Pilot Ladder Breakage Incites Fine On Ship Owner and Mooring Master

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Here’s another incident underscoring the importance of pilot ladder maintenance. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) reports that, acting on its behalf, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) has successfully prosecuted a ship’s master and shipping company, following a serious accident involving a ship’s mooring master when he was providing pilot services.

Improper Storage 

The incident occurred May 25, 2023, when the mooring master was providing pilot services on the Panama-flagged 12,198 DWT general cargo ship Boshi 58 was seriously injured when the pilot ladder broke during the transfer.

Both the Boshi 58’s master and the shipping company, Fu Ye Shipping, pleaded guilty and were fined AUD 5,300 and AUD 32,000, respectively for failing to ensure pilot transfer arrangements complied with the relevant Marine Order and the Navigation Act 2012. 

During court proceedings, the CDPP established that the ladder had not been checked regularly and had been improperly stored, leading to degradation to the extent that it became unsafe.

Second Prosecution

This is the second successful prosecution for the CDPP and AMSA on a pilot ladder failure which resulted in injury to the pilot. In June 2023, AAL Dampier Navigation Co Ltd was fined AUD 30,500 for a similar offense.

AMSA executive director of operations Michael Drake said these were preventable accidents that placed the lives of seafarers at significant and unacceptable risk.

Pilots rely on a ship’s master and crew to properly maintain, stow, and rig pilot ladders, and neglecting a pilot ladder can have deadly consequences,” he said.

Drake also highlighted common issues with pilot ladders including instances where they have fallen short of accommodation ladders when used in combination, unsafe use of shackles and failure to regularly inspect, maintain and store pilot ladders appropriately.

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Source: Marinelog