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Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela October 3, 2011


Good morning. One of the true pleasures of being President of IMPA is the opportunity to attend regional meetings of pilot organizations from all over the world. Important meetings like this forum. As many of you know, I attended your forum meeting in Cartagena in 2009. Within the past two years or so, I have also spoken at a meeting of the African Maritime Pilots Association in Senegal and I was in Sevilla, Spain for the annual meeting and centenary celebration of the Spanish pilots. In April I participated in the annual meeting of the U.S. and Canadian pilots on the Pacific coast, in July I addressed the annual gathering of the European Maritime Pilots Association in Amsterdam, and in August I had the privilege of speaking at the annual Congress of the Canadian Maritime Pilots Association in Nova Scotia. These meetings are valuable because we all have much we can learn from each other. As we go about our work as leaders of the piloting profession, we must always keep in mind that there is more than one way to achieve and maintain modern, professional, and reliable pilotage. No pilot group or system has cornered the market on piloting quality, expertise, or good ideas. We can always make improvements by looking at other pilots and pilot systems. At the same time, however, pilots and others who genuinely understand pilotage are aware that no single pilotage system or type of operation can work well in every place. One of the guiding principles of IMPA is that pilotage is an

inherently local matter. Factors like geographic features, channel peculiarities, weather, tides, current, traffic patterns, and port-centric practices and rules require that every pilotage system and operation be uniquely tailored. The International Maritime Organization, the only governmental body with the appropriate legal authority to address matters related to pilotage on an international level, has recognized that pilotage involves highly specialized experience and local knowledge and that it should be regulated not by some one-size-fits-all

generic international scheme, but rather by national, provincial, or local governments. IMPA respects each of its member states and their way of handling ships in their own waters. Mutual understanding and respect among pilots

throughout the world will help IMPA in its important work, and will, in turn, serve the interests of the piloting profession in each country. And how is our profession as we begin this important forum? I am pleased to report that the state of our profession remains strong. This is not to say that we have not faced challenges. We have and we will continue to do so. But as I travel the world and meet with governmental and maritime leaders, I am continually reassured that pilots are respected, and the vital importance of modern and reliable compulsory pilotage is appreciated. As I said, however, we do face challenges and I have serious concerns. Id like to begin the substance of my remarks talking directly to you pilot to pilot about concerns I have about some things going on that can pose a threat to our profession. These topics include the International Standards for Maritime Pilot Organization or ISPO, IALAs Pilotage Advisory Forum or PAF, and recent wellfunded and coordinated efforts by some shipping interests to undermine compulsory pilotage standards in the U.S. As you may remember, at out last meeting in Cartagena, we discussed ISPO and agreed that it is not in the best interests of pilotage. Since then, and as a result of recent marketing efforts by Lloyds Register and by the creators of the ISPO, I have received a number of inquiries about it, some specifically asking about IMPAs position on this scheme. Let there be no room for misunderstanding, while IMPA does not dictate how individual pilot groups conduct their business IMPA does not endorse or support the ISPO in any way, shape, or form. ISPO is ill-advised and potentially dangerous. It is inconsistent with

traditional, regulated, non-competitive pilotage performed by independent



In that respect, it is contrary to fundamental, long-standing

objectives of IMPA. As we noted in Cartagena, the Dutch Pilots originally developed the ISPO program. After IMPA rejected the program in 2004, the Dutch pilots have

attempted to promote it on their own. Recently they have increased their efforts to market it and have taken it to outside bodies and to pilotage authorities, usually without notifying the local pilot groups. This is very troubling to me. We are in very serious discussions with the Dutch Pilots over this. There are also dangerous things going on at the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities. As the job of maintaining lighthouses and aids to

navigation has diminished, some governmental authorities that belong to IALA have pushed for expanding its reach into new fields. They have successfully taken much of VTS from the IMO and they are making claims on AIS and E-Navigation. It is now clear that there are some at IALA and these people do not have the best interests of pilots at heart who would like to do the same for pilotage. IMPA is very concerned and is adamantly opposed to efforts by IALA to expand its activities into areas and subjects that are far removed from its traditional remit, and are outside of its areas of expertise or experience. The primary example of this is the Pilotage Authority Forum (PAF) created by IALA a few years ago. The PAF is a small group of bureaucrats from only five countries. The group describes its objective as harmonizing pilotage services throughout the world. This objective is in direct contradiction to the judgment of the IMO reflected in that organizations Resolution A.960. Resolution A.960 stands as the only

internationally recognized guidelines on the training, certification and operations of maritime pilots. IMPA and the APA were heavily involved in the long and careful development of Resolution A.960, and we have very publicly endorsed it. Amazingly, the main focus of the PAFs work is now the development of a

competing set of guidelines on those pilotage subjects. In this way, IALA is challenging not only IMPA, but also the IMO. IMPA has formally protested the formation of the group and its work to the highest levels of IALA. To date, our protests have been ignored. In fact, IALA has never even responded to a letter that I hand-delivered to its chairman two years ago. This subject was reviewed at the IMPA Congress in the Brisbane, and IMPAs formal opposition to the PAF was approved. I have become even more concerned about the ISPO and PAF because these two issues have begun to converge. Weve learned that some on IALAs PAF are actually endorsing the ISPO and actively promoting it among pilotage authorities around the world. Despite the clear and well-known opposition of IMPA to PAF, the Dutch Pilots have met with the PAF to promote ISPO and have apparently agreed to cooperate in the future. Again, let me be clear, the PAFs involvement in pilotage is not only inappropriate as outside of IALAs jurisdiction and in conflict with the IMO, it is decidedly adverse to the interests of pilots everywhere. This is an anti-pilot body, and it is a significant threat to IMPAs membership. On the political front in the United States, cruise lines and a west coast steam ship agent group, two of the more ardent and persistent opponents of compulsory pilotage, have been engaged in coordinated, well-financed attacks against pilots. Although the anti-pilot complaints and attacks of the cruise lines and other shipping interests have often been publicly directed at pilot rates, their real objective is control. Cruise lines are opposed to what they see as the loss of control over their ships when a compulsory pilot arrives on the bridge. Cruise ship operators want to be free to keep to their schedules without the possibility that a pilot may make an independent safety judgment that might jeopardize the schedule. They have demanded pilot assurances of 24/7, all-weather navigation.

They have pressured their masters to disregard pilot decisions not to move in the fog or heavy sea conditions. Im sure that many of you have seen the same thing. Similar to the cruise line motives, while the west coast steamship lobby is publicly saying that their dispute with the pilots is over a rate increase a modest proposal of only a 1.5% annual increase of course their real objective is also control. They want to be able to bring in the largest ships possible, fully loaded, and on their terms and schedule. They too want to be able to pressure their masters to move their ships based on economics and dollars and cents not necessarily safety and common sense. Attacks on pilots by these industry groups have taken many forms: formal intervention in rate cases, legislation, attempts to influence the appointment of their allies to pilotage authorities, huge political contributions, financing economic studies, and public relations campaigns. Although pilots are familiar with ship operator opposition in rate cases and, on occasion, disputes and disagreements with ship operating interests, these groups seem to be taking advantage of the down economy to engage in what appears to be something much more determined and organized. Our state pilot groups in the United States are not sitting passively by. Pilots are fighting back against published falsehoods and half-truths, but at considerable effort and expense. Fortunately, most of the larger APA-member pilot groups are able to draw on an existing infrastructure of attorneys and lobbyists and a longstanding program of political involvement. Under the weight of these latest

attacks, however, some groups are augmenting these resources with large additional infusions of money and personnel. The APA is providing assistance at each step. While I am confident that our pilots will ultimately be successful in countering these efforts to weaken pilotage standards, it will not be easy.


impression is that these foreign flag frequently flag of convenience shipping interests will continue in what appears to be a coordinated effort to weaken pilots and pilotage. I believe these most recent attacks confirm the principle that pilots need to be politically active and constantly involved with their governments. It is an unfortunate reality that we as professional maritime pilots must be ever vigilant and proactive in defending compulsory pilotage requirements and the piloting profession. In an ideal world, in order to keep our profession strong and to keep effective pilotage requirements in place, the only thing required of each of us would be to carry out our pilotage assignments professionally and to build upon our navigational and training best practices. We know that compulsory pilotage is not simply a business, it is navigation safety regulation. We know that a pilots primary responsibility is to protect the waterways and the public by ensuring that ships move safely and efficiently. We also know this important truth the

principal customer of the pilots service is not the ship, the shipowner, or even the port, but rather the public interests. In the ideal world, everybody would recognize these truths and we could simply go about our work within our pilotage areas. Unfortunately, we do not live in this ideal worldwe live in the real world. Pilots are mistaken if they believe that in the real world merely being skilled professionals providing an excellent and responsive service for ship operators is enough to ensure a rewarding and secure career. In the real world, individuals, companies, and organizations for their own purposes and to advance their own business interests and agendas will seek to weaken or even remove pilotage standards. Due to these realities, in order to maintain effective pilotage systems and to protect our profession, we must not only maintain the highest levels of professionalism, but we must also be united and speak with one voice as we engage in discussions of pilotage matters at the local,

regional, national and international levels. Coming together on issues that affect pilotage is important, but staying together is the key to continued success. I am confident that if we remain united, we will continue to succeed. IMPA-member pilots are the most highly trained and proficient mariners in the world. Thousands of times each year, you and your partners use in-depth local knowledge, seasoned navigational and shiphandling expertise, and informed independent judgment to guide huge ships of all sizes and types into and out of vital ports. The overwhelming majority of goods our countrymen consume are transported by ship and these goods are transported safely and efficiently because of you. You are on the front line of marine safety. You make a real difference every day. As pilots today, we must deal with problems caused by global

economic pressures, with owners looking to reduce costs even of safety services. We are constantly called upon to renew and refresh our commitment to navigation safety and environmental protection, while at the same time playing our traditional role in moving waterborne commerce efficiently. This makes our meetings this week all the more important. As we go about our work, remember what it means to be a professional maritime pilot. Also remember our responsibilities as leaders of the piloting profession. How our individual pilot groups are ultimately judged depends on the professionalism and performance of our individual pilots. It is our job to ensure that every pilot in our associations goes to work with the best equipment, the best training, and the best support structure. We must and we will do everything we can to support pilot organizations and individual pilots so that the future of pilotage measures up to our great history. As President, let me assure you that IMPA will do everything we can to advance

the interests of the piloting profession and to combat efforts, any place in the world, to weaken pilotage. In concluding, I must say, while we face challenges, we are part of great profession with a long and a proud history. Pilots from Latin American countries have certainly done a great deal to contribute to this rich history and I am pleased and honored to have again been asked to be a part of your forum. Thank you.

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