November 24, 2023
Pictured: a pilot boat underway in rough weather. Photograph supplied by the Australasian Marine Pilots Institute.

Mid West Ports warns on pilot ladders for ships calling Geraldton

By Shipping Australia

The Mid West Ports Authority has become aware of several recent incidents related to the failure of pilot ladders and their associated equipment. Investigations have revealed that these incidents have occurred due to poor condition, improper rigging, lack of supervision and awareness of safety requirements, inadequate maintenance  and other similar factors.

Effective 21st November, all vessels calling the Port of Geraldton must comply with the following requirements:

Pilot ladders: maximum age
Pilot ladders must not be older than 30 months from the date of manufacture as per the original maker’s certificate, unless the ladder has been subjected to the ladder and step attachment strength test (as prescribed in ISO 799-1:2019) at not more than 30-month intervals. Evidence of this test, where conducted, must be retained on board for verification purposes.

Pilot ladders must be inspected by the vessel’s crew before every use and should be replaced if found to be unsuitable, even if the pilot ladder is less than 30 months old, from the date of manufacture. Pilot ladders with side-ropes made of ‘Sisal’ will not be acceptable.

Manropes: maximum age
Manropes used with pilot ladders must not be older than 12 months from date of manufacture as per the original maker’s certificate. The man ropes must be of the correct  diameter and construction, in good condition and properly secured to the vessel’s deck. The man ropes must be inspected by the vessel’s crew before every use and should be replaced if found to be unsuitable, even if the age of the man ropes is less than 12 months old from the date of manufacture.

Maximum age: rope stoppers
The maximum age of ‘rope stoppers’ used for securing the Pilot ladder to the deck strongpoints must not be more than 12 months from the date of first usage and not more than 30 months from date of manufacture as per the original maker’s certificate. Side ropes should not be secured to the deck by shackles. It is recommended that the pilot ladder side ropes should be secured to the approved deck strong points via rope stoppers, which are lashed to the side ropes using a ‘rolling hitch’. It is recommended that at least two strong manila ropes (24 kN or more each) should be used to secure the pilot ladder to the approved strong points. The rope stoppers must be inspected by the vessel’s crew before every use and should be replaced if found to be unsuitable, even if the age of the man ropes is less than 12 months old from the date of first usage.

All vessels must maintain relevant certificates for the pilot ladder, man ropes and rope stoppers onboard and these must be produced when requested by the Mid-West Port Authority.

Additionally, Vessel operators, Masters and crew should ensure that:

  • Pilot ladders in use onboard are SOLAS compliant and are in good condition, with certification, inspection and maintenance records made available upon request
  • Recommendations of the IMO Pilot ladder poster are to be strictly adhered to
  • Pilot Ladder Poster
  • Rigging of pilot ladders and associated equipment, must be carried out by properly trained and competent crew. After being rigged, the pilot ladder arrangement must be inspected by a responsible officer.
  • Detailed guidance must be provided in company procedures for the vessel’s crew to rig pilot ladders, carry out proper inspections and remove pilot ladders from service when non-compliances are found.
  • Vessel operators should provide guidance on the storage of pilot ladders, manropes and rope stoppers, to ensure that they are not exposed to contaminants or elements that will degrade them.
  • Maintenance routines for the pilot ladders and all associated equipment such as, stanchions, shackles, manropes, deck fittings, rope stoppers, etc., must be included in the vessel’s Planned Maintenance System (PMS).
  • Masters must ensure that the “Geraldton Port – Pilot Ladder Checklist – Ship Master’s Declaration” is accurate completed and submitted at least four working days prior each arrival to Geraldton. E-mail to sh******@mi**********.au

For additional guidance for rigging and maintenance of pilot ladders, man ropes, rope stoppers and associated equipment, the following documents should be referred to:

• ISO 799 -1 Pilot Ladders – Design and Specification
• ISO 799 -2 Pilot Ladders – Maintenance, Use, Survey, and Inspection
• ISO 799 -3 Pilot Ladders: Attachments and associated equipment
• AMSA Marine Notice 04/2023—Pilot transfer arrangements (or superseding notices)
• SOLAS Chapter V Regulation 23•o IMO Circulars MSC.1/Circ.1428 and MSC.1/Circ.1495
• IMO Resolution A.1108(29) and IMO Resolution A.1045(27)
• ARCSOPT – Technical-Guideline-03-23-Marine-Pilot-Transfer-Arrangements.pdf (arcsopt.org)
• AMSA Marine Notice – 04/2023 – Pilot transfer arrangements (amsa.gov.au)
• AMSA Marine Notice – 18/2016—Danger with the use of weighted heaving lines (amsa.gov.au)

Any questions or feedback regarding this Local Marine Notice should be addressed to the Mid West Port Authority Marine Operations Team.

 

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