Loss Prevention 20 May, 2024

Pilotage - AMPI Urges Caution Amidst Engine Power Limiter Concerns

Dean Crossley
Dean Crossley
Loss Prevention Manager

The Australasian Marine Pilot Institute (AMPI) has released a comprehensive position paper addressing concerns surrounding engine power limiters installed on ships.


Following the rising adoption of Shaft Power or Engine Power Limitation (SHaPoLi/EPL) systems to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, pilot associations and port authorities worldwide have raised apprehensions about their implications, particularly concerning manoeuvring in complex pilotage waters.

The paper highlights the global trend of retrofitting ships with SHaPoLi/EPL systems to comply with the Energy Efficiency Ship Index (EEXI) and Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) requirements set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). These systems employ various methods, including load-limiting software programs, mechanical governors, or electronic systems, to restrict engine power output and thereby reduce carbon emissions.

One of the primary concerns raised by pilot associations pertains to the immediate access to the full manoeuvring power range of the main engine, especially in intricate pilotage waters with multiple environmental factors. The paper underscores the importance of maintaining manoeuvrability for safe navigation, emphasising the need for ships to provide up-to-date information on their engine manoeuvring characteristics to pilots as per IMO guidelines.

Since the adoption of the initial IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships in 2018, there has been a concerted effort to enhance energy efficiency measures in the maritime industry. The strategy includes short-term measures aimed at reducing the carbon intensity of international shipping, such as the EEXI and CII indexes introduced in MARPOL Annex VI.

The EEXI regulations mandate that ships achieve a certain level of carbon intensity by design, with requirements calibrated to incentivize the use of more energy-efficient vessels. However, concerns have been raised regarding the potential impact of power limiters on a ship's manoeuvrability, particularly during pilotage operations


To address these concerns, the AMPI proposes several recommendations:

  • Ensuring that the main engine remains immediately responsive to manoeuvring commands during pilotage.
  • Providing pilots with accurate information on engine power limitations and override procedures through updated pilot cards and pre-arrival notifications.
  • Training ship personnel in the use of override functions for engine power limiters and proactive communication with pilots regarding any limitations.
  • Updating pre-arrival information forms used by port authorities and pilotage service providers to include specific queries related to engine power limitations.
  • Implementing additional control measures, such as extra escort or harbour towage, in cases where a ship's manoeuvrability is significantly compromised.

AMPI's position paper emphasises the crucial balance between environmental goals and the necessity for safe and efficient navigation, especially in demanding pilotage areas. By tackling issues related to engine power limiters and adopting the suggested measures, considerable advantages can be gained, including heightened safety measures, improved communication, prompt responses, and reduced risks within pilotage zones.

Members requiring further guidance should contact the Loss Prevention Department.