Memorandum by the United Kingdom Maritime
Pilot's Association (P 05)
MODERN PORTS: A UK POLICY
Using figures quoted by the Department of Environment,
Transport & the Regions (DETR), there are approximately 800
marine pilots in the United Kingdom of whom 10 per cent are part
The United Kingdom Maritime Pilots' Association
(UKMPA), formerly the United Kingdom Pilots' Association (Marine)
(UKPA(M)) represents approximately 700 pilots in the UK, the majority
being full time pilots. A number do fulfil a dual role, for example
Harbour Master/Pilot. The UKMPA is a section of the Transport
& General Workers' Union.
The history of Pilotage has been long and complicated.
Our organisation has been in existence under several titles since
For over three centuries pilotage has been governed
by numerous Pilotage Acts, culminating with the present Act, the
Pilotage Act 1987. Opinions have been expressed that the 1987
Act is an inadequate ambiguous piece of legislation, in that it
de-regulated Marine Pilotage in the UK, adversely we believe.
What is Pilotage?
Article 742 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894
defines a pilot as "any person not belonging to a ship who
has the conduct thereof". A pilot brings on board a vessel
local knowledge and information pertaining to the district in
which he works. Our organisation considers that a pilot expedites
the safe and efficient passage of a vessel to or from a port or
harbour, or within a harbour during what is considered to be the
most hazardous part of a vessel's voyage, often in restricted
or dangerous water.
A pilot performs an independent safety role
for the protection of life, property and the environment. We consider
a pilot's independent role serves the Master and his ship advantageously.
With this background it can be seen that the
role of the pilot is strongly linked to the port marine operation
in the district where the pilot operates. We therefore welcome
the document Modern Ports: A UK Policy, and the opportunity to
comment on the paper. We echo the sentiment that our national
economy needs a thriving ports industry as this in turn will mean
a thriving pilotage service.
We also consider that the importance of pilotage
in the safety of our ports had been seriously neglected from the
introduction of the Pilotage Act 1987 until the Review of the
Pilotage Act was ordered by the present government after the grounding
of the Sea Empress in 1996.
It is stated (1.18) that it is not the government's
job to run the ports' industry. We consider it is the government's
job to oversee that the ports' industry is run safely and efficiently.
De-regulation (1.1.10) can lead to unsafe practices).
1.2 KEY POINTS
We agree with the content of this section and
consider from a pilotage point of view that the:
(a) Port Marine Safety Code
(b) The Drafting of the Guide to Good Practice
on Port Marine Operations
(c) Competence Standard for Port Marine Personnel,
. . . do much to address the content of the
We are aware the proposed EU Directive on port
services may have some bearing on certain aspects of points made
in 1.2. but are adamant that the EU Directive would be detrimental
to pilotage and consequently to safety in our ports and estuaries.
There is ample competitiveness in the UK with the number and range
of ports in existence.
2.1.5 These bigger ships are often being
handled by pilots in ports where the physical features have changed
little over the years.
2.3 THE EUROPEAN
2.3.1 We consider that it is unfair that
certain European ports receive substantial state aid thus creating
unfair competition with rival UK ports.
Ports and maritime infrastructure in Europe
2.3.2 Aware that the EU published the Green
Paper, Ports and Maritime Infrastructure, not much progress appears
to have been achieved. The EU also authorised reports on Maritime
Pilotage which was not acted upon and again on Technical Nautical
Port Service on which inadequate consultation took place with
European pilot services.
A new course for shipping
2.6.8 We concur with the four aims of shipping
policy as being of great importance. The UKMPA/T&G took part
in shipping working group from 1997.
From a pilotage aspect there is interaction
between the four points.
3. MODERN MANAGEMENT
3.1.7 We welcome the decision that harbour
authorities will be required to submit proper accounts. This conflicts
with the proposal to abolish separate pilotage accounts. We do
not believe that harbour authorities should make a profit on pilotage
income, on a service which is essentially based on safety. Separate
pilotage accounts must be maintained. Transparency on accounts
3.1.9 There should be a more logical approach
to appointments to boards, for example from business and maritime
backgrounds. Too often vested interests sit on a board.
3.2. BETTER REGULATION
3.2.4 We believe enforcement of regulations
directions and bylaws to be very important. Too often no action
is taken on dangerous navigation and breaches of regulation relating
3.1.14 There is an opinion that light dues
are an additional burden on Shipping trading to UK ports. Alternatives
should be considered.
3.2.16 We do not believe that satellite
systems should be used for port navigation. Satellite systems
are open to failure and error.
4. SAFER PORTS
4.1 Safe Port Workplaces
Fewer jobsdifference work
4.1.2 We are aware that docks are recognised
as hazardous places. The UKMPA have been invited to assist the
HSC in their Review of Regulations and Approved Code of Practice.
However, we as pilots are also linked to the
Maritime Coastguard Agency from the seaward side. Many accidents
also occur in the operation of pilot boats and in the towage industry.
Employment Relations Act
4.1.22 Consideration should be given to
the introduction of the Working Time Directive to marine personnel
in our ports, estuaries and waterways. It does not apply at present.
Trade union recognition has also been difficult to obtain in some
instances. Trade unions are responsible organisations and should
4.1.23 It is imperative that employment
agencies provide properly trained personnel. Untrained personnel
may become an increasing problem if the EU Directive on port services
is introduced. The passport scheme would appear to be a positive
Working time directives
4.1.28 It is noted that a separate WT Directive
for seafarers will be introduced by June 2002. It must include
all port marine operatives including marine pilots.
Safety on ships
4.1.29 The content of this clause is noted
on the relationship between MAIB, MCA and H&SE.
4.2. PORT MARINE
Port Marine Safety Code
4.2.3 The UKMPA is one of the participating
bodies involved in the Port Marine Safety Code. When the Review
of the Pilotage Act 1987 was introduced the position of the UKMPA
was that a very poor piece of legislation should be amended. In
the event that this was not possible we worked in a positive way
to produce a code which will go some way to nullify the deficiencies
of the Act and the De-regulation which occurred with the introduction
of the 1987 Act.
We still consider that strict oversight, perhaps
along the lines of a regulator, is necessary to ensure compliance
with the Code.
We also believe that at this point of time harbour
authorities are not complying with their obligations on consultation
4.2.8 The introduction of reserve powers
for use by the Secretary of State in the event of a harbour authority
failing in its duties is imperative. We do expect that those reserve
powers will be forthcoming in the near future.
4.2.9 We await the completion of this document
as a party to its production. It would be unfair to comment on
the Guide prior to completion but the UKMPA expect the Guide to
act as the "bible" for port marine operations.
We are satisfied with the National Occupational
Standards for Marine Pilotage produced under the guidance of BPIT.
It is important that a creditable qualification
is now established for port marine professionals such as pilots
in the event that suitable applicants can no longer be obtained
from Sea Service. We do believe there is some evidence (4.3.5.)
of a recruitment shortage. We also consider that some sea experience
is essential for port marine operatives (4.3.7.)
It would be useful for the SmarT scheme to be
extended to include port marine careers (4.3.9.)
Little mention is made of pilotage exemption
certificates (4.3.6.) and none on compulsory/non-compulsory pilotage.
Both these aspects are very important considerations
in the Safety of our ports, rivers and estuaries, and require
an analytical approach. Problems are created by the inadequacy
of some PEC holders, such as their command of the English language
and by ships not subject to compulsory pilotage by local Directions.
4.4 PORT STATE
It should be noted the marine pilot carries
out a Public Service role under EU Directive in reporting defective
and deficient ships to the appropriate authority.
In conclusion, the Port Marine Safety Code states
that under consultation "harbour authorities must involve
all those who work in and use the port and those who represent
them". With this in mind the UKMPA offers its services for
further consultation and assistance to the Transport Sub-Committee
if so required.
N C E McKinney
Chairman of UKMPA