Section Committee Reports

In support of the Chairman SC members do much unheralded work on behalf of members. during the last quarter both Mike Robarts & Peter Wylie have attended important meetings.  JCB

Mike Robarts (Harwich)

Region 2

The UK Major Ports Group reception.

The 4th Annual UK Ports Conference

An All Parliamentary Party Ports and Maritime Group (APPPMG) meeting at Westminster Palace.

The 4th Annual UK Ports Conference in London was well attended by delegates from the maritime and ports industry including Port Directors and Managers Lawyers, Environmental Societies, Marine and Transport consultants.  Also attending were representatives from the DfT, MCA and Members of Parliament.

The presentations covered a wide range of port activities including Parliamentary action, existing and pending legislation, port development, traffic levels and predicted developments for the future. A presentation given by a transport consultant revealed that traffic levels in ports have dropped to those experienced in the late nineties but noted that ship sizes are continuing to increase.  This obviously impacts on pilots as we continue to pilot ever increasing ship sizes in navigational areas of the same size.

The theme then moved on to new and existing legal legislation affecting port development and the governance of CHA’s which led to the topic of the government’s ‘Cut the Red Tape Challenge’.  The topic was opened for debate  and a number of comments were made regarding the challenge and particularly the current statutory Acts,

The large number of submissions from pilots was noted by one delegate and other comments made by the panel referred to the responses urging for more regulations in the ports and maritime sector rather than taking them away or relaxing them!

The panel of speakers specifically noted the input from UKMPA members in defending public safety, the safety of navigation in our ports, and the 1987 Pilotage Act all emphasising the importance of properly regulated pilotage.  This to me demonstrates the correct action taken by the UKMPA Chairman in briefing members and the subsequent action that the Association has taken with respect to participation in the ‘Cut the Red Tape Challenge’.

Attendance at the conference ensured not only a visible presence of the UKMPA but more importantly provided the opportunity to publicly challenge representatives from the DfT and Members of Parliament over the issues raised.

Attending these forums leaves me in no doubt that the Association is functioning  in the most appropriate professional manner to best represent members’ interests. It is vitally important that such visible presence and input is maintained.

Peter Wylie (Tees)

Vice Chairman & Region 3


It is now nearly twelve years since the first set of National Occupational Standards (NOS) for marine pilots were published in July 2000. These have recently been updated at Port Skills and Safety (PSS) by a panel including UKMPA, UK Harbour Masters, The Port Organisations and “Skills for Justice”. The format for all NOS used in the UK is strictly controlled, Skills for Justice were brought in by PSS as a government owned organisation who are experts in writing NOS in the correct format.

The rewritten NOS went out for wider consultation in November as publicised in UKMPA circular 18/2011. All of the replies to this consultation were analysed in Mid-December by the panel which included the UKMPA and UKMPA Technical and Training committee. Thank you to all of you who replied. The changes have now been made to the document which will be published on the PSS website in the very near future The main change to the NOS is that now we are given “performance criteria” i.e. things we must be able to do, and “Knowledge criteria” i.e. things we must know and understand, for each of the nine elements which formed the basis of the original NOS.

The NOS can then be used by any port as a basis for pilot training, in fact on reading them you will all find that you probably use most of the elements when you train your pilots already. For example all pilots on the Tees are given a copy, and although our training is not based on the elements nothing is missed. They are deliberately written in a way that new regulation and guidance can be incorporated seamlessly. For example, if a new boarding and landing code is written simply use that one instead of the old one. The NOS should be reviewed at intervals of about five years so if anyone finds any errors please let Technical and Training Committee (T&TC) know.

The next stage is to work towards establishing a “Certificate of Competency” for marine pilots, which will be overseen by the MCA. This is already in progress with the UK Harbour Masters and we can hopefully learn from their problems and follow not too far behind. It is very early days and UKMPA will be fully involved especially the T&TC who can tie in their work on Continued Professional Development with any certificate. Please respond to any requests for ideas from T&TC as they come up so that we can make the certificate one that we actually want to own.

Richard Steele head of Port Skills and Safety should be making a presentation at conference in Harrogate, as will T&TC Chairman, Jonathan Mills, and myself so please try to attend or send any questions to your representatives.


Further to a qualification for pilots Don recently corresponded with Peter Hughes from Middlesex University who has outlined how such a qualification might be structured overleaf

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