Latest Pilot Deaths Prompt USCG Safety Call


  • Recent deaths of maritime pilots while embarking commercial vessels highlights the operational risks.
  • As a result, the USCG has issued marine safety information bulletin 21-20 reiterating recommendation for pilot transfer arrangements.

The US Coast Guard Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance has published MSIB 21-20 Change 1 “Recommendation for Pilot Transfer Arrangements,” in light of recent deaths of maritime pilots while embarking commercial vessels, reports Ship Insight.

Pilot Transfer Arrangements

To ensure the safety of all personnel boarding a vessel at sea, USCG strongly recommends that owners and operators of vessels, regardless of vessel build date, follow the guidelines within IMO Resolution A.1045(27) – Pilot Transfer Arrangements.

For vessels with equipment and arrangements installed on or after July 1, 2012, combination arrangements involving a trapdoor configuration are required to comply with SOLAS Chapter V, Regulation

While the renewal of pilot transfer equipment (i.e., pilot ladder) on existing vessels does not require the reconfiguration of the trapdoor arrangement, the Coast Guard strongly recommends the upgrade of any trapdoor configuration arrangement to meet the guidelines of IMO Resolution A.1045(27).

SOLAS compliance

For vessels registered in the US, Coast Guard marine inspectors and classification society surveyors verify pilot transfer arrangements during initial construction.

Any changes in the approved configuration should be brought to the attention of the local Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) or the classification society surveyor, if applicable, in order to verify that the pilot transfer arrangement is in compliance with SOLAS Chapter V, Regulation 23.

Following the death of a New York pilot in December 2019, the American Pilots’ Association on behalf of around 1,200 American ship pilots, conducted a letter to the US State Pilotage Authorities calling for action on pilots’ safety.

Read More: APA recommends changes to pilot operations to improve safety

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Source: Ship Insight


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