Ships Nostalgia banner

1 - 20 of 316 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
As a Pilot for 26 years the relationship between Pilot and Master has always facinated me. When a Pilot is defined as being a person not of the crew who has conduct of a vessel, in a port where Pilotage is compulsory if the Master over rules the Pilot in any way the Pilot ceases to have the conduct of the ship and therefore ceases to be a Pilot as defined. The Master would then be in breach of the Port regulations which say he must have a Pilot onboard. The simple answer is that the Master is always in ultimate charge, but is he? What do members think?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2 Posts
I am suprised you don't know that the Master is always in charge of his vessel and the pilot gives advice having knowledge of the local area, tides etc. Exceptions are some American ports where the Pilot takes command. I believe Panama Canal was also.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
As I said in the begining the simple answer is the Master but I don't think it's that simple in law, for a Pilot to be a Pilot he must have conduct of the ship if he is there simply to give advice for the Master, to take or not as he sees fit how can he have conduct of the ship? if he doesn't have conduct of the ship how can he be a pilot? In a port where it is compulsory for the Master to have a Pilot onboard the law in very complex as to who is actually in charge of the vessel.
 

·
Malim Sahib Moderator
Joined
·
8,602 Posts
Jeff,
You raise an interesting point. It's something that's always struck me as one of the greatest inadequacies of Maritime law.
If something goes wrong, the Master is very much in a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't situation'. He can't win. He'll either get hauled over the coals for not following the Pilots advice, or he'll get the same treatment for following it too well!
In this day and age where most coastal states are spending more and more time dedicated to inventing new laws and regulations to try and get Masters and Officers thrown in to jail for fun then there should be an IMO ruling on the matter.
If Coastal states/authorities make Pilotage mandatory, then, in my opinion, the Pilot/Authority should share a good deal/all of the blame if an incident occurs, as is the case in Panama.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
691 Posts
Was it not always TMOPA, ie To Masters Orders and Pilots Advise? You,re point Jeff is very valid. Maybe a maritime lawyer can give the answer. I don,t think so. Regards Colin
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,034 Posts
It's been a long time since I was at sea but I know if I was on the wheel or engine room telegraph when a pilot was on board, if the captain and pilot gave different orders I would have without question obeyed the captain.

There used to be a saying amongst seamen that in ship's articles the captain of a ship was responsible only to God, I don't know if that's true or not but I feel sure that the ultimate responsibility for what happened, regardless what went wrong, and whose fault it was, the captain wore the blame.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
When I was at sea it was always TMO&PA in the bridge log book when entering moving or leaving port with a Pilot onboard but what about the law? In my Pilotage district once it became compulsory in 1988 any merchant ship over 50 metres in length had to have onboard a Pilot or a Pilot exemption certificate holder while moving, sailing or arriving. The exemption holder had to be a member of the ships crew but not necessarily the Master. In fact while in the pilotage district there was no particular requirement for the master to be onboard at all, but the Pilot or exemption holder was compulsory. If there is no Master onboard who do I advise?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,951 Posts
I always thought the expression was "Vessel to Master's Orders on Pilot's Advice" - "on" rather than "and"?

I believe the big difference from the "old days" today is the word "accountability" in the legal sense - pilots can no longer say "I was there to give the Master advice, he didn't have to take it"!!

Have a look at the following site (Maritime Safety Queensland) - quite an interesting pilotage incident out of Townsville on a passenger ship ......
www.msq.qld.gov.au/qt/MSQ.nsf/ReferenceLookup/m3_6_2004.pdf (application/pdf Object)

----------------------
Mike.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
What if there is no Master onboard? This has happened in my career on many, many occasions, probebly hundreds of times on various types of vessel. Does the Pilot suddenly become in charge, dont forget the by-laws make it compulsory for the Pilot to be in attendance but not the Master.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,864 Posts
With no master does the mate hold the same responsibility, unless of course he was't
there either, a vessel without a master how did they get away with it, does insurance come into the equation. You say hundreds of times with no master, why bother to have one and save his salary.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I am talking about ships moving within a compulsory pilotage district, of course a ship going to sea would need to have the required number of certificates onboard, but a ship moving from berth to berth or undocking from a drydock to the quay? I have moved plenty without a Master or Mate onboard even on more than one occasion with a Master onboard who didn't want his ship to be moved but I was under orders from the Port Authority to do it anyway and the Masters reluctantly went along with the move.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I'm sure you are correct Thunderd if the Master and Pilot give different orders the crew will certainly carry out the Masters orders and quite right too, but I think in law at that moment the Pilot ceases to be a Pilot as he no longer has the conduct of the vessel and whatever happens from then on is the sole responsibility of the master and if anything goes wrong the Pilot can use the defence of having had the conduct of the ship taken from him. As for the web site Emmesstee, having read it I agree the master can take over from the Pilot at any time as stated above but he puts himself in a very vunerable position by doing so, the pilot, in law ceases to be a Pilot and the master finds himself in a Compulsory Pilotage district with effectivly no Pilot. If I was the master of a ship in a compulsory district I would place myself in the hands of the pilot completely until such time the Pilot gave me grounds for great concern.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
691 Posts
Following few lines from the Handy Book for Shipowners and Masters dated 1964.Quote:" A pilot employed voluntarily to navigate the ship is considered for that purpose the servant of the shipowner and the latter is therefore answerable for a collision caused by the pilot,s negligence. Prior to the Pilotage Act of 1913 a compulsory pilot was not considered a servant of the shipowner, and the only person answerable for a collision was the Pilot himself. The Pilotage Act 1913 abolished the defence of compulsory pilotage within the territorial waters of the UK and Isle of Man and makes the owner of the vessel answerable for the Pilot,s negligence. Whether a pilot is compulsory or not the master remains in command of the shipand,if necessary, he is not only entitled but bound to take the navigation out of the hands of the pilot." Unquote. I believe on this coast (West Coast Canada) that pilots give a bond and are not liable for neglect beyond the penalty of the bond. Regards Colin
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Hi, R5******** No we were called away suddenly to look after our Grand kids in Kent while our daughter in law was in hospital all fine again now but we are a bit behind on Xmas shopping.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Colin, The 1913 Pilotage act is now abolished and was replaced by the (I think) 1987 Pilotage act. I think the if necessary bit is the important bit, as I said before a wise Master would wait and only take command of the situation if the Pilot gives him cause for concern. It would be unfair for a Master to interfere with the Pilot doing his job without good cause and then blame the Pilot if things go wrong.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
691 Posts
Yes Jeff it would be a foolish master who would do so. I do recall on the West African Coast that the Old Man used to take over but thats a different matter! Regards Colin
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
954 Posts
Jeff,

a question that I've often considered is who is the pilot actually working for?
Is it the Master, the owner or the CHA? As most of us are now salaried to a CHA it becomes rather complicated!

regards
Dave
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Dave, I was always self employed, but understood that I was working for the shipowner while actually piloting a vessel, I suppose a Pilot employed by a CHA would be like sub contracted to the shipowner but I'm not sure of the actually relationship. What always fascinated me was the situation were a Master was compelled to take on a Pilot who is an employee of the Port authority and during the act of Pilotage damage was done to say a port Authority quay and the ship would be liable for the damage.
 
1 - 20 of 316 Posts
Top