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Shipping industry guidance

rigging of
for pilot transfer
Ensuring compliance with

International Maritime Pilots’ Association

International Chamber of Shipping
International Shipping Federation

Also supported by:

Society of International
Oil Companies International Gas Tanker and
Marine Forum Terminal Operators
Vessel with defects
in the boarding
Shipping industry guidance

Nevertheless, pilot ladders remain the most Management issues
on safe and efficient way to board ships at sea
and there is usually no alternative, except Shipping companies should ensure that:
on occasions when a helicopter is used.

rigging of
• Ladders are SOLAS compliant
The following guidance is intended to • The inspection regime and records are
remind seafarers and shipping companies adequate
of the vital importance of adhering to
the rules and established procedures • Replacement ladders are quickly and

concerning the provision of safe boarding readily available, preferably by carriage
arrangements for pilots. of at least one spare ladder
• Seafarers involved receive the
necessary training and have a full
Ensuring safe rigging understanding of the requirements.

for pilot transfer for pilots

The IMO Convention for Safety of Life at
IMPA is able to provide an advice
document for new construction designs.

Ensuring compliance with Sea (SOLAS Chapter V, Regulation 23)

sets out the principal requirements for the On board issues

SOLAS rigging of pilot ladders.

These provisions are set out in the

The Master and officers should:
• Closely supervise the rigging of pilot
diagram contained in this brochure. ladders
The following guidance has been produced by the This diagram can be downloaded at
www.impahq.org (on the home page, click • Closely observe the shipping/landing
International Maritime Pilots’ Association (IMPA) in
on ‘Downloads’). It is also reproduced in of pilots from ladders ensuring that
collaboration with the International Chamber of Shipping
the ICS Bridge Procedures Guide. SOLAS requirements are met
(ICS) and the International Shipping Federation (ISF).
• Maintain a lee until the pilot vessel is
There is a further detailed technical well clear.
General specification for pilot ladders in IMO
Pilots come aboard ship to assist the crew during the most Resolution A.889(21). Shipping
companies have a legal obligation to Summary
critical and potentially hazardous phases of a voyage.
Qualified pilots possess exceptional local knowledge and provide a conforming ladder and ship-
borne fittings. If seafarers are uncertain Pilots have the right to decline to board
have the necessary ship-handling skills to assist the safe
about any of the requirements, they vessels offering defective ladders, which
arrival and departure of vessels.
should always ask their supervising officer can result in serious delay. Pilots are
for advice. also entitled to report defects in boarding
Normally, pilots board and disembark using a traditional
ladders to port state control authorities,
rope ladder from and to a pilot boat. However, this can be a
The two major causes of accidents are which could lead to a full PSC inspection
very dangerous procedure if those involved do not adhere to
defects in the ladder treads or sideropes with the risk of delay and financial
International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards or fail to
(see diagram) or a lack of proper penalties.
practise acceptable seamanship skills.
attachment of the ladder to the vessel.
A pilot who has climbed a sound ladder,
Most regrettably, in recent years, several pilots have died
Seafarers should always check the well rigged, and attended by an officer
as a result of accidents while boarding/disembarking from
condition of the ladder before it is rigged and a deck party will be in the right frame
ships, and many more have been seriously injured.
and also ensure it is secure to the ship. of mind to give his best attention to the
Whilst this is done, seafarers should safety of the vessel.
Furthermore, deficiencies with regard to boarding
arrangements and unsafe rigging of pilot ladders continue to always take care of their own safety,
be detected during port state control inspections, resulting in wearing a life jacket (and a life-line if
delays and financial penalties for the ship operator. appropriate).
Shipping industry These guidelines have been developed using the
best information available, but they are intended
guidance on the for guidance only, to be followed at the users’
rigging of ladders own risk. No responsibility is accepted by any
firm, corporation or organisation who or which has
for pilot transfer been in any way concerned with the furnishing of
data, the compilation, publication or authorised
Published by: translation, supply or sale of this guidance, for
the accuracy of any information or advice given
Maritime International Secretariat herein, or any omission herefrom or consequences
Services Limited whatsoever resulting directly or indirectly from use
12 Carthusian Street of these guidelines or from compliance with or
London EC1M 6EZ adoption of guidance contained therein.

Tel +44 20 7417 8844

Fax +44 20 7417 8877

First edition 2008

An electronic version of this leaflet is

available at:

International Maritime Pilots’ Association

International Chamber of Shipping
International Shipping Federation

Also supported by:

Society of International
Oil Companies International Gas Tanker and
Marine Forum Terminal Operators

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