126th UKMPA Conference: Mike Robarts


Members and guests arrived at the Queen Hotel in Chester on the afternoon of the 25 November 2014 for a cruise hosted by Carmet Tugs on the Manchester Ship Canal. Meeting at Eastom lock on the Wirral we boarded two tugs the MSC Victory and MSC Viceroy and departed for Runcorn docks.

conf 2


On board we were treated to refreshments and some Manchester Ship Canal Pilots kindly gave commentary about where we were and the various berths we passed and local trades. Whilst on board it allowed our sponsors Transas and Navicom, PPU suppliers, to give demonstrations. After returning tothe Eastham lock we departed and returned to the hotel for an evening meal and a get-together, allowing colleagues to catch up.

The next morning was devoted to Association business. We had reports from Don Cockrill, our Chairman, and the election of Mike Morris as Vice Chairman to accompany John Pearn. The Association had decided that the increased work load and a pressing need for coverage of events and meetings warranted another Vice Chairman; Mike and John are Vice Presidents of EMPA and IMPA. Their appointment shows the strength of the Association. The meeting approved rule changes already notified to members.

The Section Committee received reports from delegates on financial matters, membership, the Association website update and the Association journal. The Chairman of the Technical and Training Committee Nick Lee’s presentation explained the work of his team. There are still two vacancies for the T&TC for which members are urged to apply.Londonderry Pilots Billy Kelly and Michael Heagerty thanked us for our support.

Conf 3 bm


Bobby Morton of Unite, National Officer for Docks, Waterways, Ferries and Railways, told us about how he started with Unite and about the action the Union is taking in lobbying against the EU Ports Services Regulation and proposed changes to Accident investigations for serious maritime incidents. Bobby will meet Executives of the Association to address some of the questions raised by members.

conf 4 ds

Drew Smith of Circle Insurance, who are the brokers for members’ insurance, reported on the current negotiations with underwriters and appraisals of current claims. He also spoke directly about making a claim and the differences and rationale between policies. He stressed the importance of new members at the start of a contract assessing sick cover provided by their employers, pointing out the advantage of new joiners taking out the weekly payment cover to supplement this.

Mike Morris, Vice Chairman of the Association and a Vice President of EMPA, gave a report on the proposed EU Ports Regulation. There has been a change of the EU Commission Presidency as well as in key roles in the EU Commission. The former Vice President of the EU Commission in charge of Transport, Sim Kallas of Estonia, has now left. He was one of the driving forces behind the EU Ports Regulation, but is now replaced by Violeta Blac from Slovenia, who is tasked with advancing the work on TEN-T, which will include the EU Ports Regulation. Knut Fleckenstien has been reappointed Rapporteur and Phillip Bradbourne from the UK is one of the Shadow Rapporteurs.

The Rapporteur has recommended that Pilotage be included in Article II of Chapter 2, which would mean that passenger services, cargo handling and pilotage would be exempt from market access; however, the concern is that the Commission do not like this and instead have agreed that Member States Pilotage should be included in Article 11a where, by way of derogation, the member state may recognise the specific nature of Pilotage and may notify the Commission of their exemption. So there is still a lot to do to convince the EU Parliamentary Transport Committee to adopt Knut Fleckenstien’s original proposal. EMPA keeps up the pressure to effect this.

conf 4 sp


Simon Pelletier

Guest delegates Nick Cutmore, IMPA General Secretary, and Simon Pelletier, President of IMPA, addressed fellow membersand outlined the work carried out, especially at the recent IMO conference, regarding pilot ladders. He told a relieved audience that the proposal to make pilots climb a much higher length of ladder had been defeated.

During the afternoon Timothy Crowch ASSM and Matt Easton of Liverpool Pilots, who are course leaders for the Liverpool Marine Resource Management course, hosted a module on ‘Decision Making’ and the factors that influence it. This was a most worthwhile exercise and, as with other technical presentations, counted towards a pilot’s continual professional development. We then heard Paul Morter of BMT Argoss who spoke of developments in training simulation.

conf 6

The final session was a briefing by Dr Nick Gent, a consultant in Health Protection at Public Health England, on the Ebola epidemic. He explained the symptoms of Ebola, how it can be transmitted, how the virus survives, the risks it poses and the basic hygiene people can use to prevent its being transmitted.

Afterwards we sat down to a Gala Dinner, at which Honorary Life Memberships were awarded to Harry H. Higgnet and Dave Devey.

conf 7

Dave Devey receives the Honorary Life Membership from Chairman Don Cockrill

The second day of conference saw Mike Harrison, Chairman of PIANC WG 145, give a presentation on berthing speeds for large ships, with particular regard to fendering and how the study had been structured and what its aims were. This research is welcome because of the number of incidents when berthing large ships and the associated damage caused. The WG145 study covers principle vessel types over 30,000DWT and carrying cargoes. The research covered different ranges of tide, dock and locks and different locations across the world, to ensure a range of data collection points so as to offer designers of ships guidelines in the use of appropriate vessel design speeds.

Mark Williams of IG P&I Club shared with delegates the P&I Clubs concerns on pilot related incidents. The International Group of P&I Clubs has over 50 subcommittees working on a range of claims areas from injury to salvage, one of them being pilotage. A major study into pilotage claims began in 2005, the research focusing on claims of $100,000 and above. These claims are then categorised as collision, groundings and FFO and then according to each country where the accident happened. Even though pilot related accidents are low compared to other claims handled by a P&I club they are marked by the high risk in value involved. Mark concluded that the study had found that the errors could be identified as lack of bridge resource management principles not being followed, unsatisfactory passage plans, inadequate Master/Pilot exchanges and A.960 not being implemented in pilot training.

Our Chairman then showed us the Minister’s video message. The Minster apologised for not being able to attend, which was due to parliamentary business that required his presence.

Steve Clinch, Chief Inspector at the MAIB, discussed the purpose behind the MAIB and how it was founded and its principle objective to be a separate investigator from the regulator the MCA. The purpose of any MAIB investigation is to determine cause to improve the safety of life at sea and the avoidance of accidents. Inspectors are drawn from a sea going background and spend three weeks initial training at Cranfield University followed by a two-year accreditation programme. The MAIB receives around 1800 reports a year and follows up on average a third of these, some requiring a field investigation. The MAIB has target times for investigations; its investigations are publicised and are free. The MAIB operates a website and online directory. He explained about how voyage data decoders play a key role in investigations and how new technology in MADAS and integration of multiple VDR evidence help replicate an incident. He then discussed recent pilot related incidents and spoke of how some of the highest number of cases concerned Master/Pilot exchange and Bridge team/Pilot integration.

Ken Dearman, insight manager at the UK Hydrographic Office, introduced developments in hydrographic research. He began his presentation with how surveys were carried out from 1795 by using the traditional ‘lead and line’, highlighting how we now use much higher information inputs from multi-scan computer software. The UKHO is now developing online charting solutions and Port Approaches Guides, very similar to Admiralty Charts but which will be port specific.

conf 8 adm

photo: Peter Adams



UKMPA Member Peter Adams is an Admiralty Pilot and T&TC member and his informative presentation was about the very specialist subject of ‘Dead Ship Towing’, a process common for Admiralty pilots moving vessels and equipment around naval bases. He discussed the movement of large tankers and the configuration of tugs and spoke specifically about the recent accident surrounding the Chiefton and piloting a tow in tideway using a bow tug.
Paul Williams of Trinity House discussed the ACCSEAS project, which looks at maximising information for enavigation, something much needed as the North Sea becomes more congested because of increased shipping, offshore developments and e-Loran. The project aims to identify information essential to mariners that will assist them in navigation planning and monitoring.

All presentations are available to view or download at http://www.ukmpa2014.co.uk/programme.html

Don Cockrill closed the conference and thanked all for participating.

Leave a Reply

UK Maritime Pilots' Association
European Maritime Pilots' Association
Internation Pilots' Association SITE SPONSORS
Navicom Dynamics
OMC International