IMPA Safety Campaign: Securing pilot ladders at intermediate length is vital

IMPA Safety Campaign raises awareness of pilot transfer arrangements
IMPA Safety Campaign raises awareness of pilot transfer arrangements to be compliant

The latest International Maritime Pilots’ Association (IMPA) Safety Campaign raises awareness of the need for pilot transfer arrangements to be procured, inspected, maintained and rigged in compliance with SOLAS regulation V/23, taking complete account of the ISO 799 standards. IMPA highlights the need for securing pilot ladders at intermediate length and conduct mandatory training, inspection and maintenance.

The results of the 2023 IMPA Safety Campaign show that historical trends in non-compliance continue. The headline non-compliance rate remains over sixteen percent, and the main determinant of noncompliance remains pilot ladders. Pilot ladder observations are included in more than fifty percent of reports of non-compliant arrangements.

“2023 has been an important year for the safety of pilot transfer arrangements. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is working now to amend SOLAS regulation V/23 and its associated recommendations. This work is anticipated to result in an enhanced and more robust safety regime for pilot transfer arrangements for the benefit of pilots and other users,” said Capt. Adam Roberts, Vice President & Chairman of the IMPA Safety Sub-Committee.

Critical aspects of the proposed amendments speak directly to the results presented here and in previous years. Those aspects are:
– Mandatory requirements and the removal of extensive grandfathering risk
– Approval by Administrations, quality management systems and third-party certification
– Addressing trapdoor arrangements based on ISO 799-3:2022
– Standards alignment between IMO instruments and ISO 799
– Securing pilot ladders at intermediate length
– Mandatory training, inspection and maintenance requirements
– Mandatory maximum service life for pilot ladders and man-ropes
– Amendments to SOLAS Chapter V, Regulation 23

But, these changes are not expected to enter into force until 2028. Following the safety campaign, IMPA concludes the following:
– We consider SOLAS regulation V/23, its associated IMO Assembly resolutions, and the ISO 799 series standards the minimum requirement, not an aspirational target.
– IMPA advocates for pilots not to use and to report arrangements that do not conform to these standards.
– Trapdoor arrangements remain a perennial challenge, and we would encourage more shipowners and operators using them to take proactive steps to provide compliant and safe arrangements based on ISO 799-3:2022.
– Similarly, procurement and maintenance policies focused on quality and a finite service life are critical to ensuring that safe equipment is always available.
– We recommend that those responsible for procuring pilot ladders and associated equipment rely on the services of reputable manufacturers and do not accept equipment that does not have valid third-party certification against the requirements of SOLAS regulation V/23 and ISO 799-1:2019. If in doubt, do not accept the equipment – the lives of pilots, seafarers, inspectors, and surveyors may depend on it.
– Company procedures in approved safety management systems should be clear and effective, at least reflect the latest IS0 799- 2:2021, and emphasise timely pilot ladders and man-ropes replacement. Where the safety of life is concerned, it is better to replace before failure than maintain to the point of failure.

Download the full report: IMPA Safety Campaign Results 2023/2024

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