Pilot on the Bridge Role, Authority and Responsibility. Necessity of Bridge Team Management.

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1 Pilot on the Bridge Role, Authority and Responsibility. Necessity of Bridge Team Management. Captain Ajaz Peermohamed Gard (UK) Limited London, United Kingdom

2 Captain Ajaz Peermohamed Senior Claims Executive Gard (UK) Limited. Ajaz joined Gard (UK) Limited in 2001 from a seagoing career of 18 years. He is a qualified Master Mariner with considerable experience on tankers, bulk carriers and large container ships. He also holds a Masters degree (LLM) in Maritime Law. Ajaz handles all types of P&I and H&M claims, with emphasis on casualty work. Prior to joining Gard, he worked for A.P. Møller (Maersk) where he served as Chief Officer, Master for four years, and Owners Superintendant for A.P Møller takeover projects and new build takeovers from Hyundai. Ajaz is head of Gard s Loss Prevention Consultancy Working Group on Navigational Matters and is also a member of the Loss Prevention Committee. He is also a member of the Gard s consultancy group on Maritime Security and is Gard s representative on the International Group Maritime Security sub-committee. The Gard Group: The Gard Group is a ship-owner controlled, diversified provider of P&I, marine and energy insurance products. For 2007 the annual group level written premium income was USD 647 million with total Group assets of USD 1.7 billion. The P&I division had gross written premium earned in the 2006 policy years of USD 347 million. In 2006 the marine division had gross written premium totaling USD 195 million. The energy division s gross written premium for 2006 was USD 106 million. Both Gard P&I as well as Gard Marine and Energy are rated A+ (Stable Outlook) by Standard and Poor s.

3 Pilot on the Bridge Role, Authority and Responsibility. Necessity of Bridge Team Management. Introduction: Marine pilots play an important role in promoting maritime safety and protecting the marine environment. Berthing, un-berthing, anchoring or transiting canals or narrow channels are high-risk marine operations that require experience, specialized local knowledge and proper appraisal, planning, execution and monitoring. Although the captain of a ship is familiar with the vessel and crew, they are not necessarily familiar with each port where the vessel must go and requires the local expertise of a marine pilot to ensure that the ship, its crew, passengers and cargo arrive at the intended port in a safe and efficient manner. Nevertheless, pilotage remains a concern in many parts of the world and a number of disasters, such as the "SEA EMPRESS", have put pilots and pilotage services under increased scrutiny from authorities, industrial bodies, classification societies and insurers. Role, Authority & Responsibility: A marine pilot is an experienced and professional mariner whose role is to advise the captain of a ship on the safest route to be taken to bring a vessel into its port of call. Pilots are individuals who are familiar with the coastlines, inland waters, shoals, harbors, ports, weather, tides, shipping regulations and restrictions of the area for which they are licensed and who can communicate with the various port functions such as traffic control, harbour office, tugs and berthing master in the local language. Pilots assist ships masters in safely navigating their vessels within pilotage areas by advising them of prevailing local conditions such as currents, state of tide, depth of water, existing traffic and traffic expected during the course of the passage, availability of tugs and their power and berthing arrangements. It is obvious that pilots provide an invaluable service to the shipping industry. Although pilots are more familiar with the local conditions, requirements and its facilities, the ship's team is more familiar with the ship and therefore both sides need to work together to ensure a safe passage. Despite the pilot s duties and responsibilities, their presence on board does not exempt the master and the officer on watch ( OOW ) from their duties and responsibilities for the ship s safety. The pilot s presence on the bridge is a time for increased awareness and vigilance and is not and should not be a time for the Master and bridge team to relax!

4 The master remains responsible for the vessel and should thus ensure that the pilots advice is carefully considered and that all actions initiated by the pilots advice are carefully monitored. The OOW should have no doubt as to their responsibilities when a pilot is on board and of the requirement to carefully monitor the vessel s progress during the entire pilotage. The master or OOW should clarify and if necessary countermand a pilot s actions. The master should not hesitate to discuss with the pilot any aspects of the pilotage or the pilot s advice that may cause concern. If the Master decides that a pilot s actions could jeopardise the safety of the vessel, they should not hesitate to relieve the pilot of their responsibilities and if necessary ask for a replacement. Masters should always report aspects of the pilots conduct deemed to jeopardize the safety of the vessel to the relevant port authority, the local agent and of course to their employer and any other party to whom the master may be responsible in respect of the safe navigation of the vessel. Statistics: The Central Union of Marine Underwriters ( CEFOR ) 1 : CEFOR members are Scandinavian hull and machinery underwriters. They underwrite a percentage line of the blue-water portfolio for approximately 25% of ships worldwide by number and 48% of ships worldwide by gross tonnage. Statistics generated by CEFOR database show that 42 per cent of claims by number and 46 per cent of all claims-related costs between 2001 and 2005 are the result of collision, contact and grounding-related incidents. This accounts for more than USD 1.3 billion in claims. For a number of these incidents, a pilot was present on board. Total claims cost USD 2.8 billion - as per CEFOR database. 1 The object of CEFOR is to strengthen and develop the basic concepts of the Scandinavian marine insurance market and unite and coordinate its members around key issues for the marine insurance industry.

5 Statistics: International Group of P&I Clubs 2 : The Pilotage Sub-committee of the International Group of P&I Clubs (IG) has published a report on P&I claims over USD 100,000 involving pilot error. Information pooled by IG Clubs relating to 260 such claims has been included in the study, which covers the period from 20th February 1999 to 20th February The average number of incidents per year involving pilot error was 52. The frequency did not increase from year to year. The average cost of each claim over the five-year period was USD 850,000. The average cost did not increase from year to year either. Claims for damage to fixed and floating objects (FFO) involving pilot error accounted for 65 per cent of claims by number (37 claims per policy year) and 33 per cent by cost. The average cost of each claim for damage to fixed and floating objects was USD 400,000. Collisions involving pilot error accounted for 24 per cent of claims by number and 24 per cent by cost. On average there were 14 collision cases per year involving pilot error and the average cost of each case was USD 800,000. Groundings, pollution and general average/salvage cases involving pilot error each accounted for about three per cent of the incidents by number. There were on average two incidents in each of these categories every year. Groundings accounted for 35 per cent of all incidents by cost. The average cost of each grounding involving pilot error was USD 7.85 million and of each pollution incident involving pilot error the average cost was USD 1.8 million. The report recommends better training or briefing of the bridge team management to operate with the pilot on board, with emphasis on the master/pilot exchange of information. The IG is currently maintaining a database of pilot error incidents from 21st February 2004 to the present and thereafter. The complete report can be downloaded from the IG website 3. 2 The thirteen principal underwriting member clubs of the International Group of P&I Clubs ( the Group ) between them provide liability cover (protection and indemnity) for approximately 90% of the world s oceangoing tonnage. 3

6 Statistics will invariably show that many marine accidents involve vessels that had a pilot on board. This is, in most cases, an obvious consequence of the fact that pilotage areas are close to the coastline or in restricted waters. Traffic and safety margins are therefore at a completely different level than on the high seas. Accidents are therefore more likely to occur. Grounding of Sea Empress: Pilotage remains a concern in many parts of the world and a number of recent disasters, such as the "SEA EMPRESS", have put pilots and pilotage services under increased scrutiny from authorities, industrial bodies, classification societies and insurers. The motor tanker SEA EMPRESS loaded with a cargo of 130,018 tonnes of Forties light crude oil grounded off the Middle Channel Rocks in the approaches to Milford Haven at 20:07 hrs on 15 February The weather was fine and clear with a west-northwesterly force 4/5 wind. A pilot was on board and the vessel was entering the Haven via the West Channel. The pilot had intended to and initially did approach the Channel entrance within what he termed the cone of safety. According to investigation carried out by the MAIB 4, the immediate cause of the grounding was: Pilot s failure to take appropriate and effective action to keep the vessel in the deepest part of the channel. Master failed to appreciate that the actions by the pilot would not be adequate. The pilot and the master had not discussed and agreed a pilotage passage plan; as a consequence neither the master nor the chief officer knew what the pilot s intentions were. The master failed to follow the standing orders of his Managers with respect to pilotage matters. 4 United Kingdom Marine Accident Investigation Branch Report

7 Grounding of m/t SEA EMPRESS - approaches to Milford Haven 15 February 1996.

8 There are several other examples of accidents involving vessels that had a pilot on board (see Gard News 5 ). The recommendations and lessons learned from these examples can be summarized as follows: (1) A comprehensive berth-to-berth passage plan is imperative in order to ensure situational awareness is maintained at all times. The passage plan should include every activity including the passage when the pilot is on board. Sufficient time should be allowed for proper discussion on the passage plan between the master, pilot and OOW. (2) The master and the OOW are more familiar with the characteristics and manoeuvring capabilities of the ship as compared to the pilot. The pilot should be made fully aware of the characteristics and maneuvering capabilities of the vessel before and during the period the pilot has conduct of the vessel. (3) The master is in command of the vessel's navigation at all times (except when transiting through the Panama Canal). Therefore, the master and the bridge team should be aware of the pilot s intentions and closely monitor their actions and be in a position to support or query the same at any stage of the passage. The IMO Code of Nautical Procedures and Practices states: If in any doubt as to the pilot s actions or intentions, the officer in charge of the navigational watch shall seek clarification from the pilot and, if doubt still exists, shall notify the master immediately and take whatever action is necessary before the master arrives. (4) If the pilot is to communicate with tugs and/or other shore personnel in a language that is foreign to the bridge team, the master must insist that the pilot relays / translates this communication to the master and OOW. (5) Reluctance to get involved in a situation has contributed to several severe marine accidents 6. In particular, this may be a problem when the master is not on the bridge. It is therefore important that all members of the bridge team have the necessary authority and confidence to query the pilot s actions if they are in doubt. This can be achieved by active leadership and involvement by the master. 5 Gard News Article Pilot on the Bridge Role, Authority and Responsibility. ns/gardnews/recentissues/gn160/art_6.htm&mainmenuid=10&submenuid=72 6 The pilot is perceived as an authority; and in many cultures it may be considered inappropriate to correct or even question a decision made by an authority. Corrections to obvious errors may therefore be delayed and in some cases not put forward at all.

9 (6) The ship-owners should ensure that there are clear procedures and instructions to the master and OOW on what is expected of them when a pilot is on board. These should be included as part of the vessel's Safety Management System ( SMS ). (7) The potential role of fatigue in accidents has been highlighted by a number of recent major incidents. The irregular work schedules, long on-duty periods, on call nature of pilotage work can cause increased fatigue, mood deterioration and low performance. (8) Bridge Team Management should include how to handle the change in communication, command, and control when a pilot is on board. Bridge Team Management ( BTM ) 7 : To a large extent BTM training was previously being focused on co-operation among the ships bridge team and less emphasis was being placed on situations where outsiders are introduced. Bridge manuals referred to pilot to pilot navigation and little or nothing was said about how to act when the pilot has embarked. In short, the pilot was expected to deliver the service they were paid to deliver and limited consideration was being given to the need for integration and co-operation with the bridge team. For that reason, in many situations, the desired increased level of safety was not achieved. Introducing company pilot handling procedures in the SMS has proved to be effective. In addition to voyage planning, these should include routines for pre-voyage briefing, monitoring of the pilot s activities and communication between pilot and master/ OOW. In accidents where a pilot is involved; there is one factor that is frequently present: limited or no communication between the master and the pilot. There may be language problems and misunderstandings; unclear instructions to the bridge personnel about how to monitor the pilot s actions or the bridge personnel may be over-confident about the pilot s abilities. In some situations the pilot may not be familiar with the particular design of the navigational systems available on board. Very often these accidents may be avoided if there are clear instructions available from the ship management on how to handle situations with pilots on board. Interaction and communication between members of the bridge team, which includes 7 Gard Guidance to Masters complied by Captain Ronald Wohrn provides advice on Pilotage issues and Bridge Team Management.

10 the pilot, is vitally important. A synergistic management style and a well-trained team are usually better placed to cope with the unexpected and can prevent error chains building up. Language barriers have been and will continue to be a challenge; these can be related to communication between the pilot and the crew, as well as understanding the communication between the pilot and assisting parties such as shore staff, mooring boats and/or tugs. Very often these barriers can be greatly reduced by a thorough review of the passage prior to commencing it. The pilot can also be requested to communicate with external parties in a common language, or to translate the communication with them for the bridge team. Many accidents are rooted in surprises and unexpected situations that could have been avoided if the pilot and the bridge team had a common understanding about how the passage would be carried out. Conclusion: Despite improvements in technology and of training through various STCW conventions, ISM, etc, marine accidents continue to occur due to a failure of the bridge team (including the pilot) in following principles of bridge watch-keeping and bridge team management. The key to a safe and efficient ship is a well-trained crew, teamwork and resource management. Training is a proactive approach to safety. It requires the identification, analysis and mitigation of hazards before they can affect the safe operation of the vessel. Most ship-owners are taking steps to enhance bridge procedures by ensuring their officers and crew receive on-going training in the operation of their vessels as well as other industry platforms such as Teamwork & Bridge Team Management courses. The International Maritime Pilots Association ( IMPA ) is also working closely with pilot associations of various countries in relation to pilotage standards and training and especially with regard to the implementation of IMO Resolution A960(23) on recommended training and certification of pilots. Training, good communication and close co- operation between master/ OOW and pilots is imperative for the safety of the crew, ship and the environment. That said, in an increasingly changing legislative environment, it remains to be seen how the role, authority and responsibility of the pilot will evolve!!!

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