MAIB reiterates call to report unsafe pilot boarding ladders
In its latest published annual report, the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said that a year-on-year increase in the total of marine accidents in 2021 is largely attributable to the branch’s industry request to report sub-standard pilot ladders along with a rise in leisure craft and small commercial craft notifications.
The MAIB said that at industry meetings, concerns about dangerously weighted heaving lines and unsafe pilot ladders are regularly voiced. In response, the branch asked that all such incidents, no matter how minor, be reported so a fuller picture of the problems could be gained.
In respect of weighted heaving lines, the branch received just 16 reports; far fewer than anecdotal reporting would suggest, perhaps indicating that this extremely hazardous practice is still being under-reported. Much stronger evidence emerged in terms of pilot ladders.
In 2021, the branch received 194 reports about sub-standard pilot ladders. Of those, 172 pilot ladders (88.6 per cent) were not rigged in compliance with SOLAS guidance, and 22 were observed by the pilot as being in a materially poor condition.
The MAIB added that serious accidents have been rare, but the potential clearly exists and the branch will continue to collate statistics in 2022.