Seafarers Campaign for ‘Ladder Safety’, Write Letter, After Pilot Ladder Death


Following the death of a New York pilot back in December 2019, the American Pilots’ Association on behalf of around 1.200 American ship pilots, recently conducted a letter to the US State Pilotage Authorities concerning pilots’ safety, reports Safety4Sea.

Meanwhile, another report published in Safety4Sea highlights that the Seafarers International House (SIH) has announced that they are joining the Dangerous Ladders campaign, after the death of a veteran Sandy Hook ship pilot, who fell from an accommodation ladder.

The Accident in Question

Specifically, the New York pilot lost his life as he fell while boarding an inbound containership on December 30, 2019.

In this case, the embarkation was via a combination arrangement of an accommodation ladder and a pilot ladder. This combination involved a trapdoor leading the pilot to pull himself up while also twisting to ensure proper footing on the platform. In his attempt to achieve this difficult maneuver, the pilot fell.

IMO Guidelines Not Followed

Seafarers International House joins Dangerous Ladders campaign

Despite the fact that the IMO guidelines are against trapdoors since they are considered to be unsafe, they are usually used onboard several ships with ladder-pilot accommodation.

The Letter Urging Action

On behalf of the 1,200 pilots in the U.S. state pilotage system, we are asking for your help in bringing about a swift end to this dangerous situation by taking responsible measures, including, but not limited to, the ones proposed below, to protect the safety of the pilots under your jurisdiction.

…the Association noted through its letter.

For the records, 9 years ago the IMO revised the SOLAS pilot transfer regulation (SOLAS V/23) and its implementing guidelines (Res. A.1045) in response to continuing complaints about unsafe pilot transfer arrangements.

“Against this background, it is frustrating, and now tragic, that pilots continue to encounter, and have to deal with, trapdoor arrangements like the one found on the ship from which Captain Sherwood fell. BUT, it doesn’t have to be this way. Complying with Regulation 23 and Resolution A.1045 is not an expensive proposition. Replacing or retrofitting equipment to meet the standards would not be a significant project”

…the Association marked.

Seafarers Join  Dangerous Ladder Campaign

The Seafarers International House stated that it is taking part in the campaign to pressure the International Maritime Organization to solve the issue of dangerous ladders and build a safer environment for ship pilots.

It should be reminded that the Sandy Hook ship pilot lost his life when he fell during a boarding of an inbound containership at the Port of New York and New Jersey, on Monday, December 30.

The Dangerous Ladders campaign was launched in September 2019, representing a global initiative to improve the safety of pilot transfer arrangements and in particular the safe rigging of pilot ladders.

Pilot Ladder Safety Issues

A recent report published by IMPA in 2018 concerning a Pilot Ladder Safety survey revealed that:

  • Vessels still do not comply with basic standards;
  • Many fake ladders are sold to unsuspecting vessels;
  • Classification Societies certify non-compliant arrangements;
  • Port State Control officers sign off vessels on the basis of certificates without even sighting the ladders;
  • Inadequate boarding arrangements are prepared by poorly motivated crews often without officer supervision.

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Source: Safety4Sea. Safety4Sea


  1. I have a system designed to vastly improve Pilot Safety during ship transfer, no more Jacobs Ladders. I have a Technical Paper and CAD drawings. All design considerations and engineering complete.

    • Great than you for reading and commenting sir. You can send us your paper at [email protected] if you like it to be published with due credits.
      We may publish it if we find it useful for seafarers and shippers.

      Thank you,
      Team Mfame


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