Whilst I have been compiling the copy for this issue, the phone hacking scandal has been unfolding and it has been fascinating to see all those who only a few weeks ago were desperate to court favour with the News International executives now scattering in panic to distance themselves from Murdoch and Brooks as their house of cards collapses! Read the rest of this entry »

Editorial: Spring 2011


The annual insurance renewal demand in January saw a few more  pilots deciding to withdraw from the UKMPA. What is it about our insurance that these pilots don’t understand? Read the rest of this entry »

Editorial: winter 2010

As you will note from the adjacent article the UKMPA has a new Chairman. Read the rest of this entry »

Editorial Summer 2010

As I am compiling this issue, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster is still in the news and although the flow of oil from the well has been stopped by a temporary cap, they are still drilling the relief well in order to hopefully provide a permanent end to the leak and we all hope that this will be a successful operation. Read the rest of this entry »

Editorial April 2010


The criminalisation of seafarers continues to cause increasing concern throughout the Industry and pilots cannot ignore this worrying trend. Read the rest of this entry »

Editorial January 2010

Welcome to 2010 and to this 300th issue of The PILOT. Read the rest of this entry »



As I predicted in the July issue, the operators of the Cosco Busan, Fleet Managment, have come to an agreement with the prosecutors to make an out of court settlement of a fine rather than face a court case and possible jail term. Read the rest of this entry »

Editorial July 2009

From the outset it was evident that the media frenzy in America, following the Cosco Busan allision with the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, would ensure that the role of the pilot, John Cota, would be subjected to detailed scrutiny. What wasn’t anticipated was that criminal negligence charges would be brought against him to which he subsequently pleaded guilty in a plea bargaining agreement. The court’s decision to impose the maximum possible 10 month prison sentence on the pilot, has set an alarming precedent which has profound implications for all pilots worldwide. As criminal charges commence against a pilot in France, all pilotage organisations need to work together to decide how we can address this issue. As Australian pilot and IMPA vice president, Steve Pelecanos, aptly states:

“We need to send a strong message to industry that it is an inherent part of the human condition to make mistakes and pilots, like all humans, are capable of making mistakes. If, as an international maritime industry, we are to acknowledge that the criminalisation of pilots who make mistakes is acceptable, then we must be prepared to accept the potential detrimental impact this might have on international trade”.

Every day around the world, thousands of pilotage acts ensure that the world’s trade keeps moving with the minimum of delay. Many of these acts will be undertaken in challenging conditions at the limits of operational parameters. Pilots are expected to cope with such conditions but the considerable skills employed and stress endured go totally unremarked when the ship is berthed alongside and cargo operations commence! Although the Master and Officers of the Cosco Busan received immunity from prosecution by cooperating with the NTSB enquiry, the ship operators, Fleet Management are facing court proceedings later this year. They will no doubt argue that the pilot has admitted liability and walk away after paying a nominal fine. With the shipping industry’s opinion of pilots generally low, John Cota’s fate will inevitably fade rapidly from the headlines but I, for one, will be thinking of him and his family throughout his prison ordeal, especially when piloting in marginal conditions!

Editorial April 2009

This quarter’s feature focuses on four MAIB reports into Fog related incidents. Tragically, one of these resulted in the loss of three lives on board a tug which capsized whilst towing in fog. Read the rest of this entry »


As I compile this issue the world is rightly hailing pilot Sullenberger of US Airlines a hero for his skill in landing his crippled airliner on the Hudson River. Read the rest of this entry »

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