Chairman’s Report Issue 325: John Pearn



Dangerous pilot ladders, and issues arising from them, continue to cross my desk on a daily basis. If you have trouble staying awake at night, you might want to consider joining the Dangerous Ladders Facebook group. Only recently a pilot was boarding a container vessel using a combination arrangement when the ladder parted at deck level. The pilot fell onto the deck of the pilot boat closely followed by 10 metres of pilot ladder on top of him. The initial report from the inspectors concluded the pilot boat must have caught the ladder. This was quickly rebuffed by the pilots, as they had video evidence showing clearly that the pilot boat never touched the ladder. The inspector might like to remember the phrase “assumptions should not be made on the basis of scanty information…” Please continue to report any defective arrangements to UKMPA and the MCA, using the report form on the UKMPA website

The IEC course is continuing to prove to be extremely popular, to date over 80 courses have been run training more than 700 maritime personnel. It is an extremely relevant course for all people working on or near the water, and it will save lives. If your port has not yet booked a course, now is the time to press them. There are still some dates available in 2019 with refresher courses commencing in 2020. Further details can be found on

On a similar theme the IMPA Pilot ladder Survey will again be taking place this year from 1 st to 14 th October. The UK achieved one of the largest numbers of responses last year. Thank you for all of you who contributed. With nearly 3000 submissions made globally. It is pleasing to note that this survey is now being quoted by other important industry stakeholders, both internationally and within the UK, and the issue of dangerous ladders is slowly beginning to get the attention it needs. This is, however, only the start of the journey. To assist with the survey this year, an app has been developed by IMPA, that will enable you to complete the survey from your smart phone. Details will be sent out very soon.

At the UKMPA conference, this year in Bristol we had to bid farewell to two stalwart colleagues. Bob Watt, who retired from Forth Pilots and Section Committee, has set off for a sunny retirement in the south of Spain with his motorbike and eternally patient wife Helen. I wish them both well. I would also like to extend my best wishes to Drew Smith, and his wife Val. Drew recently retired from Circle Insurance having helped pilots for nearly three decades. Due to the confidential nature of insurance claims we cannot publicise the outcomes.

Be assured, there are many pilots, and families that have greatly benefitted from the UKMPA insurances. This in no small part is due to Ken Pound and Drew Smith’s tenacious support of the claims submitted. Drew’s replacement, Ian Storm was introduced to delegates at the conference, and he is very keen that the high level of support will continue.

Plans are now being finalised for next year’s joint UKMPA and EMPA conference in Liverpool which will run from 21 st to 24 th May, when we will also take the opportunity to celebrate 125 years of the Manchester Ship Canal. We will be joined by pilots from all over Europe, as well as from many other parts of the world. It promises to be a spectacular event, culminating in a black tie, gala dinner at the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. Details can be found on the website www.ukmpa. org/empa2019 Registration will be opening in the next few weeks. It is not often you get the chance to attend a 125 th birthday party, so don’t miss this opportunity. If work prevents you from attending the entire event, please let us know and we can make arrangements so you can attend part of the event. You are all personally invited, and I hope to see as many of you as possible in Liverpool.

As this edition was going to press, I received the very sad news that Harry Hignett, a retired Manchester pilot and honorary life member of the UKMPA, had passed away. Harry’s interest and involvement in the UKMPA extended well into retirement. His lasting legacy will be his excellent book, 21 Centuries of Marine Pilotage: The History of the United Kingdom Maritime Pilots’ Association. He will be sadly missed by his many friends and former colleagues, we extend our sincerest condolences to his family at this sad time.

Leave a Reply

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