Marine pilot
"H" flag
Means: I have pilot on board
Mr Pilot
"G" flag
Means: I want to have a pilot



I have received e-mail asking what a pilot is. I will try to illuminate the territory for you and explain what a pilot is. Loads of fantastic information:

A Pilot is qualified to conduct a ship in and out of ports. A Pilot has the knowledge of the waters surrounding the port. On most places it's compulsory to use a pilot.

Well, today we have charts, electric charts, GPS and handbooks for the ports. In many ports the pilot is just coming on board for a cup of coffee and to beg for cigarettes. When we are leaving they leave the ship as soon as the mooring lines are off. We have to run to deck and put out the pilot ladder and the Pilot is leaving when we are just 10m from the berth. But we have to pay for the pilot service.

Marine pilot
Mr. Pilot in Panjang
m/t Britta Maersk - January 2013

Pilot
noun
•a person who operates the flying controls of an aircraft.
• a person with expert local knowledge qualified to take charge of a ship entering or leaving a harbour; a steersman.
• a navigational handbook for use at sea.
• informal a jockey.
• archaic a guide or leader.
• [often as MODIFIER] Telecommunications an unmodulated reference signal transmitted with another signal for the purposes of control or synchronization.

2a television programme made to test audience reaction with a view to the production of a series.

3another term for COWCATCHER.

adjective [ATTRIB.] done as an experiment or test before introducing something more widely: a pilot scheme for training workers. verb (piloted, piloting) [with OBJ.]
1act as a pilot of (an aircraft or ship).
[with OBJ. and ADVERBIAL OF DIRECTION] guide; steer: the task of piloting the economy out of recession.
2test (a scheme, project, etc.) before introducing it more widely.
pilotage noun
pilotless adjective.

ORIGIN early 16th cent. (denoting a person who steers a ship): from French pilote, from medieval Latin pilotus, an alteration of pedota, based on Greek pedon oar, (plural) rudder

Taking on board the Pilot in Baltiysk in Russia back in 2005

I understand why they needed a Pilot 200 years ago. There were no charts and when you arrived to a place on the other side of the globe it was like navigating in the dark. They had never been there before so a Pilot was required.

Drinking coffee asking for Whiskey and cigarettes. The Officer on watch always carry all the responsibility of the ship. One time on the way up the river Thames I told the Pilot that we were coming very close to a buoy on our port (left) side.
- Are you afraid? He asked.
I got pissed off, a really “never mind” and “let go” mentality. I really don't like to have the pilot on board and they drive the ship but I have all the responsibility.

Calling Map Ta Phut, มาบตาพุด pilot
m/t Rita Maersk - June 2018

Before arriving to the pilot station we have to call them. Usually the pilot needs 24 hours’ notice and we send a telex or e-mail 24 hours in advance. We confirm our ETA a few hours before arrival. We call the pilot station on the VHF radio. All the pilot stations have different e-mailprocedures listed in the ALRS (Admiralty List of Radio Signals). Or instructions via e-mail from the Agent.

All the pilot stations are listed in a special volume of ALRS (Admiralty List of Radio Signals). It's a kind of telephone book for the pilot stations. Here they have listed all the frequencies the pilot station is using when we call them on the radio. Here we can find how many hours’ notice they need.

It's much easier now with radio and telex. Back in the days they had to use signal flags and light to get a pilot. When a ship arrived they dropped anchor outside the port and hoisted the G flag. The G flag means that the ship wants a pilot.

Marine pilot - Pilot ladder
Crew repairing the pilot ladder
m/t Barcarolle - April 2007

Marine pilot
Crew preparing the ladder for the Pilot to come on board
m/t Astoria - April 2005

Marine pilot - Pilot ladder
Pilot ladder hanging on the side ready for use
m/t Eken in Brofjorden - May 1991

Marine pilot - Combination ladder
When we have high free board we have to use a combination
of the accommodation ladder and the pilot ladder
m/t Maersk Claudia in Hong Kong - September 2012

Marine pilot - Combination ladder
When we have high free board we have to use a combination
of the accommodation ladder and the pilot ladder
m/t Maersk Claudia in Hong Kong - September 2012

Marine pilot
Pilot climbing on board on the pilot ladder
m/t Arctic 1 in Ventspils - Summer 1992

Marine pilot
Pilot climbing on board on the pilot ladder
m/t Astoria - June 2005

Marine pilot
Pilot climbing on board on the pilot ladder
m/t Astoria - June 2005

We call the Pilot station one or a few hours before arrival and they gives instruction about the embarkation rigging. Low freeboard and we only need a pilot ladder. With high free board they ask for a “combination” ladder. This is a combination of a pilot ladder and the accommodation ladder. First meters the Pilot have to climb the pilot ladder and then the last meters the accommodation ladder is used.

So when the Pilot arrives/ leave with a boat we have prepared the pilot ladder or “combination” so the Pilot can climb up on the ship. As you understand this is not necessary when the freeboard of the pilot boat is higher than on the ship. On loaded tankers we have a very low freeboard at times and the pilot can jump right over without using any ladder.

Marine pilot
The Pilot boat comes to deliver the Pilot
m/t Bro Jupiter in Brofjorden - August 2006

Suez Canal Pilot
Pilot in the Suez Canal
m/v Pegasus - February 2006

Suez Canal Pilot
Pilot in the Suez Canal
Rainbow Warrior - June 2006

Suez Canal Pilot
Suez Canal Pilot having a good time on board Rainbow Warrior
Rainbow Warrior - June 2006

Pilot boarding us in Porvoo, Finland
m/t Astoria - April 2005

Marine pilot
Pilot is coming on board in Porvoo
m/t Astoria - June 2005

Marine pilot
Pilot is coming on board in Vlissingen
m/t Framnäs - August 2003

Most pilot stations are situated ashore but some stations are on ships and the pilot is transferred from the pilot ship to the ship with a small pilot cutter. Hamburg, Rotterdam and Antwerp pilot stations are on ships. The mall pilot cutters are jumping up and down in rough weather. The pilots arrives in small pilot cutters and as you can imagine, the pilot is soaked when he comes on board. Of course, when the weather is too rough they suspend the pilot service or they use helicopter for the transportation to and from the ship.

Wandelaar pilot
Wandelaar pilot Station - Pilot cuter coming from the floating pilot station
m/t Framnäs - September 2003

Wandelaar pilot
Wandelaar pilot Station - Pilot ready to board us
m/t Framnäs - September 2003

Wandelaar pilot
Wandelaar pilot Station - Pilot boat is leaving us after delivery of the pilot
m/t Framnäs - September 2003

Elbe pilot
Taking Pilot entering Elbe River
m/t Framnäs - August 2004

Elbe pilot
Elbe Pilot stepping on board
m/t Framnäs - August 2004

Elbe pilot
Pilot boat leaving again
m/t Framnäs - August 2004

Elbe pilot
Pilot waiting for the boat so they can get off
m/t Fure Sun - December 2002

Elbe pilot
Pilot leaving at Wandelaar Pilot Station
m/t Fure Sun - December 2002

Elbe pilot
Pilot leaving at Wandelaar Pilot Station
m/t Fure Sun - December 2002

Elbe pilot
Pilot are off to the floating pilot station
m/t Fure Sun - December 2002

Pilot is also using helicopter when boarding and disembarking ships. Sometimes the pilot boards big ship far away from shore and then they are using helicopter. But most of the time they use the helicopter when the weather is bad. Heavy sea and they cannot use the small pilot boat.

aladdin. st proudly present the video:
“Pilot boarding M/T Bro Jupiter at Bordeaux pilot station”

Directed by: “The Cadet”
Narrator: “Captain”

Taking Pilot at the La Gironde River with Bro Jupiter on the 9th of July 2004



Marine pilot coming with helicopter
Dunkirk and the Pilot is leaving us in bad weather
m/t Bro Jupiter - September 2006

Marine pilot coming with helicopter
Pilot is leaving us in Borrsele
m/t Ek-River - November 2009

Marine pilot coming with helicopter
Pilot is leaving us in Borrsele
m/t Ek-River - November 2009

Marine pilot coming with helicopter
Helicopter come to deliver our Pilot
m/t Randgrid in Mongstad - August 2011

Marine pilot coming with helicopter
Helicopter come to deliver our Pilot
m/t Randgrid in Mongstad - August 2011

Marine pilot coming with helicopter
The helicopter is leaving
m/t Randgrid in Mongstad - August 2011

Marine pilot coming with helicopter
Leaving Mongstad and the helicopter comes to pick up the Pilot when we're leaving
This time we're lucky and we get some “day light” action
m/t Randgrid in Mongstad - August 2011

Marine pilot coming with helicopter
Leaving Mongstad and the helicopter comes to pick up the Pilot when we're leaving
This time we're lucky and we get some “day light” action
m/t Randgrid in Mongstad - August 2011
LOS is Pilot in Norwegian

Marine pilot coming with helicopter
Leaving Mongstad and the helicopter comes to pick up the Pilot when we're leaving
This time we're lucky and we get some “day light” action
m/t Randgrid in Mongstad - August 2011

Ice can as you understand be a problem for the pilot boat to come alongside the ship so the pilot can reach the ladder. During the winter with thick ice in Finland we just stop in the ice at the pilot boarding position. The pilot comes out on the ice in a car and then they use a ladder/ bridge to get on the ship from the ice. They push a ladder from the ice to our pilot ladder and the Pilot climbs on board. Pretty clever!

Pilot boarding us in Porvoo, Finland
m/t Astoria - March 2005

Marine pilot coming with helicopter
Pilot boat comes to pick up the pilot
m/t Astoria in Porvoo - March 2005

We have to make sure the pilot ladder is made fast properly on our deck before the Pilot starts to climb the ladder. I suppose you all think this is obviously, but I have heard many horror stories from Pilots. One Pilot told me that when he was boarding one ship he had found out that the AB was just standing on the top step when he climbed on board. They had not made fast the ladder on deck. As no surprise he got pissed off.

When the pilot comes on board there is an AB and the Officer on duty to meet the pilot. It's the usual "Hows life Mr. Pilot" when he comes on deck. Then the Officer takes him to the bridge. The Pilot have to familiarize him self with the equipment on the bridge. He should know how the steering and navigational aids are working. By now all of you should know what equipment we have on the bridge, if not visit my Web ship right now.

And before we say Farewell to Mr. Pilot we have a loot at the pilots in Gothenburg. I ran in to an old class mate of me. He is now working as a Pilot in Gothenburg and it was a pleasant surprise to meet him. I had not seen him since back in the 90's when we were working on board Yet another Smiley on www.aladdin.stm/t Tärnsund. We were studying in the same class at the navigation school (Sjöbefäls Skolan) on Kvarnberget back in the 80's.

Gothenburg pilot
Leaving Gothenburg with pilot
m/t Ternvag - November 2015

Gothenburg pilot
Time for him to leave us
m/t Ternvag - November 2015

Gothenburg pilot
The boat is here to pick him up
m/t Ternvag - November 2015

Gothenburg pilot
And off he goes
m/t Ternvag - November 2015




       
                  



                         

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