PILOT LADDERS AND STEPS

Moulded Rubber Pilot Ladder Steps

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SOLAS regulation compliance

Ships Pilot Ladders incorporating SOLAS compliant steps provide essential safety.

ship's ladder step

These Pilot Ladder Steps are Tested and approved by Department of Trade and Industry Marine Division in London and they meet the revised SOLAS convention incorporated in IMCO resolution.

Steps are of a Rigid One Piece Construction, with deep V drain channels and Fluted Safety Tread.

Featuring Anti Tilt Rope Struts that protrude above and below each step.

  • Each step weighs 4Kg
  • Step Length 58cm, (48cm between rope/hole centers)
  • Step Width 11.5cm
  • Overall Thickness 5.5cm

Manufactured from a tough rubber resin compound that is capable of withstanding the severe buffeting and crushing action that is frequently experienced in shipping service. Separate steps, are used for making into ships ladder sections.

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Essential guidance has been produced by the International Maritime Pilots’ Association (IMPA) in collaboration with the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Shipping Federation (ISF) and can be found in this guide: Shipping Industry guidance on The Rigging of Ladders for Pilot Transfer, ensuring compliance with SOLAS. 


SOLAS COMPLIANT SHIPS LADDERS ARE MISSION CRITICAL.

Pilots come aboard ship to assist the crew during the most critical and potentially hazardous phases of a voyage. Qualified pilots possess exceptional local knowledge and have the necessary ship-handling skills to assist the safe arrival and departure of vessels.

Normally, pilots board and disembark using a traditional rope ladder from and to a pilot boat. However, this can be a very dangerous procedure if those involved do not adhere to International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards or fail to practise acceptable seamanship skills.

Most regrettably, in recent years, several pilots have died as a result of accidents while boarding/disembarking from ships, and many more have been seriously injured. Furthermore, deficiencies with regard to boarding arrangements and unsafe rigging of pilot ladders continue to be detected during port state control inspections, resulting in delays and financial penalties for the ship operator.

Nevertheless, pilot ladders remain the most safe and efficient way to board ships at sea and there is usually no alternative, except on occasions when a helicopter is used. The following guidance is intended to remind seafarers and shipping companies of the vital importance of adhering to the rules and established procedures concerning the provision of safe boarding arrangements for pilots.

Ensuring safe rigging for pilots The IMO Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS Chapter V, Regulation 23) sets out the principal requirements for the rigging of pilot ladders. These provisions are set out in the diagram contained in this brochure.

This diagram can be downloaded at www.impahq.org It is also reproduced in the ICS Bridge Procedures Guide. There is a further detailed technical specification for pilot ladders in IMO Resolution A.889(21). Shipping companies have a legal obligation to provide a conforming ladder and shipborne fittings. If seafarers are uncertain about any of the requirements, they should always ask their supervising officer for advice.

The two major causes of accidents are defects in the ladder treads or sideropes (see diagram) or a lack of proper attachment of the ladder to the vessel. Seafarers should always check the
condition of the ladder before it is rigged and also ensure it is secure to the ship. Whilst this is done, seafarers should always take care of their own safety, wearing a life jacket (and a life-line if appropriate).

Management issues
Shipping companies should ensure that:
• Ladders are SOLAS compliant
• The inspection regime and records are adequate
• Replacement ladders are quickly and readily available on board
• Seafarers involved receive the necessary training and have a full
understanding of the requirements.

IMPA is able to provide an advice document for new construction designs. On board issues The Master and officers should:
• Closely supervise the rigging of pilot ladders
• Closely observe the shipping/landing of pilots from ladders, ensuring that SOLAS requirements are met
• Maintain a lee until the pilot vessel is well clear.

Summary
Pilots have the right to decline to board vessels offering defective ladders, which can result in serious delay. Pilots are also entitled to report defects in boarding ladders to port state control authorities, which could lead to a full PSC inspection with the risk of delay and financial penalties.

A pilot who has climbed a sound ladder, well rigged, and attended by an officer and a deck party will be in the right frame of mind to give his best attention to the safety of the vessel.

ship's ladder step

Amendments to the Required Boarding Arrangements for Pilots (revised poster)

The IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee, at its eighty-eighth session (MSC 88), (24/11 -3/12 2010), approved amendments to SOLAS Chapter V, Regulation 23 which, inter alia, includes amendments to the Required Boarding Arrangements for Pilots (Resolution MSC.308(88)).The existing Required Boarding Arrangements for Pilot poster will, therefore, become incorrect once the provisions of MSC.308(88) enter into force. This will happen on 1 July 2012.IMPA has prepared a revised poster which reflects the latest changes. The IMO’s Sub-committee on Safety of Navigation (NAV) has endorsed IMPA’s submission which will be forwarded to MSC for approval. 

Significant points contained in revised Regulation 23 of SOLAS Chapter V include:- The appliances shall be kept clean, properly maintained and stowed, and shall be regularly inspected to ensure that they are safe to use.
– A pilot ladder shall be certified by the manufacturer as complying with this regulation, or with an international standard acceptable to the Organization. Ladders shall be inspected in accordance with regulation I/6, 7 & 8.

– All pilot ladders used for pilot transfers shall be clearly identified with tags or other permanent marking so as to enable identification of each appliance for the purposes of survey, inspection and record keeping. A record shall be kept on the ship as to the date the identified ladder is placed into service and any repairs effected.