28 September 2010
Joint Pilotage User Group – Safe Navigation with Pilots
The entrances to the Baltic Sea may be hazardous for deep-draft vessels. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) therefore recommends that vessels with a draft of 11 meters or more use a transit pilot when navigating through such waters. The Danish authorities strongly advise deep-draft vessels to follow the IMO recommendation.
In 2005 the Danish Maritime Safety Administration (DaMSA) formed a Joint Pilotage User Group (JPUG) which is chaired by DaMSA’s Director. The aim of JPUG is to provide guidance and oversee improvements in the use of transit pilots to make navigation in Danish waters as safe as possible. Once a year JPUG brings together the Danish pilot service provider, DanPilot, organisations representing pilot service users and local authorities. JPUG facilitates an open and transparent dialogue between such parties, reviews developments during the previous 12 months and discusses what may be done to encourage full compliance with the IMO recommendation.
On 15 September 2010 the sixth JPUG meeting was held in Copenhagen. On this occasion the participants included a representative from the independent consulting firm COWI Consult who, following a major research project, made a presentation on the benefits of using pilot services in narrow straits. JPUG members noted that the conclusions of the study supported the common view that deep-draft vessels transiting through the Danish Straits are less likely to be involved in a grounding or collision when using such pilot services.
However, JPUG was disappointed to learn that there has been a decline in the number of vessels following the IMO recommendation, including tankers. It is particularly disappointing to observe that the decline in the use of pilot services concerns the part of Route - T with some of the narrowest passages.
At the present time it is unclear whether this is an isolated anomaly or the beginning of a trend. However, JPUG members agreed that further investigation is warranted to understand the underlying reasons and help identify ways of reversing the decline. The situation will be re-evaluated at the next JPUG meeting in 2011.
Facts about the Joint Pilotage User Group (JPUG)
JPUG was established in 2005.
The member organizations include the Danish Maritime Safety Administration, the Danish Maritime Authority, DanPilot, the Danish Pilotage Authority, the Royal Danish Navy, INTERTANKO, INTERCARGO, BIMCO, OCIMF, ICS and the International Group of P & I Clubs.
JPUG's mission is to increase the use of pilotage and make navigation in Danish waters as safe as possible.
The Joint Pilotage User Group:
- provides a forum for exchanging views and receiving feedback
- evaluates feedback from users as well as from the pilotage service providers and takes action as appropriate
- reviews and comments on issues related to safety of navigation, e.g. bridge team management, the pilot within the bridge team and the training of pilots
- addresses issues concerning possible future changes in Danish regulations relating to pilotage services
- examines the availability of pilots and the extent of pilotage for ships in transit through the entrances to the Baltic Sea in accordance with IMO resolution SN. 1/Circ. 263
- considers the Danish Maritime Safety Administration’s implementation of new relevant pilotage services in the entrance to the Baltic Sea, e.g. future relevant shore-based pilotage regimes
- evaluates the charges for pilotage services – observing that the fee is a parameter when deciding whether to use the services or not, while also recognising that safety remains paramount.