News 13 Jun, 2012

SOLAS - Changes to Pilot Transfer Arrangements


IMO Resolution 308(88), adopted in December 2010, made changes to the pilot transfer arrangements set out in SOLAS Chapter V/Regulation 23. The amendments are due to enter into force on 1 July 2012.

The revised regulations apply to pilot boarding equipment and arrangements installed on or after the 1 July 2012. In the case of existing pilot boarding equipment and arrangements replaced on or after 1 July 2012, vessels are required to comply with the new regulatory requirements as far as reasonable and practicable. However, the amendment to Paragraph 6 which prohibits the use of mechanical pilot hoists applies to all vessels from 1 July 2012.

Changes to SOLAS Regulation V/23

Three new sub-paragraphs have been added to Paragraph 2 “General” concerning pilot ladder certification, identification and record keeping. Also a clarification as to what is meant by the term “accommodation ladder”:

2.3          A pilot ladder shall be certified by the manufacturer as complying with this regulation or with an international standard acceptable to the Organisation. Ladders shall be inspected in accordance with regulations I/6, 7 and 8.

2.4          All pilot ladders used for pilot transfer shall be clearly identified with tags or other permanent marking so as to enable identification of each appliance for the purposes of survey, inspection and record keeping. A record shall be kept on the ship as to the date the identified ladder is placed into service and any repairs effected.

2.5          Reference in this regulation to an accommodation ladder includes a sloping ladder used as part of the pilot transfer arrangement.

In Paragraph 3 “Transfer arrangements”, sub-paragraph 3.3.2 previously required the lower platform of an accommodation ladder forming part of a combination ladder to rest against the ship’s side. This has now been changed and the revised text states that “…means shall be provided to secure the lower platform of the accommodation ladder to the ship’s side, so as to ensure that the lower end of the accommodation ladder and the lower platform are held firmly against the ship’s side…”

In addition a new self-explanatory sub-paragraph has been added regarding the use of combination ladders:    When a combination arrangement is used for pilot access, means shall be provided to secure the pilot ladder and the man-ropes to the ship’s side at a point of nominally 1.5m above the platform of the accommodation ladder. In the case of a combination arrangement using an accommodation ladder with a trapdoor in the bottom platform (i.e. embarkation platform), the pilot ladder and man-ropes shall be rigged through the trapdoor extending above the platform to the height of the handrail.

As referred to above, the text in Paragraph 6 “Mechanical pilot hoists” has been deleted and the revised requirement states that “mechanical pilot hoists shall not be used”. All other references regarding the use of mechanical pilot hoists have been deleted from the regulations.

Previously a minimum diameter of 28mm was specified for man-ropes, but no maximum. Paragraph 7 “Associated equipment” has been amended and now requires pilot ladder man-ropes to be between 28mm and 32mm in diameter.

Paragraph 7.1.also contains further requirements detailing how man-ropes should be secured to the vessel, stating that “man-ropes shall be fixed at the rope end to the ring plate fixed on deck and shall be ready for use when the pilot disembarks, or upon request from the pilot approaching to board (the manropes shall reach the height of the stanchions or bulwarks at the point of access to the deck before terminating at the ring plate on deck)”.

Pilot Transfer Arrangement Recommendations

SOLAS Regulation V/23 addresses the statutory pilot transfer arrangements. Recommendations covering the technical detail of pilot transfer arrangements are contained in IMO Resolution A.1045(27) which were adopted in November 2011 and replace IMO Resolution A.889(21).

Many vessels also display a copy of the International Maritime Pilots’ Association (IMPA) “Required Boarding Arrangements For Pilot” poster in the wheelhouse. The poster has been revised to reflect the foregoing changes and the latest version may be downloaded from the International Maritime Pilots’ Association website.

Members requiring further guidance should contact the Loss Prevention department.