Finland set to permit remote pilotage

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 21 January 2019


A new law adopted by the Finnish parliament looks set to allow the use of remote pilotage in the country’s waters.

Remote pilotage subject to authorisation will be allowed in those public channels in Finnish waters and in the Saimaa Canal lease area that have been marked as routes requiring pilotage. The Pilotage Act will be amended to allow the pilot to perform his or her duties somewhere else than onboard the vessel. The Government proposed on 17 January 2019 that the Pilotage Act be adopted and the act is awaiting the signature of Finland’s President before taking effect next month.

A pilotage company has to apply for an authorisation from the Transport and Communications Agency. A requirement for granting an authorisation is that remote pilotage will not as such or in combination with other functions cause any danger to vessel traffic safety or any harm to other vessel traffic or the environment.

The remote pilotage authorisation defines the routes and parts of routes where remote pilotage is allowed. It also determines the vessels involved and the origin and destination of the remote pilotage. The authorisation will be granted for a maximum of five years and can be renewed if necessary.

A provision will be added to the Act stating that the Defence Forces will be able to exempt foreign state vessels from the obligation to use a pilot. The Defence Forces may exempt vessels that take part in a training or exercise organised by them, participate in another form of defence cooperation or are hosted by the Defence Forces.

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