constructed nearly 100 years ago and were built for ships of that age. Ship design has come ahead in leaps and bounds since those days they are usually larger more automated and carry fewer crew usually of mixed nationalities on which the Pilots frequently encounter language problems. A lot of these vessels are constructed for economical steaming and often little thought is given to manouvering in tightly constricted Ports ie they are often difficult to handle at slow speeds and when something does go wrong the Pilot is the First to get the blame.
Yes the ports are quick to put a damage notice onboard they must protect their assets. Most of these lock entrances have suffered from the lack of major investment for many years. In some of the Ports I was responsible for we often had to impose towage on some of the vessels because of the problems I have mentioned It didnt go down too well with Shipowners the cost of extra towage but it prevented damage and kept insurance claims down. The Pilotage act is there to protect all parties concerned and ensure safe passage within our Ports and Rivers.
TomS

RayJordandpo
10th June 2007, 15:36
I live near Hull. As you may recall a few years ago the Humber pilots were replaced by pilots directly employed by Associated British Ports. At the time many parties including shipowners, agents, shipmasters and of course the outgoing pilots themselves voiced great concerns as to the safety of shipping navigating the Humber with the new relatively inexperienced pilots in charge and argued that with the short training period they received (compared to theirs) they should never be allowed to take charge of any vessel on that river. The new pilots maintained that this was scaremongering and they were just trying to safeguard their jobs after a monopoly of two hundred years. I have talked to old pilots employed by the 'Humber Conservancy Board' and the new ABP pilots and can see both sides of the argument. One thing I would really like to know though. Has there been any marked increase in incidents on the River Humber since the new regime took over?
Ray Jordan

John Cassels
10th June 2007, 15:39
Thought about getting involved in this thread ; but in retrospect , Hague has
said it all. We all thought that our P & I paid for the new Antwerp lock many
times over the number of times our conbulkers were bounced off the knuckles
while entering . And , yes , in record time the claims and invoices came flooding in. It's almost like they were waiting for an accident to happen.
And Tom , these are large modern locks as you know.

And John , STCW '95. Don't worry about the fan mail , you are assured of mine.

Tom S
10th June 2007, 16:08
John
Bigger locks,bigger ships,bigger damage it still comes down to the same thing if a Shipowner builds a ship to trade in Northern Europe he must look at the manouvering capabilities of his vessels. Look at the other end of the spectrum look at the very Large Stena DSV Vessels and your anchor handling vessels they are a joy to watch coming in and out of Port they are designed for slow speed manouvering and rarely cause damage.
Ship handling and Port Operation is a different cup of teas these days,a few years ago a new act came in to operation called the Port Marine Safety Code
and it supercedes everything wether you like it or not every aspect of Port operation and pilotage comes under the code and for every aspect a risk assessment must be carried out and written into an operation manual. You cant even go to the toilet without a risk assessment being carried out. I am glad I have now retired,
Pilots are well trained professionals,the majority have been in command and on entering the pilotage service have had to undergo months of practical training and ship simulator training. They are on the job every day and have intimate knowlege of the ares they operate in which no Shipmaster could possibly have unless he is a regular trader in which case he could apply for a license. Yes accidents do happen but more often than not it is due to a problem outwith his control.
TomS

johnalderman
10th June 2007, 16:09
Aye we are all experts at doing someone else's job.

Tom S
10th June 2007, 16:21
Aye we are all experts at doing someone else's job.

Uncalled for I do have the experience to comment on this subject having been involved in Port Management for the the last 25yrs
TomS

johnalderman
10th June 2007, 16:39
Sorry Tom I was not meaning you at all.

Tom S
10th June 2007, 16:49
Jack
just me getting sensitive in my old age
Tom

johnalderman
10th June 2007, 16:58
Many years ago I was talking to a Manchester ship canal pilot, he told me the tale of some regular runners to his district that always employed a pilot and one tug, one day the owners said for the next six months we will not employ the tug, the pilots said the tug was necessary but the owners insisted. After six months they worked out it was cheaper for them to take the increase in insurance premiums due to extra damage than employ the tug, simple, but it didn't do the pilots health much good.

Tom S
10th June 2007, 17:06
Jack
You have hit the nail right on the head"How much does it cost"
Tugs cost money,Bowthrusters cost money,Lovely big roller fenders at the Lock Entrance cost money,
STCW 95 doesnt give the required training
TomS

Ventry
10th June 2007, 21:34
"Bridge Team Management", "Safety Management System", "onboard integration", all these wonderful buzzwords phrases, and they all make my skin crawl.
Whatever happened to just "doing your job"?
Still, that's perhaps an old fashioned viewpoint.
I tend to find the Pilotage Act to be a bit of an enigma - particularly in ports where Pilotage is compulsory. In my humble opinion if Pilotage is to be compulsory then the local regs should be modelled on that in Panama - if the Pilot has the con then the Pilotage authority and himself carry the can and cover the insurance.

If only!

Geoff Garrett
11th June 2007, 01:48
Winston Churchill once said, " The man that has not made a mistake has not made anything"

Well he would've said that would'nt he!

NZSCOTTY
11th June 2007, 07:38
Well Ventry you have really got everone going here!! Each to their corner and defend themself. (pilots v Master). I am in the fortunate position of being both!

My comment would be that the problem the master has is that if the pilot makes a #### up the legal side when it takes over will lay most of the blame on the master.

There are arrogant masteres and pilots and you can get clashes at any time. Maybe if we all stay professional some of this may be avoided. But please everybody remember the Master is in command.

Corrientes
11th June 2007, 08:00
And I think that is what many Pilots forget!

LEEJ
11th June 2007, 14:08
Agent: Pilot, why have you ordered 2 tugs !!

Pilot: Because I can do it without the third.

RayJordandpo
11th June 2007, 14:15
I went full ahead. I went full astern. I went hard a starborad, then WE hit the quay

Cap'n Pete
11th June 2007, 14:41
I have been arrested twice by the USCG, both times as a result of pilot error. Pilots are only human and make mistakes like the rest of us. However, when an accident is a result of "negligence" on the part of the pilot, particularly if the error is not one the master could have foreseen (don't worry Captain, they dredged outside this channel buoy last week, so there's plenty of water) then it should not befall the master alone to accept full commercial and criminal responsibility.

Pilots are licensed by the state and/or local port authority. Any negligence proven against them does imply, therefore, that the local authority which granted him the right to offer his services would be liable for his actions if these were not statutorily placed against the master.

Please find under an article I wrote for Fairplay.

Pillock pilots pilloried

His affectionately given nickname was Hardaporto. He was Lamport & Holt Line’s pilot on the Rio Grande de Sol and picked up the name because, whenever he arrived on the bridge, he ordered “hard a’ port”.

Unfortunately, one day it went horribly wrong. A ship turned abruptly and ran over a tug making fast under the bow. Four of its five crewmen were killed.

The Brazilian government inquiry blamed the ship’s master for going too fast, yet the ship was making little more than steerage way at the time.

Except in special areas, such as the Panama Canal, the master retains the ultimate responsibility for his ship’s safety. The pilot’s primary duty is to provide accurate information to ensure safe navigation. But in practice, the pilot will often con the ship on the master’s behalf.

The master’s liability is enshrined in the STCW 95 Code, which states that the pilot’s “presence on board does not relieve the master or officer in charge of the navigational watch from their duties and obligations for the safety of the ship”.

Pilots were Britain’s first ‘closed shop’. The master of a visiting ship was compelled to employ any licensed pilot who offered his services. But to quote from the Admiralty Law of 1685, the pilot was clearly responsible for navigating the ship:

Touching such false and treacherous pilots, the judgement is that they ought to suffer a most rigorous and unmerciful death, for there ought to be very high gibbets erected for them in the very same place, or as nigh as conveniently may be, where they so guided and wrought said ship or vessel to ruin as aforesaid, and thereon these accursed pilots are with ignominy and most shamefully to end their days; which said gibbets are to made substantially strong, to the intent that they may abide and remain for succeeding ages on that place as a visible caution to other ships.

If the pilot undertaking the conduct of the vessel, bring her into any port, fail of his duty therein, so as the vessel miscarry by reason of his ignorance, in what he undertook, and the merchants sustain damage thereby, he is obliged to make full satisfaction for the same, if he hath wherewithall. And if not be able to make satisfaction, he ought to lose his head. And if In that case the Master or any of the mariners, or the merchants, cut off his head, they are not bound to answer for it. But yet before they do this, they ought to know whether he hath wherewithall to make satisfaction.

About four centuries later, the Pilotage Act of 1987 provides that “in circumstances in which pilotage is compulsory … shall not affect any liability of the owner or master of the ship for any loss or damage caused by the ship or the manner in which it is navigated”.

Why the sudden shift? The answer might be the huge costs that often now result from a marine casualty. When caused by a pilot’s negligence, the government or the regulators that issued his licence and made his services compulsory could pay the bill – unless, of course, they had legislated against such liability.

Many shipowners see deregulation as a means of ending the monopoly of authorities who charge exorbitant pilotage fees. Some captains favour a voluntary system based on risk assessment to replace compulsory pilotage.

A captain who had to carry the can for pilot negligence was forthright: “Negligent pilots should be hung from the yard-arm!” he declared.

Captain Peter Newton




.

Cap'n Pete
11th June 2007, 14:52
Please note the above is of historical interest only and not meant as a reflection on pilots in general, most of whom do a difficult job.

Anchorman
11th June 2007, 15:03
Agent: Pilot, why have you ordered 2 tugs !!

Pilot: Because I can do it without the third.

I remember a simular story about a ferry master who when asked by the office why he had taken 3 tugs after docking in a storm. He replied because a fourth was not available.
(Sorry not part of the thread topic)

Steve Woodward
11th June 2007, 15:32
Dave Edge's comments are absolutely correct, a pilot is a supplement to the bridge team - the man with local knowledge, tides currents depths ect and the team should conduct the vessel safely to her berth with the Master in charge of his vessel. With the team functioning correctly a pilot error or developing dangerous situation should be detected and corrected.
However on a few ships the arrival of the pilot is the sign for all to switch off, assuming they ever switched on in the first place, I have fond memories of a ships crew being entirely laid back about an engine failure, fortunately being a fair sized ship four tugs were made fast and when someone arrived to tell me proudly all was working we were already alongside and in position - a fact not noticed on board, this case was an exception and most ships are well run regardless of nationality of their crews.
In this perfect world there is good and bad but a slagging match will not improve things, if a ship master has a bad pilot then he should not take his eyes off him - an order for full sea speed with two inches UKC does not have to be obeyed!

Docking bottles ?? I would never ask for one and dont expect one and in any case 99.99999% of ships are dry these days and have my sympathies

Tom S
11th June 2007, 15:59
Please note the above is of historical interest only and not meant as a reflection on pilots in general, most of whom do a difficult job.
Cap`n Pete
I do agree with you I have come across "Gung Ho" Pilots in my time at sea and working in the Ports and regret that USCG see reason to arrest the Master for obvious Pilot Error. However I do not feel that would happen in the UK unless the master was proved to obviously incompetent if that were the case then legal action would be justified.
We now live in the age of political correctness and whist not always agreeing with it I feel that some good things have come about because of it. One of those is the Port Marine Safety Code which lays out clearly the responsibilities of the Port Authorities and makes the Directors of the Port Authorities clearly responsible for the actions of the people it employs such as Harbourmasters and Pilots and if it doesnt employ the Pilots responsible for their Licensing and Training.
Under the Code the Master as always remains at all time responsible for the safety and safe navigation of his vessel but it also ensures that the Port Authority must insure the master is given all the information for the safe navigation of the vessel within its area. It also lays a responsibility on the Pilot so that when he boards a vessel a passage plan is fully discussed between the Master and the Pilot and once discussed confirmation is given to the Port Authority. Which should mean the Master is fully aware of all the navigation information for the passage he is about to undertake.
I know this is all a bit long winded but the point I am coming to is that should a mishap occur during the passage and it proves to be the fault of the Pilot or the Port Authority then the Shipowner would be in his right to take action against the Port Authority. Now as far as I know this has never happened except in the case of the Sea Empress but I am sure it will happen one day.
The code is a good thing I know many wont agree but it makes the Port Authority and the Pilots more accountable for their actions and that never happened before.
The quality and standard of pilot in the ares I was involved with was really good and they were at all times heavily involved in the Safety of the Ports and River
TomS

jazz606
11th June 2007, 16:31
I was on a ship where the Old Man went down to his cabin and got a cold can of beer (Tiger I think). He then gave it to the pilot and told him to go up to the monkey island and drink it whilst he (the master) finished ther job off properly.

johnalderman
11th June 2007, 17:03
Aye, strange it must be, all ships masters are brilliant seamen and ship handlers then for some strange reason when they are promoted to pilot they suddenly become incompetent, I hope most readers are having a laugh at this thread.

Tom S
11th June 2007, 17:13
Peter
No need for deregulation if you are a regular Trader you can apply for an exemption and do it yourself,many ships do. The pilotage act is there to protect the Ship the Harbour and the Community that lives around the area
TomS

Tony Crompton
11th June 2007, 17:16
Very true John. You do not have to be a Pilot very long before you realise that everyone can handle a ship better than you. Harbour Officials (usually styling themselves "Captain"). Tug Skippoers, Line handlers, Jetty Operators,
Agents Runners, Dockers, Stevedores,Shipping "Enthusiasts", Taxi Drivers, etc.etc. All could have done that manoeuvre better than you!!
---------------------------------
Tony C

Charlie_Wood
11th June 2007, 17:37
I can't resist this thread any longer:) I've been both poacher and gamekeeper with 7 years in command before the last 18 as pilot. The P&I clubs are being disingenuous in their "pilot error" campaign. It should be titled "ships hit things more often when there's something to hit and ground when the water's shallower", self evident to most experienced mariners. If you actually examine the statistics of the number of incidents compared to the number of pilotage acts carried out it's not unreasonable. And remember that includes all the other factors as well as pilot error.

Of course the P&I clubs would love to shift some of the cost of their claims onto the ports, but as I pointed out to a director of Union Transport many years ago if he was happy to pay two insurance premiums for his vessel then fine, because there's only one place the cost of that second level of insurance would end up...on the pilotage rates.

Pilot mac
11th June 2007, 19:43
Charlie, well said. I love that old chestnut that 'ships hit things more often when theres something to hit and ground when the waters shallower' ,it would take a consultant to come up with this amazing stat.

regards
Dave

Corrientes
11th June 2007, 20:18
Johnalderman,
I am new to this site as inspection of my profile will reveal. However, I have followed this thread with great interest but I find your inputs somewhat irritating as they are totally meaningless and of no help to others who are carrying out serious debate. Thank you.

Cap'n Pete
11th June 2007, 20:24
Peter
No need for deregulation if you are a regular Trader you can apply for an exemption and do it yourself,many ships do. The pilotage act is there to protect the Ship the Harbour and the Community that lives around the area
TomS

My ship trades between China and the USA - I'm afraid niether the Chinese or the Americans are in favour of handing out pilotabe exemptions.

The biggest problem with pilotage these days, is an inability to understand the pilot when he is talking to the tugs or to the VTIS or others in his own language. Also, many pilots in the Far East and elsewhere do not have sufficient English to undertake a proper pilot/master information exchange.

I have to say pilots in the USA are excellent. Most of them have only limited experience at sea, if at all, yet they spend many years perfecting their trade and are very good at it.

Other pilotages are a joke and nothing more than robbery - Osaka Bay pilots for instance - 39 miles of pilotage with just one alteration of course! A first trip cadet could do it blindfold.

Tom S
11th June 2007, 20:41
Point taken Peter and I do agree with you, my first few years in Command I spent on the American Coast and I do agree some of their Pilots are very good especially the Harbour Pilots where they serve their time on the Tugs before being let loose on Ships.
Good sailing and thanks for the debate I have enjoyed it even although I agree with Charlie Wood and feel it has been P&I club generated.
Good luck
TomS

Cap'n Pete
11th June 2007, 20:43
Aye, strange it must be, all ships masters are brilliant seamen and ship handlers then for some strange reason when they are promoted to pilot they suddenly become incompetent, I hope most readers are having a laugh at this thread.

I have to question your assertion that ships masters are "promoted" to pilot. I know some seafarers set out to become pilots before they ever step foot on a ship (Liverpool springs to mind) and logically they can congratulate themselves when they fulfil their ambition. However, most masters who go ashore to become pilots do so because for reasons I suspect have nothing to do with being "promoted".

Hague
11th June 2007, 20:52
You have just got there before me Peter.

Ventry
11th June 2007, 21:06
Recall being up for Master's in Byrom St in 69. Heard about a trainee Liverpool Pilot up for Second Mates. Understand he was the first ever to acquire a Foreign Going Certificate. Previously, all had Mate (HT). Haven't a clue about their training requirements.

Peter4447
11th June 2007, 21:17
My experience of Pilots is strictly limited to several who I know as friends on dry land and I am finding this thread very educational indeed. My understanding has always been that Pilots should have served as a Master but this is clearly not the case. One thing that has always puzzled me, however, is the wearing of uniform by Pilots as some reefer jackets that I have seen worn by them have clearly had the rank insignia removed from the cuffs. I have enquired about this and was told that Pilots do not wear insignia because if they did so, they might arrive on the bridge of a ship they were going to pilot and find they were "senior" to the Master. I have always found this a very strange reason so I would be grateful if one of our members could kindly clarify if there is any truth in this 'point of etiquette' for me.
Many thanks
Peter4447(Thumb)

Geoff Garrett
11th June 2007, 22:08
I think you could have what we up in the North would call, "A chip on your shoulder", Another North saying is that we should, "Clear the mess off our own doorstep before we start on someone elses".
I have no intention of "Master Bashing" or bashing anyone else. So I will take my leave of this thread and not return to it.

Peter.

Well Ventry,
You've opened up a real can of worms here have'nt ya?

Hague
11th June 2007, 22:28
Peter,
It's really very simple. The Pilot's position on board is to offer advice based on his local knowledge. At no time is he 'superior'/'senior' to the Master.
Now, as for the dress. You may, by way of example, visit ports in the UAE where the Pilots have 'four rings' and an Arab Dhow plus a Star for each two years of service up to a max of five (Harbour Master only). Three cornered hats are not yet in vogue. Intake is 2nd Mate/Ch.Mate ex AMPTC or KOTC etc,. There are presently no Pilots, repeat, no Pilots within the Jebel Dhanna/Ruwais/Das/Zirku district who have held command. I have examined the Competence Assurance of that district available to Ship Managers for Insurance rating purposes.
NB: Transparency requirement of the Port Marine Safety Code.

NZSCOTTY
11th June 2007, 22:41
In NZ there would be a large minority of Pilots who have previously sailed as Master.
The problem which really arrises in the Master/Pilot exchange is the differing quality of master/pilot.
You can talk about BRM till you are blue in the face when dealing with some "foreign" masters. They have never heard of it. You have masters who do not trust a young fresh faced pilot. You have the passenger ships where the master will do the majority of berthings.
A relationship of mutual trust must take place within minutes of meeting each other and this is difficult to say the least.
All in all a difficult job for both but my experience would tend to say that the pilot should remember he is that and be a little less demanding when he boards the vessel.

James_C
11th June 2007, 23:12
Peter,
As Hague has mentioned, some Pilots do wear rank insignia. I've seen it where the 'Junior' Pilots wear 3 strips and the 'Senior' Pilots wear 4.
I even saw this in Australia in 2002, which surprised me. We had two Pilots aboard that time; the old hand and the trainee. The Old Boy wore 4 bars, the trainee 3.

Dave Edge
11th June 2007, 23:46
The question of liability for damage when under compulsory pilotage is something of a hardy annual for P & I Clubs. There was a time when, if a vessel was lost due to the neglect of the pilot the crew could find redress by hanging the unfortunate pilot from the yardarm, but that might be considered a tad excessive these days.
Interestingly, when compulsory pilot districts were introduced in Britain the pilotage authority was liable for damage caused through the pilot's neglect, which is the situation some are advocating a return to. It appears that under this system the greatest benefit accrued to lawyers as virtually any incident could be the subject of lengthly litigation, with each act of pilotage a potential legal minefield. The Pilotage Act of 1913, which came into force in 1918, was introduced to clarify the situation and abolished the defence of compulsory pilotage. This is more or less the situation we are in today.

NZSCOTTY
12th June 2007, 08:06
Looks like this thread has run out of steam!! Have all the Masters and pilots rubbished each other enough?

As old Robert Burns said "to see ourselves as others see us" may bring you all down to earth.

last thought :- there are more prima dona pilots than masters.

Hague
12th June 2007, 08:15
NZSCOTTY,

last thought :- there are more prima dona pilots than masters.

That is probably very true and more so in the case of those that did not stay and obtain command themselves but see themselves in the Pilotage role of attaining what otherwise eluded them.

Cap'n Pete
12th June 2007, 08:33
The only country I know where the pilots regularly wear uniforms with rank insignia is China.

Pilots in New Zealand and some UK ports did on occasion, but the practice has largely disappeared in South America, Europe, the former Soviet Union and elsewhere. Pilots in the USA have never, to my knowledge, ever worn a uniform.

I've normally found that uniforms are often worn in those countries where two pilots are normally assigned to a ship. This is very helpful to the master in that you know straight off who is the senior pilot.

Cap'n Pete
12th June 2007, 08:35
Just as a matter of interest, there is only one Panama Canal pilot who wears a uniform. He is the senior pilot and has long campaigned for his colleagues to wear uniform; however, it's now been many years while he has fought his battle alone.

Suez Pilots still wear a uniform. They normally point to the number of stripes on their shoulder to indicate how many cartons of Marlboro they are "entitled" to.

Tom S
12th June 2007, 08:37
In the UK the grounding of the "Sea Empress" at Milford Haven changed and made clearer the responsibilities of Harbour Authorities and Pilots
TomS

Corrientes
12th June 2007, 08:45
Good morning all,
That was an interesting thread despite the 'invective' hurled at Capt Ventry at the early part of the thread.I suspect the authors of such posts are somewhat dismayed at the way the thread has evolved once raised out the the personal quagmire. In this respect the 'last thoughts' by NZ Scotty were appropriate.
My own thoughts are that ' A masters's initial relationship with the Pilot was important. The Pilot was there to offer local knowledge and that was it. The Master/Pilot relationship was 'strictly business' and I left them all in no doubt who was in charge. Helmsmen, officers always seeked 'eye contact approval' from me before executing a Pilot 'request'.
I never had a problem.
I knew plenty who did.

Hague
12th June 2007, 08:56
Tom S,
That was made clear in one of my earlier posts.

johnalderman
12th June 2007, 11:02
Aye, well there you go, its not my fault if you dont understand my point Corrientes and as for promotion I picked my words well, further I doubt you will find many, nay any, Liverpool pilots with a home trade ticket these days, is there such a thing today?

johnalderman
12th June 2007, 11:07
I find it rather insulting that some people on here seem to think that Pilots are more interested in a docking bottle or a carton of cigarettes than the safety of the ship. Most Uk pilots earn far more than the masters of the ships they pilot and don't need hand outs.

Dick S
12th June 2007, 11:11
Hi,
A mute point but perhaps important. When I first was being instructed on how to write the Bridge movement book and Deck Log I was instructed by the 3rd Officer to write Var TMO for courses when the captain took the Con. Meaning To Master's Orders.
When a pilot was on Board TPA was added meaning To Pilots Advice. NOT Approval

Ring anyones Bell?
Dick

methc
12th June 2007, 11:17
In the UK the grounding of the "Sea Empress" at Milford Haven changed and made clearer the responsibilities of Harbour Authorities and Pilots
TomS
Unfortunately, the position of a Master in a Compulsory Pilotage area in the UK is ambiguous, to say the least.I am no legal authority, only a retired pilot of 34 years experience, but I was made aware by my employer that my position had changed following the implementation of the Pilotage Act in 1988. For example.There is a supposedly definitive case where a PLA pilot was deemed, by a Judge, to be an employee of the Master the moment he set foot on the ladder. This judgement was made to avoid the PLA being held responsible for the training and hence competence of pilots. On the other hand, I know of an incident where the Master over-ruled the pilot, got into difficulties and was ordered by the Harbour Master to "hand over control of his vessel to my pilot". In my own case, I had to threaten to go back ashore before the Master of a Dutch coaster would employ a small motor boat as a tug in order to sail from a berth with an on-setting ebb current.It is a very certain or arrogant Master who over-rules a pilot. The point about establishing a relationship right at the beginning is very relevant. In Jeddah, as I have experienced, the pilots were most definitely in command, especially that guy, the son of the Chief Pilot who used to direct the vessel seated on a stool on the bridge wing. His orders, on a large vessel, had to be relayed into the wheelhouse. He would never move from his chosen spot.
On a lighter note, one of the master of an Elder Dempster vessel was under the pilotage of a Nigerian delta river "advisor" proceeding to Warri or Sapele, I forget which, suspected that deeper water could be found elsewhere, ordered a change of course and to confirm ran the echo sounder. On informing the pilot that the river was deeper to starboard the pilot thanked the Captain for this new information. The pilot stated that his knowledge came from his father and HIS father had been trained by HIS father so he was grateful for this new information and would pass it on in his turn. Touching the bottom was the usual way of finding that the old course was incorrect. I am sure that many stories similar and more accurate could be related by ex-EDs masters. How about it?

Hague
12th June 2007, 11:46
Johnalderman,
The posts have been very interesting of late only to be interrupted by your 'ramblings' AGAIN. Why don't you 'drop' the docking bottle as it is not important and not relevant . By the way, in the 60 no Liverpool Pilots had FG certs. The only reason they have STCW Class I now is chance rather than design.
I will expand in great detail if required.

Ventry
12th June 2007, 11:55
Hague,
Very kind but, I ignore people when they get rude. It has no place in this forum. I will say that the posts were improving.

johnalderman
12th June 2007, 12:06
I'm sorry if you find anything I have said rude, it was not meant in this way, as for Liverpool pilots in the 1960s, that was more than 40 years ago, in the days of pilot apprenticeships when the system made it almost impossible for a pilot apprentice to gain more than a home trade mates ticket before being called back to the pilotage service, things have moved on.

Charlie_Wood
12th June 2007, 12:09
Although I'm reluctant to, in case of being seen as blowing smoke up my own backside, I'll make a further response which I hope may add some clarity and not muddy the waters. I stress I can only talk about the UK.

The pilot is defined in The Pilotage Act of 1987 (and originally the 1894 Merchant Shipping Act) as "any person belonging to the ship who has the conduct thereof". The Act is also quite specific about who's in charge in compulsory pilotage areas :

"(2) If any ship is not under pilotage as required by subsection (1) above after an authorised pilot has offered to take charge of the ship, the master of the ship shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale."

The "Cavendish" case quite clearly set legal precedent that the pilot was the servant of the shipowner and not the port authority and despite a fair few challenges that remains the case.

It's not only the Master who can go to jail though:

" 21. —(1) If the pilot of a ship—
(a) does any act which causes or is likely to cause the loss or destruction of, or serious damage to, the ship or its machinery, navigational equipment or safety equipment, or the death of, or serious injury to, a person on board the ship; or
(b) omits to do anything required to preserve the ship or its machinery, navigational equipment or safety equipment from loss, destruction or serious damage or to preserve any person on board the ship from death or serious injury,
and the act or omission is deliberate or amounts to a breach or neglect of duty or he is under the influence of drink or a drug at the time of the act or omission, he shall be guilty of an offence.

(2) A person who is guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—
(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both; or
(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or a fine or both."

Despite the legislation being pretty clear the government tried to tie up all the loose ends after the Sea Empress grounding with The Port Marine Safety Code and encouraged Competent Harbour Authorities to employ their pilots rather than engage them as self employed under contracts of service. The MAIB have muddied the waters recently with their report into the Samskip Courier/Skagern collision on the Humber (Ray Jordan referred to the situation on the Humber earlier) when they stressed that the pilot was only there to assist the Master. Whilst this may be a convenient assumption it has no basis in law.

All the above may seem tedious in the extreme to most of you but I felt it important that the facts were presented.

In reality (and a lot of these points have been well made in this thread) it is in both the Master and the Pilot's best interests that the adventure is completed successfully. It is important that an immediate positive relationship is established between the Master and Pilot as soon as he arrives on the bridge. It is beholden for the pilot to brief the Master as fully as possible on his intentions for the passage and for the Master to respond similarly about his vessel. I can only speak for myself but if both are courteous as well as professional there's a lot better scope for things to go well. We are fortunate in Fowey in having a lot of regular traders who let us handle their ships for the full passage and berthing, whilst telling us that it's the only port they allow the pilot to handle their ship (I bet they say that to all the boys:)). If I think the Master is looking anxious, I'll always ask him if he wants to put the vesssel alongside himself as it's his ship. My philosophy is that every Master should be able to handle his ship better than I but I can competently handle every ship that arrives at our ports. Experience has taught me that the first part of the previous sentance is not necessarily true!!

As a final note I haven't done x thousand manouveres without denting the occasional (very occasional:sweat:) bit of steel and I can assure you all I don't swan off down the gangway without a backward glance, I spend a lot of time soul searching. I know the pilot that was on the Sea Empress very well and have great admiration for his strength of character in continuing his career, but it's not what I could, or would, have done.

Cap'n Pete
12th June 2007, 12:42
The pilotage acts amount to setting a monolopy which in this day and age, is unreasonable and unrealistic.

A pilot should be licensed but anybody so qualified should be able to offer his services freelance at a competative rate and ships should not be required to take a pilot employed by the port authority or the private company authorised by the port authority. This is what fair competition is all about. If you employ an electrician or any other tradesman in the UK, you do not have to employ the one appointed by your local council - why should things be different at sea?

De-regulation of pilot services is long overdue. Some pilots now earn in excess of 1 million dollars a year and even in the UK their salaries are well in excess of that received by the vast majority of masters visiting our ports.

Australia and New Zealand have already moved towards de-regulation of pilot services. It is high time this started in the UK. However, there are too many vested interests at work ashore in the UK and not enough attention paid to the valid concerns of shipowners and masters.

Greedy port authories must be made to realise that their actions in increasing the shipowners costs only serve to push down seafarers wages, as that is the only expense the shipowners is able to control.

Hague
12th June 2007, 13:00
Jack,
I am aware of what you say as I have enjoyed many a pint in 'The Moby Dick' etc, and befriended many Pilots mostly retired.
However, let engage in good, healthy nautical debate

Charlie_Wood
12th June 2007, 13:43
The pilotage acts amount to setting a monolopy which in this day and age, is unreasonable and unrealistic.

A pilot should be licensed but anybody so qualified should be able to offer his services freelance at a competative rate and ships should not be required to take a pilot employed by the port authority or the private company authorised by the port authority. This is what fair competition is all about. If you employ an electrician or any other tradesman in the UK, you do not have to employ the one appointed by your local council - why should things be different at sea?

De-regulation of pilot services is long overdue. Some pilots now earn in excess of 1 million dollars a year and even in the UK their salaries are well in excess of that received by the vast majority of masters visiting our ports.

Australia and New Zealand have already moved towards de-regulation of pilot services. It is high time this started in the UK. However, there are too many vested interests at work ashore in the UK and not enough attention paid to the valid concerns of shipowners and masters.

Greedy port authories must be made to realise that their actions in increasing the shipowners costs only serve to push down seafarers wages, as that is the only expense the shipowners is able to control.

Peter, you articulate the views of many, not least in Government departments. The 1987 Act came about due to Maggies willingness to lay into this gentlemens club of idle shirkers!! It achieved some of her objectives by cutting the numbers of pilots in the UK by some 50%, their redundancies/ill health retirements being paid for out of our pension fund which is feeling the full effects of that decision now. It was, however, to some degree a shoulder sloping exercise to devolve the responsibilities onto the ports, responsibilities they have tried to further codify with the Port Marine Safety Code. The Government has never found the parliamentry time to actually put this Code of Practice into law as it would lead to a new Pilotage Act. This would lead to a whole new can of worms, can you imagine the flak if a government sponsored deregulation led to another Sea Empress. That's not just a fanciful scenario either as the situation on the Humber continues to show. There, ABP with the undoubted collusion of the Department of Transport replaced 180 pilots virtually overnight. The salient point from the MAIB inquiry into the Samskip Courier/Skagern collision that I refered to earlier was that the pilots were arranging how they would pass each other on their mobile phones. FFS.

I've no time for this us and them argument, I'm a seaman first and foremost who considers myself extremely lucky to have fallen into an enjoyable, well rewarded and satisfying job that lets me have my life at home with my family yet allows me to spend my working time amongst my own kind. The reason I frequent this site is for all the happy memories that are rekindled of the glory days of the Red Ensign. I always remember my father telling me of the sign in the butchers shop window in Cardiff in the 1930's "condemned meat suitable for animal feed or ships stores" and marvelled how far we had come by the mid 70's, I wonder if we didn't fight hard enough at the time to preserve that way of life for as long as possible. I will do my utmost to protect this way of life for myself and those who come after me.

Tom S
12th June 2007, 14:22
The pilotage acts amount to setting a monolopy which in this day and age, is unreasonable and unrealistic.

A pilot should be licensed but anybody so qualified should be able to offer his services freelance at a competative rate and ships should not be required to take a pilot employed by the port authority or the private company authorised by the port authority. This is what fair competition is all about. If you employ an electrician or any other tradesman in the UK, you do not have to employ the one appointed by your local council - why should things be different at sea?

De-regulation of pilot services is long overdue. Some pilots now earn in excess of 1 million dollars a year and even in the UK their salaries are well in excess of that received by the vast majority of masters visiting our ports.

Australia and New Zealand have already moved towards de-regulation of pilot services. It is high time this started in the UK. However, there are too many vested interests at work ashore in the UK and not enough attention paid to the valid concerns of shipowners and masters.

Greedy port authories must be made to realise that their actions in increasing the shipowners costs only serve to push down seafarers wages, as that is the only expense the shipowners is able to control.
Peter
Not all Port Authorities employ their own Pilots like the Humber the Company I worked for Forth Ports they administer the Pilotage but they all employed by their own Management Company the Pilotage fees went directly to the Pilots less an Administration fee and the Port received the Boarding and Landing Fees as they operated the Pilot Stations and Pilot Boats,believe it or not there wasnt all that much in it for the Port. It is a fallacy that Port Companies in the UK make large amounts of cash there is too much competition around chasing an ever decreasing amount of cargo tonnage.In my old Port of Leith in 2003 one acre of land would raise £2000 per annum from stevedoring whereas use the land for property and you would raise £5million pounds per acre that is why 70%of the port has been handed over to Property and it will be closed for commercial traffic apart from cruise liners within the next 10 years resulting in numerous job losses within the Port,
Shipping is an expensive business and with all the new legislation Ports are costly to operate that is why so many Ports have been handed over to Property Development the Shareholders want a quick return on their investment.
It really grieves me to see it go this way as these Ports are part of our Heritage but the sad truth is there are too many Ports in the Uk to-day
TomS

Tom S
12th June 2007, 14:44
An interesting story about Pilotage a good few years ago I was in charge of a few small Ports one of them is very close to the north Sea and could be quite badly affected by E`Ly swell. The Port is quite old the breakwaters being constructed of granite and the entrance 50ft wide.
At this particular time the pilots were undergoing training for a universal License for the area and they had to do so many turns into each port to qualify.
On the day in question a small ship carrying fertiliser was due at the Port there was a strong E`ly swell running but the Pilot a very Senior One decided it was okay for to bring him in. The Master was informed and the Pilot went out to board her boy was he surprised when seven pilots boarded him he had the Senior Pilot and the other six were doing their turns. As the ship passed the Breakwater she was picked up by the swell and hit the breakwater and lighthouse at the entrance. The ship suffered severe damage and had to stay in Port for several weeks undergoing repair.
The Master was held responsible for the damage.
TomS

Ventry
12th June 2007, 19:30
Gentlemen,

This marks the 100th post on this thread and maybe its time to move on.
Thanks for 'the fan mail'. I enjoyed the 'craic'.


Brgds

Jim Bruic

Hugh Ferguson
12th June 2007, 19:41
For what it is worth, in my era, 1959/80, on the long jag from Dungeness to Gravesend, a majority of masters took the opportunity of getting their heads down. Even in passenger ships this was commonplace. Fog, as you might expect, often, but not in every case was an exception to this practice:and I wasn't even a "selected" pilot!

reefpilot
12th June 2007, 20:09
In fair weather every man is a pilot

Hague
12th June 2007, 20:36
Hugh,
I recall taking a Hutchinson Pilot in Brixham in November 77 for Immingham and being exhausted after enduring fog in North Biscay was expecting to do similar. Problem being the Pilot was 'drunk' and it was 'Basurelle' before he was considered fit enough to be allowed back on bridge.

Charlie_Wood
13th June 2007, 00:39
Hugh,
I recall taking a Hutchinson Pilot in Brixham in November 77 for Immingham and being exhausted after enduring fog in North Biscay was expecting to do similar. Problem being the Pilot was 'drunk' and it was 'Basurelle' before he was considered fit enough to be allowed back on bridge.

Just to round things off with a degree of symmetry. At nigh on exactly the same time as the above, as a wet behind the ears mate, we used to pick our Felixstowe pilot up at Brixham, in case of bad weather at The Sunk. He was deep sea licenced and used to lend a hand going up the channel whilst the Old Man finished off his paperwork. One night we ran into fog and I couldn't find either of them until they were tracked down partying hard in one of the stewardesses cabins, ah the good old days.

The skipper was only a young chap but already had his extras and went on to a fine career in ship management(Thumb)

jimmyjenk
13th June 2007, 06:21
I can't agree with the statement that pilots earn more money than masters, there was a pilot in Aberdeen that was so poor, he had to take in laundry.
I have never heard of any skipper handing over a docking bottle in Aberdeen. The correct procedure was to take it to the Roundhouse at New Year. So you would get a decent berth every time you were in.
Charlie - poacher turned gamekeeper ? I've always had you down as a pheasant plucker.

Cap'n Pete
13th June 2007, 08:34
Gentlemen,

This marks the 100th post on this thread and maybe its time to move on.
Thanks for 'the fan mail'. I enjoyed the 'craic'.


Brgds

Jim Bruic

This is one of the most interesting threads yet on to appear on SN and has attracted the comments of many masters, pilots and others who make have made well defined and intelligent comments, without recourse to mud-slinging.

The interaction between masters and pilots is of the utmost importance in the safe navigation of the ship. However, the finer points of the legalities and other factors are ones that cannot normally be discusssed during busy pilotages. Therefore, the opportunity to discuss these at length within SN are a welcome opportunity.

Please do not attempt to stifle discussion of this very important subject which is, I am sure, of interest even to all those who do not stand on a bridge to earn their daily bread.

Cap'n Pete
13th June 2007, 08:49
I can't agree with the statement that pilots earn more money than masters, there was a pilot in Aberdeen that was so poor, he had to take in laundry.
I have never heard of any skipper handing over a docking bottle in Aberdeen. The correct procedure was to take it to the Roundhouse at New Year. So you would get a decent berth every time you were in.
Charlie - poacher turned gamekeeper ? I've always had you down as a pheasant plucker.

I'm sorry Jimmy but I'm afraid you're wrong. Pilots on the Houston Ship Canal earn in excess of one million dollars a year, and the average salaries paid in the USA exceed 250,000.00 dollars.

In the UK the salary for a pilot is about the same paid to a British master serving on a British-flag vessel. However, it would be at least 3 times the salary of the average pay received by most masters whose ships enter UK ports.

As a master I do not begrude any pilot from earning a decent salary. What I do object to is when shipowners use the excuse of ever increasing pilotage fees to justify keeping seafarers pay down.

The problem with high pay for pilots is that it encourages good officers to go ashore. One of the biggest problems on British-flag vessels is keeping British officers at sea as they can now often earn better pay ashore. Recently the MAIB were offering 64,000.00 gbp for accident inspectors with master certificates, for example. For a second mate on 26,000.00 with a masters certificate, this is a huge jump in salary with the added incentive that he would get to sleep in his own bed at night.

Only the chief engineer and myself on my British-flag container ship are British. We employ officers from the Far East and Eastern Europe not because they are cheaper but because we cannot retain British officers.

At least your pilot friend in Aberdeen was able to earn extra money taking in washing - this would not be an option for a master.

billyboy
13th June 2007, 09:56
Remember picking up a pilot off Exmouth, quite a senior old gentleman" the skipper obviously knew him well from previous visits to Exmouth. He sent a message to the engine room to say when he rang down full astern to give him all we got (and i did too). He promptly took the wheel and piloted us safetly through the narrow entrance.The next manouver rang down was stop engines.folowed by slow ahead for a few seconds and that was it. when main engines were rang off i came up for a look. Damn narrow entrance! with quite a tide runnng.

Conclusion: this man was worth his weight in gold. really new the tides and handled that ship in the confines of that dock very well indeed. (dare i say better than the skipper could have done it)

johnalderman
13th June 2007, 11:07
The reason you can't keep British officers at sea is the wages they pay these days compared to years ago, £26000 today for a 2nd mate may be good pay if you live elsewhere but it is not a good wage in the UK, you are never going to attract the quality of officer of years ago with that sort of wage, that's why people at sea who can, take the promotion to Pilot and earn decent money.

David Davies
13th June 2007, 15:14
The reason you can't keep British officers at sea is the wages they pay these days compared to years ago, £26000 today for a 2nd mate may be good pay if you live elsewhere but it is not a good wage in the UK, you are never going to attract the quality of officer of years ago with that sort of wage, that's why people at sea who can, take the promotion to Pilot and earn decent money.

British wages were always low. In 1963 I went from cargo ship watch keeping Mate in a liner company working about 12hours a day, 7 days a week to progress chaser and assistant buyer in an engineering and stock holding company working 7 hours a day, 5 days a week with far less responsibility for a higher remuneration and good prospects (I retired as a director) We were all exploited as 16 year olds who wanted to be sailors and after the war there was still a vestige of patriotism in the calling. This is nothing to do with pilotage but if I remember correctly to go down that road one had to spend 6 unpaid months as an apprentice pilot and then only after waiting for a vacancy, the attraction being that you got home more frequently for about the same uncertain pay

johnalderman
13th June 2007, 16:00
The fact remains that the wages paid at sea today are not as good as they were in comparison to thirty years ago, a 2nd mate in the 1970s would be able to support a family and a mortgage on his wages, if as another poster suggests a 2nd mate today would expect to earn £26000 he will not be as well off in the UK as the 2nd mate of 30 years ago.

James_C
13th June 2007, 16:19
Jack,
You are correct, though in most Deepsea companies a 2nd Mate is on circa £30,000 (higher on tankers of course) and a 3rd Mate circa 25. As you say however, although wages have gone up with Inflation, their 'real' value in today's world has gone down significantly.

Corrientes
13th June 2007, 21:56
Johnalderman,
What is it with you? Promotion to Pilot!!
I would really like to view you're profile. You sound like an 'angry scouser'

Geoff Garrett
13th June 2007, 22:08
I would really like to view you're profile. You sound like an 'angry scouser'

Probably ex-Blue Flue!

duquesa
13th June 2007, 22:17
Johnalderman, as a retired pilot, I have to agree with Corrientes. One does not become a pilot by promotion. How one does become a pilot and why one should wish to be a member of this much maligned profession, is quite another matter. Your comment may have been a slip of the tongue rather than ignorance and you should be given the benefit of the doubt.

Hague
13th June 2007, 22:57
Johnalderman,
I cannot even begin think that you are serious. This thread took a positive turn some time ago and I think you will not endear yourself to anyone (Ship Master or Pilot) making statements like that. Please read Post No. 107 by Capt Pete.
Let us all talk in a more professional manner.

KIWI
13th June 2007, 22:58
Only an electrician & only connection with any of the foregoing was logging the telegraph movements.The odd bump caused a diversion.Thoroughly enjoying the discussion. Kiwi

Hague
13th June 2007, 23:02
Now,now Geoff Garret behave yourself.

jimmyjenk
13th June 2007, 23:43
In our world, salaries are usually a reflection of the level of responsibilty. It is therefore appropriate that pilots in the UK are on a similar salary as UK flagged masters.
I have never heard of shipping companies citing increasing pilotage costs as the reason for meagre pay offers. I accept it may be a factor, but surely not the salient reason for the long term continuing decline in British officers at sea. The fact we are not training enough cadets to cover the anticipated expansion of British flag ships, let alone to cover the 'natural wastage' of officers leaving the sea to work in shore based occupations, is surely the reason for the lack of available officers.
There is a shortage of British officers for every rank, normally with supply and demand, salaries offered would be increased - not the case, as all of us left know, shipping companies and agencies procure manpower from other sources. Many who are still at sea simply choose the appointment that suits them best, various factors decide their choice. Pilots salaries are a sideshow.

John Baird
14th June 2007, 01:50
Howya Ventry ,
Jim , you should have been coming up the Swilly in the 60, with a coaster . Pilot Errors !! Jaysus , every tide there was a grounding and especially if it was going into a neap period . The oul;d buggers would be wide too , that if they got a night on the mud , down the river , the bond would be open an thy,d get a rake o, free drink . Crafty oul gits. Then there was nothing left for us to buy when she tied up . Now thats what i calL ERROR!! John

Cap'n Pete
14th June 2007, 08:49
Jimmy

Most masters on UK flagged vessels are not British and their salaries would be approximately half the UK national average wage. Are you seriously suggesting that pilots in the UK should be paid a similar sum?

In the shipping industry, salaries do not reflect the level of responsibility but the level of expertise. British masters are still employed on ships by non-British companies because they are able to offer a level of professionalism and experience that the shipowner is willing to pay for.

Shipowners do not pay pilots for responsibility. THEY PAY THEM BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO CHOICE IN THE MATTER – THE LAW REQUIRES THAT THEY USE THEM!!!!!

If shipowners were able to choose their pilots, then they would select those who were best able to navigate their ships into port at a reasonable cost. Pilots with a history of making errors or who did not offer a proper service would be out of a job.

The answer to this is de-regulation. De-regulation of such pilot services as the Great Barrier Reef promote fair competition and a lowering of costs.

LEEJ
14th June 2007, 09:25
Some years ago while negotiating for pilotage payments for having a PEC on the Mersey, the superintendent said to me that all we do is sit infront of the radar! Now thats what the companies think of pilots AND masters. By the way Capt Pete, there is a master in the Steam Packet that collects laundry on the Island!

Pull together comrades.

Cap'n Pete
14th June 2007, 09:39
Some years ago while negotiating for pilotage payments for having a PEC on the Mersey, the superintendent said to me that all we do is sit infront of the radar! Now thats what the companies think of pilots AND masters. By the way Capt Pete, there is a master in the Steam Packet that collects laundry on the Island!

Pull together comrades.

I trade to China. Is there anybody out there who wants to go into partnership? - I'll do the delivery and you undercut the Chinese Laundy.

johnalderman
14th June 2007, 11:52
Aye, but if you need a Class one to be a Master, spend long months away at sea on poor wages and someone comes along and says here's a job ashore on better pay is that not promotion?

Hague
14th June 2007, 12:08
Johnalderman,
That is not promotion. That is what is called an increase in salary. John, I think its high time you you identify yourself as your profile says nothing and I feel, with the greatest respect, you are continually coming out with statement that tell me you have another agenda and distracting the professionals amongst us who are keen on sensible debate. If you have trouble keeping up with the conversation.....................................! .

Peter4447
14th June 2007, 12:11
Back in 1997 I met a gentleman who was a Master with a very well-known British coaster company. He was in command of their newest vessel and like all the ships in the fleet it flew the Red Ensign.

I met up with him a few months later and asked how he was getting on. I was amazed when he said that he had left the coastal company and was sailing deepsea as a Chief Officer with another well-known British company.

The reason he gave to me for making the change was very simple: "I'm earning £ 12,000 a year more now sailing as a Chief Officer than I was when I was sailing as a Master".

Peter4447

johnalderman
14th June 2007, 12:24
I have no problem keeping up with the conversation thank you, I am a retired seafarer who spent all his working life afloat, it saddens me to see the state of the Merchant Navy today deregulation of seafarers has had a detrimental effect on the British seafarer from deck boy to master is the answer to all this deregulation of pilotage as well or is it jealousy.

Ventry
14th June 2007, 12:26
Back in 1997 I met a gentleman who was a Master with a very well-known British coaster company. He was in command of their newest vessel and like all the ships in the fleet it flew the Red Ensign.

I met up with him a few months later and asked how he was getting on. I was amazed when he said that he had left the coastal company and was sailing deepsea as a Chief Officer with another well-known British company.

The reason he gave to me for making the change was very simple: "I'm earning £ 12,000 a year more now sailing as a Chief Officer than I was when I was sailing as a Master".

Peter4447

Peter,

Is that not what one would expect.
Coastal Master's were never on the same salary as their deep sea colleague.
Similarly, Masters in British Flag were on less than the colleagues in FOC.
I left the British Flag in 1970 for more money (as simple and brutal as that) the better conditions and promotion prospects were a bonus. The fact that I was the only 'round eye' on board for the majority of my commands was the price you pay. I have no regrets.

Ventry
14th June 2007, 12:42
I have no problem keeping up with the conversation thank you, I am a retired seafarer who spent all his working life afloat, it saddens me to see the state of the Merchant Navy today deregulation of seafarers has had a detrimental effect on the British seafarer from deck boy to master is the answer to all this deregulation of pilotage as well or is it jealousy.

John,
Just an idea. Why don't you start a new thread on this 'deregulation' of the British Seafarer. I am sure you will get good response.

johnalderman
14th June 2007, 12:47
I'll leave that one to you Ventry you seem better qualified on the subject.

Charlie_Wood
14th June 2007, 14:55
Jimmy

Most masters on UK flagged vessels are not British and their salaries would be approximately half the UK national average wage. Are you seriously suggesting that pilots in the UK should be paid a similar sum?

In the shipping industry, salaries do not reflect the level of responsibility but the level of expertise. British masters are still employed on ships by non-British companies because they are able to offer a level of professionalism and experience that the shipowner is willing to pay for.

Shipowners do not pay pilots for responsibility. THEY PAY THEM BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO CHOICE IN THE MATTER – THE LAW REQUIRES THAT THEY USE THEM!!!!!

If shipowners were able to choose their pilots, then they would select those who were best able to navigate their ships into port at a reasonable cost. Pilots with a history of making errors or who did not offer a proper service would be out of a job.

The answer to this is de-regulation. De-regulation of such pilot services as the Great Barrier Reef promote fair competition and a lowering of costs.

Peter, I feel the need to respond to your last post. Western European seafarers were some of the first people to be affected by, the now familiar, globalisation. I'm sure you're the same as me in imagining some of the old benevolent shipping dynasties turning in their graves once the accountants got hold of the industry and destroyed generations of patient riding of the cyclical shipping wave in the rush for bigger and better profits, a greed that ended up destroying so much, the British and Commonwealth story is a classic example.

Seafaring, as a whole, led the way to what we see in so many industries now, the cheapest employment costs that can be found. I'm glad that some of my erstwhile colleagues (such as yourself) can still make a decent living off the back of your training, professionalism and experience but you know (and you've said as much before on other threads) the way of life is pretty dreadful, the threat of a possible cheaper replacement must hang over your head.

Pilots are not immune in this drive for lower costs. Granted port authorities can pass charges onto the ships, but in doing so risk the competitive advantage of their port, and it is a massively competitive industry. One of the most progressive ports in the UK is Bristol since a couple of guys had the bottle to take it over when it went out of council ownership. My pilot chums there are valued for their contribution to the enterprise and the efficient running of the port and in consequence enjoy earnings that would turn a MAIB inspector green. On the obverse one of my ex partners is now an ABP pilot in SE Wales, earning about 30% of what the chaps from Bristol he shares the pilot cutter with earn. When I ask him about his port management he tells me they spend all their time nitpicking over travel expenses.

I would contend that any competitive pressure that lowers costs will almost certainly lower standards as well. Whilst waiting on a UK flagged and owned ship, all of whose Masters are Eastern European, I flicked through their company magazine which was just a catalogue of cock ups with dire warnings to all of any repetition. A motivated workforce they surely didn't have...but it was a cheap one. When I worked for Harrisons(Clyde) we managed one bulker for FedNav with a full UK crew whilst her 5 sisters were fully Korean manned. Our management were constantly beaten over the head over crew costs but it was omitted to be mentioned that our vessel consistently managed one more Lakes-Europe round trip each season. I would hope that "reefpilot" comes on to give us the benefit of his experience of the competitive process in pilotage.

I hope pilotage in the UK has a secure future, not least in that it provides a progression from seafaring for those who want to come ashore and in doing that makes the whole industry more attractive to potential recruits. It's probably too late already (in fact Dr David Moreby told me in was too late by the end of the '70's) but unless young people can be encouraged to go to sea our whole maritime infrastructure will collapse and be gone for good. I believe the PLA have just appointed their first Polish pilot.

There's far too many "hobby horses" there I know but all I'll say in conclusion that, for me, there is (and should be) far more that unites us than divides us.

Ventry
14th June 2007, 15:09
I'll leave that one to you Ventry you seem better qualified on the subject.

Well, thats very kind of you to say so John.
I have just started another thread this morning so I'll leave it a few days.

Hugh Ferguson
14th June 2007, 18:39
Thankyou, Charlie Wood, for that refreshing dose of common sense. I guess some people would have us go back to the days of ruthless competition when the pilots stationed on the Isles of Scilly raced out to a ship in sight in their pilot gigs, and the first man to throw his cap on board got the job. I suppose that, at least, prevented them from coming to blows.
A system evolved from that era when a seaman, who sought to make a reasonable and assured living from piloting, was provided with that opportunity, and from this beginning reliable and professional pilot services were formed. Hugh.

jimmyjenk
15th June 2007, 04:29
Captain Peter,
I "am seriously suggesting" that UK pilots should be paid the same as a British master serving on a British flag vessel and not "approximately half the UK national average wage". I apologise for the apparent ambiguity in my previous post.
I stand by my statement about salary levels based on the level of responsibilty. The level of professionalism and expertise are necessary criteria to fill the vacancy.
Pilots: "THE LAW REQUIRES THAT THEY USE THEM !!!!!" - long may it continue.
I am NOT "seriously suggesting" pilots of convenience.
The next time you're in Shanghai, I'll get your laundry done at a very reasonable rate - as long as there's a docking bottle and a carton of cigarettes available.
Regards
Jimmy

Cap'n Pete
15th June 2007, 10:10
Aye, but if you need a Class one to be a Master, spend long months away at sea on poor wages and someone comes along and says here's a job ashore on better pay is that not promotion?

What are you saying John? That giving up the sea to work ashore is promotion? Many of my shipmates have gone ashore for personal reasons and I've wished good luck to each and every one of them but not for one minute did I think they were being "promoted". If you think you were "promoted" going ashore, then good luck to you. Me, I'll spend long months away at sea on poor wages and try not to worry if I'm not going to be promoted. Strangely, I always thought being a captain was my ultimate goal.

johnalderman
15th June 2007, 10:22
And that is your choice, good luck to you, many Masters disagree, its their choice also, those that are lucky enough become Pilots, Deck Superintendents, Senior Managers and so on, enjoying the best of both Worlds, a family life and a career within shipping and the better wages that go with those careers, but for anyone who wants to spend their whole life at sea, go for it. As for younger people they realised years ago the best days of the Merchant Navy in Britain are gone, the wages paid at sea today are not good compared with years ago and that is why most young people in Britain would not give a seagoing career a second thought. Its sad but true.

Cap'n Pete
15th June 2007, 10:33
And that is your choice, good luck to you, many Masters disagree, its their choice also, those that are lucky enough become Pilots, Deck Superintendents, Senior Managers and so on, enjoying the best of both Worlds, a family life and a career within shipping and the better wages that go with those careers, but for anyone who wants to spend their whole life at sea, go for it. As for younger people they realised years ago the best days of the Merchant Navy in Britain are gone, the wages paid at sea today are not good compared with years ago and that is why most young people in Britain would not give a seagoing career a second thought. Its sad but true.

"Their choice" John or their wives? I know a lot of the people you describe went ashore because their wives insisted on it, rather than any desire on their part. I do not blame them: family is more important than career but lets not pretend that everybody who goes ashore does so for "promotion".

I do not agree with you that many young people in Britian woud not consider the sea as a career. I think there are over a thousand British cadets at sea today who disprove that idea.

johnalderman
15th June 2007, 10:46
I am talking about all seamen, 1000 cadets, how does that compare to the 1960s or 1970s, how many AB's, ER ratings and Catering staff are deep sea these days? The British working man has for the most part been priced out of a sea going career as the ship owner can find cheaper alternatives, this is not the fault of the British working man or woman, it is just a plain fact that it costs more to live in Britain than it does in many other countries.

K urgess
15th June 2007, 11:50
I often wish that the company I applied to for a deck apprenticeship all those years ago had managed to get it right and not send me the application form for an engineering apprenticeship by mistake.
If they had got it right I might have been able to join this debate with some authority.
As it is I am (was) but a humble sparkie.
When I went to sea I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. When I got my ticket I was straight down to Marconi's to join. I didn't consider anyone else. I wasn't chasing money (obviously) I wanted to go to sea and got very uptight when I had to go on leave straight away because the seamen were on strike.
So has this attitude disappeared altogether from the youth of today? If so, why? Are we no longer a seafaring nation because of a change of attitude rather than a lack of opportunity.
In 11 years at sea I never considered working for anyone else. I was quite happy because my main need was to be at sea. While I was on leave I was like a fish out of water and, although the leaving was sometimes painful, I couldn't wait to get back. Therefore I understand fully Cap'n Pete's desire to be at sea.
I also understand the other side of the coin where going to sea is just a means to an end. It always used to seem to be the dream of deck officers to find a nice little pilotage somewhere and settle down to home cooked dinners with the kids bringing the slippers as you came home.
When I reached the lofty status of Radio Electronics Officer I was getting every bonus Marconi could pay. I was at the top of my profession and after 11 years getting to be quite a senior. But I was in a dead end. I don't think I would have considered being master as being a dead end if I had managed that route.
So I quit and, again, money didn't come into it. I had a wife and a mortgage and she wanted children so a change was inevitable. So I came ashore for a more than 50% reduction in salary. Even my boss was not getting as much as I had been getting at sea. The Memsahib was only part of the reason the other part was the dead end bit.
Kris

kottemann
15th June 2007, 12:43
The problem with being a cadet in 2007 has a number of drawbacks. There are no night clubs on board there are no street corners to sit at and drink cans of cheap lager. Your immaculate white track suit will not last long on board and your Nike Air Max fall apart if they get seawater near them oh and if you get a job your bird will lose her Giro and wont have any money to buy obscenely big earings from the dodgy geezer on market.

The sea was an adventure for us different ports different pubs amazing places I have vivid memories of the Norwegian fjords and the markets in Istanbul etc but why go to sea and work hard when you can sit on your **** playing your xbox all day getting pissed and stoned and not have to do a tap for it.

Ventry
15th June 2007, 14:34
What are you saying John? That giving up the sea to work ashore is promotion? Many of my shipmates have gone ashore for personal reasons and I've wished good luck to each and every one of them but not for one minute did I think they were being "promoted". If you think you were "promoted" going ashore, then good luck to you. Me, I'll spend long months away at sea on poor wages and try not to worry if I'm not going to be promoted. Strangely, I always thought being a captain was my ultimate goal.

Peter,
Your wasteing your time! Several of us have tried to reason with Johnalderman but, to no avail.

R58484956
15th June 2007, 14:50
Remember lads this site allows "free speech"

Bruce Carson
15th June 2007, 15:02
Peter,
Your wasteing your time! Several of us have tried to reason with Johnalderman but, to no avail.


Ventry,
R58484956 is absolutely right.
Johnalderman is expressing an opinion and whether you agree with him or not, common civility dictates that moderation should be observed in any comments regarding another member or his or her postings.
This is a forum for friendly discussion. Disagreements are expected, but intemperate remarks regarding another member are out of bounds.

Bruce C
Moderator

Ventry
15th June 2007, 15:04
Your a tad slow in correcting Johnalderman are you not

Peter4447
15th June 2007, 15:12
I am talking about all seamen, 1000 cadets, how does that compare to the 1960s or 1970s, how many AB's, ER ratings and Catering staff are deep sea these days? The British working man has for the most part been priced out of a sea going career as the ship owner can find cheaper alternatives, this is not the fault of the British working man or woman, it is just a plain fact that it costs more to live in Britain than it does in many other countries.

Jack

With the greatest respect I fail to see how we can use what was happening in the 1960's as a yardstick for what is happening today. You seem to infer that the blame lies with "the shipowner" for finding cheaper alternatives but we cannot do this in isolation. How many great British companies whose ships were by their very nature labour intensive no longer exist? A combination of many things such as the advent of the Box Boats, Flags of convenience, the decline of our manufacturing industry, coastal cargoes being moved by road, the end of coal mined in this country as an export commodity have all played a part in the changes that have occured. And I think we also need to remind ourselves that it is not just the British seafarer who has suffered because of these global changes, what happened to the thousands of dockers, stevadores, crane drivers, tally clerks, warehousemen, shipping office staff ?
We can indeed look back on those heady days when the Red Ensign was seen in every corner of the globe with 'nostalgia' but the harsh reality of what has happened since and what is now referred to as "globilisation" means that those days are gone and gone forever.
Peter4447

Bruce Carson
15th June 2007, 15:47
Your a tad slow in correcting Johnalderman are you not


Ventry, I took no pleasure in posting my last message, but you made a personal attack on a fellow member.
Johnalderman was sailing pretty close to the wind a couple of times and there were remarks from others that could almost be called intemperate.
Disagreements are fine, but you made a direct, personal attack, calling into question his ability to reason and his ability to communicate with other members of this forum in an intelligent manner.
THAT IS OUT OF BOUNDS

Bruce C

Ventry
15th June 2007, 16:00
I would interpret my post as advice to Capt Peter.
If we are talking personal I was subjected to quite a bit of 'personal remarks' at the beginning of this very thread which I turned the other cheek to and, I believe ' won through' as the thread evolved into something interesting. Today, I senses a 'back sliding' and my advice was what I believe to be sound advice given from one Ship Master to another Ship Master.

R58484956
15th June 2007, 16:13
Glad to see that the "New" mods are doing their job, moderating.

Corrientes
15th June 2007, 20:31
The following incident happened in Norway in the mid 90s. I am assured it really did happen.

A vessel was chartered to load stone in the port of Askoy (Bergen district).
The Pilot (who was the senior Pilot in the district) always used to alter course in a certain position in the approaches to Askoy. This a/c position was when two small islands were in transit with the 'white' fishermans cottage just 'open' on the farthest. The vessel grounded at a speed inxs of 17kts and was a CTL. The reason given by the Pilot for the grounding was that the owner of the cottage had painted the cottage 'green' the previous afternoon and it blended in with the surrounding foliage and so confused him.
You have to smile!

Binnacle
15th June 2007, 21:31
Having travelled a few sea miles up and down the coast in the capable hands of Norwegian coastal pilots I formed the greatest respect for them. There's more to this yarn than has been stated. Seventeen knot stone boats also raises doubts.

Frank P
15th June 2007, 21:47
In 1976 while cruising in one of the fjords in Northern Norway, with a pilot onboard the Royal Viking Star (Norwegian Ship) hit an uncharted rock, she sustained so much damage that she had to cut short the cruise and proceed to the first available drydock which was in Hamburg.

Cheers Frank

Hague
16th June 2007, 09:16
Bruce,
quote:
Ventry, I took no pleasure in posting my last message, but you made a personal attack on a fellow member.
Johnalderman was sailing pretty close to the wind a couple of times and there were remarks from others that could almost be called intemperate.
Disagreements are fine, but you made a direct, personal attack, calling into question his ability to reason and his ability to communicate with other members of this forum in an intelligent manner.
THAT IS OUT OF BOUNDS

Bruce C
unquote

I refer to above as Ventry was not alone in this one. I believe it would help if you insisted that all members complete the profile more comprehensively. This would help in debate in the following ways. For example, when johnalderman on two occasions says that the transition from Master to Pilot is a promotion it 'flags up' his background may be in question and before responding I always look at the 'profile'. In this case he reveals 'seaman'. That is not helpful. Surely, it is not difficult to include Ch.Eng, AB, etc,etc. the use of N/A should not be allowed.
Another example would be a thread on 'Running Gear' , 'Wire Splicing' posted by an individual who's profile shows him to be a retired Blue Funnel Bosun. I for one will not enter the debate but I will listen very attentatively and 'learn'
as I am sure there are other Bosuns out there more than able to debate the topic and would smile at my humble offerings. I left the foc'sle in 67 (My knife and spike in the sword matting sheath still in the shed). I know what I know and do not stray to far from 'my comfort zone'

Hague
16th June 2007, 09:33
In summation ( I strayed). In debate 'when the air gets thin' consider the other members profile as he may be a ship enthusiast, who has a passion for ships but has no actual experience or he may be a well experienced mariner but not in the 'discipline' under discussion.

K urgess
16th June 2007, 12:07
We try to encourage members to reveal something of themselves in their profiles but it can be an uphill struggle. People are naturally reluctant to reveal too much of themselves in a public forum just as they are reluctant to use a credit card on the internet.
Sometimes we get some information in an hello post but usually we have to wait until something is posted before the level of expertise or experience is revealed, or not.
Yes, to join in a thread such as this requires some experience of the subject but just because someone's only profile comment is "seaman" doesn't mean that they have not had experience of the subject. What do helmsmen do when on the wheel in pilotways? They have to listen for orders so they will pick up most of the conversation in the wheelhouse and remember it. So they gain a background as to what is going on and going wrong.
My profile says I was a sparkie. What it doesn't say that I've stood anchor watches, filled in the bridge movements book, done cargo watches, taken over the bridge of a supertanker on passage while the 2nd mate does his star sights or dashes off to the boy's room, been in charge of a ship's boat, assisted in the engine room, etc., etc. This is because a lot of ships practiced universal manning before it was the vogue so everybody had to be able to do everybody else's job to the extent of safety but we didn't make a fuss about it. This attitude wasn't common among the 20 odd companies I sailed with. It also doesn't make me an expert but it gives me an opinion from past experience.
If someone has a valid point in a thread then it doesn't matter if he's your friendly neighbourhood domestic refuse operative.
If someone posts something out of line or off the wall you think to yourself "what an idiot" and post a friendly erudite explanation without publicly pronouncing your opinion of him or her. You can even word it to show your thoughts but not to the extent of bringing the other person's character into open debate.
These are the rules and it makes our lives as moderators a lot easier if we can discuss things in a friendly manner rather than mud-slinging. Just imagine you're having a friendly discussion aboard ship in the bar or someone's cabin. You have to work with the guy next day and your life might depend on him in an emergency so cut some slack and do on here as you would do or have done at sea.

Bruce Carson
16th June 2007, 12:35
Bruce,
quote:
Ventry, I took no pleasure in posting my last message, but you made a personal attack on a fellow member.
Johnalderman was sailing pretty close to the wind a couple of times and there were remarks from others that could almost be called intemperate.
Disagreements are fine, but you made a direct, personal attack, calling into question his ability to reason and his ability to communicate with other members of this forum in an intelligent manner.
THAT IS OUT OF BOUNDS

Bruce C
unquote

I refer to above as Ventry was not alone in this one. I believe it would help if you insisted that all members complete the profile more comprehensively. This would help in debate in the following ways. For example, when johnalderman on two occasions says that the transition from Master to Pilot is a promotion it 'flags up' his background may be in question and before responding I always look at the 'profile'. In this case he reveals 'seaman'. That is not helpful. Surely, it is not difficult to include Ch.Eng, AB, etc,etc. the use of N/A should not be allowed.
Another example would be a thread on 'Running Gear' , 'Wire Splicing' posted by an individual who's profile shows him to be a retired Blue Funnel Bosun. I for one will not enter the debate but I will listen very attentatively and 'learn'
as I am sure there are other Bosuns out there more than able to debate the topic and would smile at my humble offerings. I left the foc'sle in 67 (My knife and spike in the sword matting sheath still in the shed). I know what I know and do not stray to far from 'my comfort zone'

Good Morning, Hague. Pardon my lateness in replying, but I'm five hours behind you.
My posting had nothing to do with a member's profile or his or hers competence to post on any given subject.
That is a completely different subject and only complicates the matter at hand.
My posting had to do, as I thought I made clear, with personal attacks on one member by another and that will not be tolerated.
It doesn't really matter if, say, a AB joins in a discussion on a Master's duties. He may be blowing hot air and if so, there are remedies. Other posters may ignore him, may disagree with him in a civil manner or may send him a private message. There is more than one way to deal with a situation like that, rather than personal name calling.
Whether a member judges another as competent to post on any given subject is really irrelevant. All members may post on any subject and should not be subject to personal abuse for doing so.
To allow such conduct would bring this forum to chaos.

Moderators in the past have constantly urged members to provide a Profile, but there is a natural reluctance by many to post personal information on the internet.
I just recently became a Moderator and have felt guilty at not having a Profile listed.
So help me, that was on my list of things to do this weekend, but I am guilty and have no real excuse other than a sense of privacy.
We would hope that more members would let others know a little of themselves, but it's not something that can be forced.

Regards,
Bruce

lilguy43uk
16th June 2007, 16:28
The trawler Erimo was under pilot control when she grounded on Tiger's Tail off Fleetwood Dock. She ended up falling off the bank and blocking the dock channel until she was cut up where she lay. Pilots are only human.

Hugh Ferguson
16th June 2007, 19:53
Maybe this thread should be re-titled, Embittered Mariners! Very evidently, as seen in the first posting, a member was feeling very embittered about pilots. I think I'll join this club as a retired pilot who also feels very embittered about, guess what! PILOTS. But not the pilots of my cloth, for none of them ever caused me any distress. The pilots I'm referring to are the ones we called "self takers" and they were various ship masters who had acquired a licence to pilot their own ships.
Some of them were responsible for some of the worst accidents occurring in the Thames-the dredger Bow Belle/Marchioness; H.M.S. Truculent; and the destruction of the brand new No.4 Coryton Jetty, caused by a "self taker" suddenly blocking the passage of a Spanish, Monte boat (her name escapes me at the moment). The evading action taken by the pilot failed to clear the new No.4 Coryton, and the £9 million jetty collapsed into the river.
In my 25 year piloting career the only accident of a serious nature involved a self-taker, and anyone interested enough in the details can read about it on the following web-site. <http://www.rakaia.co.uk/chantala>
The master of the HUDSON LIGHT, and no thanks to him, had he struck the B.I. CHANTALA a mere 15 feet further aft would have caused carnage in the cadets' quarters. It's not only ship masters who can feel bitter about pilots!

NZSCOTTY
16th June 2007, 20:38
See it is starting to get back into an "us and them" discussion. Get back to the facts that the master is in command and the pilot is there to give his expert advice. It works well most times. Just get rid of the prima donas. God you lot are so jealous of your positions in life. Why not get a life and get on with it. We are all there to do a job and when we go someone else will probably do a better job!!

benjidog
16th June 2007, 21:23
Gentlemen,

We don't want to stifle discussion but this is a reminder that although it is quite OK to disagree with other people's opinions and demolish them by reasoned argument, it is NOT fine to insult other members with whom you may disagree.

The Mods are getting concerned about this thread and standing by with Yellow Cards but I hope it will not come to that as it is a very interesting discussion.(Hippy)

Regards,

Brian

John Briggs
17th June 2007, 02:30
I am reluctantly going to dip my toes into this very murky water. Firstly, I think the name of the thread is unfortunate but the subject matter is interesting and worth discussion.

I will start off by saying that I have experience as a ship master, piloting, managing a pilot service and regulating another pilot service. As in all walks of life there are good shipmasters and poor shipmasters, likewise for pilots. I also strongly believe the hackneyed old phrase that there are "naturals" and those that struggle with regards to ship handling. It therefore appears to come down to personal points of view and it appears that many have some strong views on this.

This is a very complex subject but in other ways very simple. There are shipmasters who are very competent and capable in handling their own ship. There are shipmasters who tremble at the thought of handling their own ship in confined waters and breath a great sigh of relief when the pilot arrives on the bridge. There are pilots who are extremely competent and confident ship handlers on varied types of vessels and there are pilots (a small minority) who struggle and worry excessively prior to and during a difficult pilotage.

In summary I believe that pilots (and this of course has to be a generalisation) have far more experience than most ship masters in shiphandling and are usually very competent. Most pilots are doing the job because they like it and are suited for it. There are some of course who have taken the job as a means of coming ashore. Ship masters normally know their own ship and her handling characteristics, having experienced them during numerous port arrivals and departures whether under pilotage or not. A ship master has far more experience and knowledge of his own ship than a pilot.

The foregoing, to me, demonstrates the invaluable contribution of both areas of expertise to the safety of ships in confined waters. It is easy to highlight various incidents to bolster one's own prejudice for one side or the other.

Finally - we should be concentrating in this thread on how to ensure good cooperation and working relationships between master and pilot and in this context I believe BRM comes into it's own.

Geoff Garrett
17th June 2007, 03:25
Very true Tony Crompton, on what you say on your post #66 and I shall embellish further, more smart-asses per M3 in and around a berthing ship than in any other place in the port.

Hugh Ferguson
17th June 2007, 12:06
Very true Tony Crompton, on what you say on your post #66 and I shall embellish further, more smart-asses per M3 in and around a berthing ship than in any other place in the port.

Please decode. I haven't got into a lot of this modern jargon, if that is what it is!

billyboy
17th June 2007, 12:16
Think it means three square meters Hugh (M3)...in which case Geoff is probably right from my experiences of watching ships dock and listening to the comments of other people standing on the quay.

lakercapt
17th June 2007, 17:14
I did not really want to enter into the frey here but a couple of comments have made a response necessary.
I was a "self taker" in that I had an exemption for the River Thames and did not require pilots. Also did ship handling LLanddulas for example.
Liverpool Pilots as I remember ended their responsibilites at the locks and it was extra if you used the in the system.
When I moved to the Great Lakes I was dumbfounded by the ability of laker captains to pilot and manouver their boats. Ship handling like I never believed possible.
I became one of then and pilotage and ship handling became second nature.
When we sailed "outside" no pilot ever berthed the ship I was on and always I took her into the locks without tugboats (Liverpol Antwerp Amsterdam Le Harve etc)Not that I didn't have full confidence of the pilot but who was to know the ship handling better than I.
Even had a major disagreement with PLA when we went to Tilbury. Said it was impossible to berth a ship that size at the grain terminal without using three tugs.
We did and that went down like a lead balloon.
On sailing when the pilot boarded and questioned me about tugs he was taken aback when I told him none and I would take her off the berth and turn her in the river (We had to do a 180 on the berth after we arrived as there was a terrific storm and the grain elevators had been damaged).We were now headed upriver on an ebb tide.
I even called up Gravesend radio and told him that we were ready to depart and were going to do a four and two in the river and I would tell him when completed and give him an ETA.
The pilot was listening to this as he did not know this Canadian had done it all before.
I always enjoyed having pilots on board whenrequired as I usuallycould relax a bit.
Not all pilots nor masters are invicible no matter what you might think.
Alas most masters when in sight of land tend to have bum puckering feelings untill out in mid ocean and ship handling or even going to an achorage has them in a fearful condition.
I enjoyed all aspects of ship handling even in inclement conditions and I was looked on by my peers as an "Natural"
Bill

NZSCOTTY
18th June 2007, 05:53
Read my previous and I rest my case

a12an
18th June 2007, 09:48
Maybe we should take a leaf out of the aviation industries book. Pilots are trained with a heavy emphisis on the practical - so they don't need to embark a pilot at every airport.

Cap'n Pete
18th June 2007, 11:29
What an awful expression "self taker" - sounds a little like "self abuser".

I'm sure most responsible shipmasters will, given the choice, always employ the services of a pilot when a risk assessment of the port approach and berthing so dictates. It is not pilots that are the problem, but the imposition of compulsory pilotage areas and the lack of competition in the provision of pilotage services. Shipowners and insurers are not going to risk their ships being handled by prima-dona masters who think they can do it alone; however, like any other industry, shipping should be allowed choice in the employment of proffessional services. This is why we need deregulation of pilot services and, further, need to ensure that pilots who are negligent in their duties are made responsible for the damage they inflict on the vessel and third parties.

Imagine your company is required to employ an electrician to change a lightbulb. You are only allowed to employ the electrician through your local council and you have to pay the fee they set, which is 10 times what you estimate is fair. The electrician makes a botch job of it and, in consequence, somebody is electricuted and dies. After that, it is you, as the company manager, who goes to prison while the electrician and the local authority get off scot free. That's is what compulsory pilotage as set by the pilotage acts is all about.

Tony Breach
18th June 2007, 12:02
Why all this fuss. A master expects a boarding pilot to be competent, qualified, experienced & skilled for what he is hired. I am sure that the pilot expects similar qualities in the master of any ship he boards. He would also expect that ship to functioning in a proper manner. The two persons now guiding the ship normally do so with mutual respect, to the best of their ability & while advising each other, one of the peculiarities of the waters & the other of the characteristics & peculiarities of the ship. In most cases the job is completed satisfactorily.

Tony

PS Nothing could encourage me to climb up a pilot ladder at 0230 in a rising sou'wester with lashing rain & near-zero temperatures.

Cap'n Pete
18th June 2007, 13:56
Nobody could argue your expectation vis-a-vis the master/pilot relationship. However, this tread is a discussion of pilot errors, either accidental or as a result of negligence. At present, pilots are immune from their own actions in so much as the master is always held to be responsible.

There is now an ever increasing threat that the master will be imprisioned for actions over which he has little or no control. We have, for instance, seen a master put in jail in the USA when his ship collided with a shore crane during departure.

What many masters such as myself are saying is that it is unfair that we should go to prison when the error is that of the pilot, particuarly when that error is one that the master could not have foreseen.

I'm afraid Tony, that if you have not been to sea as master in the last 10 years, you will not have noticed the sea-change under which masters now operate.

The vast majority of pilots using SN will be of white anglo-saxon origin. The vast majority of masters of the ships they take into and out of port are not. Ask yourself how many of those masters use SN and are able to input their own ideas into this discussion. When it comes to making laws in such countries as the UK, Europe, the USA, Australia and New Zealand ask yourself who is more likely to get their message heard by the politicians; the masters or the pilots?

johnalderman
18th June 2007, 18:26
I've been away for a few days, but enjoyed catching up on an interesting thread, I have just re-read my input and I can't see how I have been insulting to any other member, I may disagree but I never insult, surely the first post in this thread was designed to stir up the very debate that we are having.

Tony Breach
18th June 2007, 20:47
Thanks for yours Pete. I last sailed as master in 1987 & as a charterer's representative in 2002 & take your point. Seems a sad state of affairs - life at sea used to be so good!!!

Tony

Hague
18th June 2007, 21:48
Having travelled a few sea miles up and down the coast in the capable hands of Norwegian coastal pilots I formed the greatest respect for them. There's more to this yarn than has been stated. Seventeen knot stone boats also raises doubts.

Don't understand rationale Seventeen knot stone boats also raises doubts

Ian Harrod
19th June 2007, 03:07
There are a lot of old pilots, and there are a lot of fast pilots. There are, however, not many old, fast pilots.

Binnacle
19th June 2007, 11:00
Seventeen knot stone boats also raises doubts[/I]

Never heard of a stone boat capable of such speed.

trotterdotpom
19th June 2007, 11:11
Glad to see that the "New" mods are doing their job, moderating.

And the "Rockers" are rocking the boat - that's their job!

John T.

K urgess
19th June 2007, 13:12
Not too violently or we'll sink, John.(EEK)

No sparkie favouritism either.[=P]

Cheers
Kris

R58484956
19th June 2007, 16:34
Strange how these "discussions" always seem to eminate from the deck side, do not think I have seen one from below the decks, ie ER.

Hague
19th June 2007, 19:53
Never heard of a stone boat capable of such speed.

Define 'A STONE BOAT'

K urgess
19th June 2007, 20:41
You have to look at post #150, Hague.
A stone boat is apparently a ship having loaded stone in Norway.
Binnacle questioned the ability of such vessels to reach 17 knots.

Cheers
Kris

Hague
19th June 2007, 20:47
You have to look at post #150, Hague.
A stone boat is apparently a ship having loaded stone in Norway.
Binnacle questioned the ability of such vessels to reach 17 knots.

Cheers
Kris

Wrong!

A vessel chartered to LOAD stone, I believe.

K urgess
19th June 2007, 20:53
Very well "a ship chartered to load stone".

I can't see why an unladen ship couldn't do 17 knots but then I'm a mere sparkie and know nothing of such things.[=P]

The advisability of doing such a speed in confined waters is something between the master and the pilot at the time.

Binnacle
19th June 2007, 21:48
Very well "a ship chartered to load stone".

I can't see why an unladen ship couldn't do 17 knots but then I'm a mere sparkie and know nothing of such things.[=P]

The advisability of doing such a speed in confined waters is something between the master and the pilot at the time.

Thank you Marconi Sahib for your post, frankly I do not know what Hague is on about. My definition of a "stone boat" is a vessel "engaged in carrying stone". Chartering does not come into it. Robertsons of Glasgow, which is/was the biggest carrier of stone in Norwegian waters were not AFAIK on charter as he owned the quarry and the ships. Those on this NG who have been engaged in the carriage of stone in Norwegian waters will be conversant with ship speeds on that trade.

Hague
19th June 2007, 22:13
1. Any ship can be chartered to carry 'stone'. The ship type is not dictated by her cargo.
2. Robertsons of Glasgow never were/are not repeat, never were/are not the biggest carrier of stone in Norwegian waters.
3. The ship in question was well known in Norwegian shipping circles.
4. SN colleagues in the name Lakercapt and Pilotmac will attest to the speed of these Appledore built vessels as they were Masters of them.

Again, I would urge the site to ask members to complete profile as I was lost as to the depth tp go to on this one.

Ian Harrod
20th June 2007, 02:11
Why all this fuss. A master expects a boarding pilot to be competent, qualified, experienced & skilled for what he is hired. I am sure that the pilot expects similar qualities in the master of any ship he boards. He would also expect that ship to functioning in a proper manner. The two persons now guiding the ship normally do so with mutual respect, to the best of their ability & while advising each other, one of the peculiarities of the waters & the other of the characteristics & peculiarities of the ship. In most cases the job is completed satisfactorily.

Tony

PS Nothing could encourage me to climb up a pilot ladder at 0230 in a rising sou'wester with lashing rain & near-zero temperatures.
But it does feel good when you get to the top, Tony!

lakercapt
20th June 2007, 03:03
1. Any ship can be chartered to carry 'stone'. The ship type is not dictated by her cargo.
2. Robertsons of Glasgow never were/are not repeat, never were/are not the biggest carrier of stone in Norwegian waters.
3. The ship in question was well known in Norwegian shipping circles.
4. SN colleagues in the name Lakercapt and Pilotmac will attest to the speed of these Appledore built vessels as they were Masters of them.

Again, I would urge the site to ask members to complete profile as I was lost as to the depth tp go to on this one.

The Appledore class of Jebsens ships were very fast.
Could steam faster than 17 knots when required but the fuel consumption was horrendous.
Robertsons ships did carry large amounts of stone (Limestone ex llundullas) to Norway but were certainly not the largest carriers. Oddly enough we often carried stone from Norway to the UK e.g. to Brombrough dock to make "Vim"

The forum was about pilot error and although I did not like posting #158 there about "self takers" as a peson that was only a pilot and never a master (his profile) he is only expressing his view point where I can do it from both sides..(That better Sparkie?????)

Pilots I was pleased to see board as their local knowledge was the reason for being there and unless they showed themselves to be untrustworth I gave them full authority. I have on more than one occassion questioned their instructions when I believed they could have been misinterpreted and an icident could have occured.
Any incident while under pilots advice as master you have to be accountable for. How pilots are questioned or diciplined I know not but there were some million dollar men out there still sailing.
Bill

Corrientes
20th June 2007, 07:23
Gentlemen,
The above incident (post #150) was related to me at a P&I forum in London recently. I can assure 'Binnacle' that I am not in the habit of elaborating/ embroidering for the benefit of this site. I am not a 'coasting man' and no nothing of the trade in question. Fortunately, Bill & Hague do and I thank you both for your assistance in this matter. Being 'a new boy' I am already learning to tread carefully.

K urgess
20th June 2007, 10:03
Gentlemen,

Please don't be personal. You can make your points in the third party without naming names.
Everybody who has an interest in this thread will know exactly who you mean.
Let's face it I could've told everybody in my profile that I was an ex master of VLCCs and cargo vessels who had decided to become a pilot so don't believe everything you read in public forums.
A member's experience or lack thereof will become increasingly apparent as a thread develops. There is no need to bring them to task by name. It's best for all concerned only to prove your point by reasoned argument and checkable proof.

Regards
Kris

Hugh Ferguson
20th June 2007, 11:44
The following incident happened in Norway in the mid 90s. I am assured it really did happen.

A vessel was chartered to load stone in the port of Askoy (Bergen district).
The Pilot (who was the senior Pilot in the district) always used to alter course in a certain position in the approaches to Askoy. This a/c position was when two small islands were in transit with the 'white' fishermans cottage just 'open' on the farthest. The vessel grounded at a speed inxs of 17kts and was a CTL. The reason given by the Pilot for the grounding was that the owner of the cottage had painted the cottage 'green' the previous afternoon and it blended in with the surrounding foliage and so confused him.
You have to smile!

Nothing unusual about that. Just a bit of bad luck! Aden harbour on a moonless night was completely unlit and, as pilots, we had, for one of the oil berths, to trust that the owner of BLUE BUNGALOW would be sure to leave his verandah light on so that we had a transit with a dicey light on Flint Is.,
just to know where to drop anchor. That, with one of the mooring boat hands standing on a mooring buoy waving an oil lamp, was all part of the pilot's job.

Hague
20th June 2007, 12:34
Hugh,
I think the term 'self taker' was a little heavy. I was Master of several cape size Ore carriers on T/C to BISCO in the 70s. The owners had an agreement with the T/Cs to share the cost of the Hutchinson pilot who boarded or was discharged at Brixham when destined for Redcar or Immingham. I am now talking 'Gene Trefethen ' and 'Trentwood' for those who remember. There were many factors which influenced me utilising this service and that would be my confidence in the Bridge Team, time of transit of Dover Strait etc, etc.
On one occasion when I really need one though exhaustion and questionable radar (used the pretext to call in to Brixham for Pilot when real reason was for Radar Tech....who didn't show) the pilot was drunk.

Although I can see a need for this type of pilot (not the drunken type I hasten to add.) I used to prefer the BISCO cash incentive.

Corrientes
20th June 2007, 12:54
Gentlemen,

Please don't be personal. You can make your points in the third party without naming names.
Everybody who has an interest in this thread will know exactly who you mean.
Let's face it I could've told everybody in my profile that I was an ex master of VLCCs and cargo vessels who had decided to become a pilot so don't believe everything you read in public forums.
A member's experience or lack thereof will become increasingly apparent as a thread develops. There is no need to bring them to task by name. It's best for all concerned only to prove your point by reasoned argument and checkable proof.

Regards
Kris



A little 'over sensitive' I would say if you are directing that at me.

johnalderman
20th June 2007, 12:55
I assume you refused his services, to be honest I can't understand why an English speaking Master with a good team of officers would have the need to employ a North Sea Pilot in the first place.

K urgess
20th June 2007, 13:01
Thank you, Hague, for a reasoned and well put post.(Thumb)
These experiences are what form our opinions in a thread like this and I think the thread was started with the intention of prompting this sort of information not to start a war between masters and pilots.
There are members who are just ship enthusiasts who wish to learn from such experiences.
There are, unfortunately, also those who love to see Merchant Navy types going to war with each other.[=P]
In the interest of those member following this thread who are not as experienced as yourself and the other masters and pilots I would only ask that technical terms are explained if possible without writing thousands of words.
I'm assuming that T/C is shorthand for Time Charter.

Regards
Kris

Corrientes
20th June 2007, 13:04
I assume you refused his services, to be honest I can't understand why an English speaking Master with a good team of officers would have the need to employ a North Sea Pilot in the first place.

Would feel your post would benefit from substituting 'competent' for 'English speaking'.
Would you not agree?

johnalderman
20th June 2007, 13:12
Not really because I can understand that in the 1970s which was the date mentioned there were Masters who spoke no or little English and had trouble dealing with local port radio stations and employed North Sea Pilots to handle that side of things for them. I'm a little surprised that a English speaking Master on a BISCO charter running to Redcar would need to utilise the services of a North Sea Pilot.

gdynia
20th June 2007, 13:18
Gentlemen

If we all stop and have time to think this thread was started to provoke and cause contreversary which many have fallen into the trap. The idea behind SN is that members correspond with each other on many topics some not shipping which we find acceptable. All this thread is doing is causing members to nitpick at each other. Anyone has the right to make a comment no matter what certificate or profile they have. I think a little cooling down period is in order here and lets get the thread back on a normal course and the sharp shooters on here put away their sniping rifles.

Hague
20th June 2007, 14:35
As I have said already their are many factors which will influence ones decision. I have arrived in the English channel after a 'rough' passage across from Seven Islands/Port Cartier when I would say the addition of an extra pair of eyes would be welcome. Further, their could be a crew change the reasons/factors are exhaustive.

Hugh Ferguson
20th June 2007, 15:38
I'm beginning to think that my expression "self taker" is being misunderstood.
It has nothing whatsoever to do with pilotage in non-compulsory waters such as the Channel, Dover Straits, or the North Sea. I, and I'm sure all other pilots, use it in a totally non-derogatory way to describe masters, of ships of less than a specified tonnage, who are frequently in and out of U.K. ports and have acquired a licence which allows them to become exempt from the compulsory pilotage laws. I can't think of another way in which to describe this capacity. Masters of ships belonging to companies such as McAndrews, General Steam, Everards and almost innumerable collier companies would not even have obtained employment had they not been prepared to undertake their own pilotage in compulsory waters.
Were you to ask me to express an opinion on this long established system I would make the following comment. As fully licenced pilots we had no personal contact whatsoever with those masters and consequently the exchange of experiences whilst piloting never occurred. A vitally important element of piloting ships of varying nature was to have an appreciation of what the other fellow, in crossing or approaching situations, was having to contend with. It is not being unfair in the least to say that this appreciation was noticeably lacking with those who perhaps spent years in the same ship, or similar ships, and little understood what a pilot in a deep drafted ship, a bung light ship in a gale and including many other factors which they could not even have been expected to know about.
I believe this is a perfectly legitimate point to make and is eminently suited to the title of this thread, which, some may need reminding of is, "Pilot Error."

Hague
20th June 2007, 16:57
Thank you, Hague, for a reasoned and well put post.(Thumb)
These experiences are what form our opinions in a thread like this and I think the thread was started with the intention of prompting this sort of information not to start a war between masters and pilots.
There are members who are just ship enthusiasts who wish to learn from such experiences.
There are, unfortunately, also those who love to see Merchant Navy types going to war with each other.[=P]
In the interest of those member following this thread who are not as experienced as yourself and the other masters and pilots I would only ask that technical terms are explained if possible without writing thousands of words.
I'm assuming that T/C is shorthand for Time Charter.

Regards
Kris


You are correct T/C is shorthand for Time Charter (Baltime 39 in this case).
BISCO is an abbreviation for British Iron and Steel Co when in truth BISCO was defunct well before the above period. British Steel were the T/C counter party..

Charlie_Wood
20th June 2007, 18:51
I guess we will all have our own anecdotes from both sides of the argument. Personal experiences are more useful than apocryphal stories. Ventry started this thread with a reference to the concern of P&I clubs. They are only really interested in looking at claims over $100000. I have attached the original report in case anybody wants to look at the facts.

Sorry the file is too big to upload, it can be accessed through this link

http://www.igpandi.org/downloadables/news/IG%20pilot%20error%20report.pdf

Binnacle
20th June 2007, 21:13
Gentlemen,
The above incident (post #150) was related to me at a P&I forum in London recently. I can assure 'Binnacle' that I am not in the habit of elaborating/ embroidering for the benefit of this site. I am not a 'coasting man' and no nothing of the trade in question. Fortunately, Bill & Hague do and I thank you both for your assistance in this matter. Being 'a new boy' I am already learning to tread carefully.

Corrientes
Please accept my sincere apologies if I gave you the impression that I considered you were elaborating, this was certainly not my intention. In my time in these waters, circa late 40/60s vessels on the stone trade capable of 17 knots were unheard of, hence my doubts,tempus fugit. Lakercapt has proven otherwise. As far as using a conspicuous mark for navigating purposes this was a common practice in the absence of navigation beacons. Having visited over fifty different places in these waters under pilotage I have seen similar practices in operation. As I have previously stated I have great respect for the seamanlike skills of Norwegian coast pilots in all weathers. This incident you refer to probably did occur, I would put it down to one of the hazards of navigating in these waters.

Ventry
21st June 2007, 12:59
On a lighter note I would recommend to anyone who has not experienced the Norwegian Fjords to try a round trip on the 'Hurtigruten' and marvel at the Navigation of these ferries which leave Bergen every night of the year. Visiting about 16 ports North bound and the same Southbound. Kirkenes being the terminal port. All within 12 days.
I was on the Bridge within a few hours of sailing, as any former ship master would be, totally engrossed in these vessels altering course of positions without reference to radar etc and passing through gaps where you could hardly 'swing a cat'. The elderly Master (younger than me) only appeared for berthing/unberthing. Unfortunately, my amazement was short lived as everything was done on GPS. Unbelievable!, but thats technology. As the voyage progressed I sensed that my recollections were well understood by the Master but the Mate, and two Second Mates considered me somewhat of an oddity.

RayJordandpo
21st June 2007, 14:43
I used those ferries many times when I was working in Norwegian waters and I agree they are amazing. A little disconcerting though when in 1999 the 'Sleipner' hit an apparently well charted rock and sank with loss of life.

Hugh Ferguson
5th August 2007, 15:23
I must confess, that following the initial "postings" on this thread, I did not view the issue as seriously as perhaps I should have done. It has come as quite a surprise to me that the master/pilot relationship is, apparently, as delicate as some of the contributions have shown it to be.
This has caused me to cast my mind back as far as early in 1955 when I started piloting in the very busy Port of Aden. In that first year no fewer than in excess of 5,000 ships came and went.
Judging by some of the experiences recounted in these "postings" I must surely have, myself, had some altercations and incited the displeasure of a ship's master on the odd occasion. I cannot recall any such unpleasantness.
On one occasion I had the misfortune to put a 7,000 ton Swedish ship aground on the Goodwin but managed to get her off within an hour. (I'm sure that a poorly functioning radar contributed to that mishap). The master was on the bridge and kept his cool and no angry words or criticism resulted.
Indeed, before I left the ship in Gravesend, he had told me that they were going into scheduled drydock in Newcastle and he would personally inspect the bottom plates and telephone me with the result. This he did and, (off the record) I decided that a report to the pilotage authority was not warranted-I had no wish to be suspended for 3 months as would have been the penalty.
Nothing more was ever heard about it but I did hope, that after he had reported to his owners, that the radar too was looked at!
I cannot imagine a more equable relationship between two strangers than that. Difficult master/pilot relations, where, when!?

Keith Adams
31st August 2007, 19:53
In follow-up on one of Hugh's earlier postings on this most educational thread; he referred to "self taker" Pilots, for want of a better name. I recall that practically every coaster and/or Home Trade ferry hoisted the customary "H" flag (I have a pilot aboard) in the horizontal mode to signify the master was approved to be his own pilot. Only twice in my career at sea was I present on the bridge when the oldman refused to use the assigned pilot and took the ship to anchorage himself ... on both occasions the pilot was barefoot and there was verbal communication difficulty ... I was sure the respective pilot knew what to do and how to accomplish the task but their appearance was not reassuring to a Captain with zero experience of the ports in question... Tobruk (N. Africa) and Horta (Azores) in the mid 1950's ... our experienced Pilot members will no doubt enjoy this last comment, although it was extremely serious at the time ... we were to loose both bow anchors in full gale (Force 8) conditions before we cleared the Azores (we were responding to a shoreside distress situation as first ship in the area). Cheers, Snowy.

PollY Anna
31st August 2007, 22:05
Hi Guys

I think one thing all you guys have missed is the courage of the pilots these guys jumping from the pilot boat and climbing the side of a ship with a heavy sea running and a gale blowing. Just doing their job not my choice. As I have said on this site before we are all human and the nature of the beast is to err so no glass houses etc. I have a list as long as my arm where Mate's / Skippers have made a mistake, but enough said.

The Captain
1st September 2007, 01:56
Each to his own field of expertise. Many years ago I had the fortune to see what in my opinion was the best "piloting" and the worst both in the same port, Calcutta. The best was the pilot who conned the vessel to the mooring buoys on Garden Reach (I think), there were two ship on the buoys already and we were to go between them and make fast to the buoys. This operation, as those of you who have been to Calcutta would know, takes several hours to carry out since the anchor cables have to be ranged and broken to enable the stern to be made fast to the after buoy. If my memory serves me correctly it took about 12 hours to complete, one pilot (on each ship), no tugs, no damage either pilot assisted or pilot error, not even a paint scratch on a ship only 4 months from the builders yard.
The worst was moving from the buoys (Calcutta) into the KG V dock. After leaving the buoys without incident and changing to the "dock" pilot we hit the outer lock gate because it was slow in opening we "nudged" the inner lock gate, fortunately no damage. We had to proceed to the far end of the dock and make fast to a buoy, on the way we were to pass several vessels on either side (alongside on the port side and those on buoys to starboard) the first ship we hit was and Indian ship, a "Jalla ship", (black funnel, yellow band) that was in very good condition until we arrived, we then bounced across the dock and came into contact with the bridge wing of the "Marabank" (she was loaded, we were light). We then proceeded on to our buoy, which we hit and sank along with the mooring boat that was made fast to the buoy. It was then necessary for a change in berthing arrangements and it was decided to berth us alongside another vessel at a lay up berth. This vessel was very old and very rusty and the Old Man was very worried about landing alongside her. We landed heavily on the fenders (ours and theirs) and got our bridge wing tangled with hers (the oposite side to the "Marabank" damage. Having finally got the ship berthed the pilot was leaving as the boat crew arrived looking for compensation for the loss of their boat etc. The pilot had to rescued by our crew (Indian) other wise they may have down him bodily harm. We learned later that this was not the first time this pilot had sunk that buoy with (you guessed it) that line boat.
That, gentlemen, is my best and worst of pilots. I must add that when I was Master of coastal bulkcarrier in Australia we did our own port pilotage after earning a pilotage exemption, I personally found this part of the job virtually terrifying, I don't think I was bad, I was slow and I most certainly wasn't good so I take my hat ("dips me lid" Aussie expression) to all pilots, good, bad and indifferent.

Think of it, you are a pilot, you join a ship (never having seen the style before), she is old, the crew are multi national, you meet the Master (his English is terrible, your Manderin is worse), the weather is awful. You approach the berth and ajust the speed, response time is slow, an astern movement is required, the chain of command and response of the telegraph is slow and the tugs are not in position to help. Bump, oh God!!!! Is that "pilot error", "pilot assisted", I think not. Insurance companies whinge about payouts, do they lower the premiums for a good job? Ship owners, Pilots and Ports all have (or should have) insurance and pay premiums to protect themselves and/or their property against unforseen incidents and as such when one occurs there is claim - if there is no claim do the insurers refund the premium? What idiot (sorry) would want to put themselves through the stress of doing a pilots job - not me, had a try and decided I liked my hair.

I wonder how the instigator of this thread would be in a strange port with very scanty data but had to berth his ship using the port equipment (tug etc.) where English (or Gaelic) was not the first language. If he had an incident would it be "Master" error or Master assisted, or would the tugs be at fault or communications to blame. No!!!!

I know I am going to get into trouble for the above, but after reading the comments I just couldn't ressist it.

I was present at the incidents mentioned by "MArconi Sahib" where the "pilot" (New Britain) took about 3 hours to shift ship (usually less than an hour) wa sthe first. The second was shifting back to our original berth, the pilot was late, we "singled up", the gate was in sight of the bridge and as soon as the pilot appeared at the gate the Old Man ordered the "gangway" stowed and "let go fwd & aft" and did the job himself in about an hour. As Kris said the Master was very experienced in the area (and was an extreemly good ship handler) and it was a long, long time ago in a quiet part of the world.

As I said at the beginning of this each to his own, and if veiwing or investigation an incident (as I have) alway take time to think and put yourself in the shoes of the Master, Pilot or person in charge, there, but for the grace of God go I.

Thats All (thank god I hear the cry)

John

Coastie
1st September 2007, 05:19
"We learned later that this was not the first time this pilot had sunk that buoy with (you guessed it) that line boat." - Ha ha! Priceless, Captain!

stein
1st September 2007, 07:40
Thanks Ventry, you've provoked a great thread. Absolutely fascinating reading! As someone who never got beyond taking orders at the wheel, and have no deep-rooted allegiances in any camp, I can only congratulate both sides on keeping their anger reasonably well contained and their comments both eloquent and reasonably to the point. I think you can be trusted with command the lot of you!
I liked Dave Edges posting demanding Captain's responsibility for observable Pilot error (already applauded by Steve Woodward). Reading of a number of accidents, recently a Norwegian fast ferry and an East German tanker, both grounding with resultant great tragedy, it seems obvious to me that a lot of lives could have been spared if clearly wrong decisions had been contested by those not first in command. I myself was once told as an OS at the wheel not to change course to avoid a collision with a fishing boat, and didn't; it turned out when we missed him by inches that there was no one on the fisherman's bridge. My judgement on it is that I would have been guilty of murder had we not missed him. No pilot in that story, but I take it to be relevant to Dave Edge's point. (Is there a thread on mutiny in the forum somewhere?)
Anyway, thank you all for what's really very good reading. (It wouldn't have been so without the anger!). Regards, Stein.

Hugh Ferguson
1st September 2007, 08:21
Re:- Captain's contribution (Last Page), regarding "best and worst piloting" witnessed in the Port of Calcutta.

Go to Search box in GALLERY-type in, Hooghly bore. This should bring you to a photograph of said phenomenon, and a description of that manouvre.

shad
1st September 2007, 09:46
Something abaht chuckin the first stone comes to mind.
Doug

The Captain
1st September 2007, 11:18
Yes Hugh, the bore is something to behold and your description adequately describes the operation, those who have been to Calcutta will understand, for those who haven't they should read your description. I'm afraid for me to describe the operation would take almost as long as the operation itself. I just believe that those pilots were the best I have ever seen and I never heard of a vessel being damaged, mind you we had very big fenders. I have one correction to make to my previous thread and that is it was Kiddapore dock not KGV dock, apologies for lapse of memory, I dont think there were any mooring buos in KGV dock but again I may be wrong (Master assisted error). Calcutta to a young man in the 60's was a wonderous place full of the mystique of India once you got used to the smells, with one of the best markets in the world - maybe for another thread.

John

Hugh Ferguson
1st September 2007, 11:52
Worth noting that the job of berthing the ships on the Garden Reach buoys fell to the Harbour Masters who boarded on arrival in that Reach, and took over from the pilot who had brought the ship in from the Sandheads.
There's a fascinating account of life on the Hooghly, by H.Beattie, a retired Hooghly pilot. The book was published in 1935 and my copy cost £2, signed by the author.
On ABE books site I note only one is for sale (in a Brecon book-shop), price, £50!

tell
5th September 2007, 01:08
I was an ab on the wheel of a tanker approaching suez when the pilot come aboard, he asked the Skipper how she steered, he replied oh she's not too bad, the pilot wagged his finger at the Skipper and said Nooo captain this is a very bad steering ship, I remember her as the Cliona of Shell, the pilot was right she was a wh*re to steer

Bill Davies
15th September 2007, 08:00
Berthed at one of the two SBMs at Zirku Island in 2005. The operation was a nightmare. I aborted berthing and demanded a replacement Pilot due to my decision on the Pilots incompetence. As one can imagine this caused a major problem resulting in the No.1 Pilot transferring with a more Senior Pilot on a ship in the other berth. All parties concerned were more interested in the 4 hours downtime. My owners were furious with me. Within the month, total vindication, when same Pilot positioned himself to windward on approach and ran over the SBM. SBM out of commission for 10 days and VLCC to Dubai for tpy repairs. Understand Senior Pilot got into trouble as well as he should not have allowed a man still under training (not known to me during my incident) to berth a partially loaded ULCC drawing 19.5 mtrs and only 'topping off' at Zirku. Interested to debate the handling characterisyics between berthing at SBMs in the 'light' and 'loaded' condition.
Serious debate please as I am not interested in following in the vein of the foregoing posts where the air got a little thin.