Pilot deaths prompt USCG safety warning

Recent deaths of maritime pilots while embarking commercial vessels highlights the risks of operating in an unforgiving maritime environment. 

As a consequence the US Coast Guard has issued Marine Safety Information Bulletin 21-20 reiterating recommendation for pilot transfer arrangements

To ensure the safety of all personnel boarding a vessel at sea, the USCG strongly recommends that owners and operators of vessels, regardless of vessel build date, follow the guidelines within IMO Resolution A.1045(27) – Pilot Transfer Arrangements.

For vessels constructed after July 1, 2012, combination arrangements involving a trapdoor configuration are required to comply with SOLAS Chapter V, Regulation 23.3.3.2.1. While the renewal of pilot transfer equipment such as the pilot ladder on existing vessels does not require the reconfiguration of the trapdoor arrangement, the Coast Guard strongly recommends the upgrade of any trapdoor configuration arrangement to meet the guidelines of IMO Resolution A.1045(27).

For vessels registered in the US, Coast Guard marine inspectors and classification society surveyors verify pilot transfer arrangements during initial construction. Any changes in the approved configuration should be brought to the attention of the local Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) or the classification society surveyor, if applicable, in order to verify that the pilot transfer arrangement is in compliance with SOLAS Chapter V, Regulation 23.

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