Enhancing Safety Of Pilot Transfer Arrangements: IMO’s Revised Regulations

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Despite the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) efforts to improve pilot transfer arrangements (PTA) safety, accidents continue to occur. Contributing factors include unsafe equipment, improper rigging, and inadequate maintenance. To address these issues, the IMO is revising PTA requirements, with new regulations expected to be adopted in 2024 and enforced by 2028.

Key Amendments and Implementation

The draft amendments to SOLAS, Regulation V/23, aim to improve PTA safety and are set for adoption at the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) 109. Key points include mandatory compliance for PTAs installed after January 1, 2028, with existing PTAs required to meet new standards by their first survey after January 1, 2029. Voluntary early implementation is encouraged, but states must avoid imposing new requirements before the official date.

Operational Readiness and Training

New provisions mandate regular inspections, maintenance, and proper stowage of PTAs. Pilot ladders and manropes must be replaced within 36 months of manufacture or 30 months of use, with repairs prohibited. Proper training for personnel handling PTAs is now explicitly required to ensure safety and compliance.

Design, Manufacturing, and Construction Standards

The amendments introduce stricter design and construction standards for PTAs. These include specific requirements for rope diameters, securing arrangements, and marking for identification. The strength requirements for securing points and ropes have been doubled to enhance safety, and detailed documentation must be maintained for inspection.

While the new requirements impose additional responsibilities on shipowners, they address critical safety issues and reduce operational uncertainties. Ensuring the use of genuine, certified equipment is essential to prevent the use of counterfeit ladders, which has been a growing concern. These measures ultimately enhance the safety and efficiency of maritime operations.

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Source: BIMCO