Master, vessel company convicted for pilot ladder-related injury in Fremantle, Australia

AAL Dampier (Photo: Waller)

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has confirned the successful prosecution of a master and a vessel company in Western Australia’s Perth Magistrates Court on May 23, 2023.

On August 24, 2022, the Cyprus-flagged cargo ship AAL Dampier was departing the Port of Fremantle, when the marine pilot was injured when disembarking the vessel.

While the pilot was departing AAL Dampier via the ladder, the ropes parted, causing the individual to fall approximately seven metres onto the deck of the pilot vessel, which was traveling alongside the ship.

The pilot vessel urgently transported the pilot to hospital for treatment for serious injuries.

AMSA inspectors and specialist investigators boarded the vessel and seized a portion of the man ropes, which were later found to be seriously defective and in a poor state. The shocking condition of the ropes was likely due to inappropriate storage and ineffective inspection maintenance procedures.

Shipowner AAL Dampier Navigation pled guilty to an offence under Marine Order 21 (Safety and Emergency Arrangements) 2016 for failing to ensure pilot transfer arrangements in place were in accordance with the relevant regulations and was fined AU$30,500 (US$19,856).

The master of the vessel pled guilty to two offences, one under Marine Order 21 (Safety and Emergency Arrangements) 2016 for failing to ensure the disembarkation of a pilot was carried out in accordance with the relevant regulations and one under the Navigation Act 2012 for taking an unseaworthy vessel to sea, and was fined a total of AU$5,500 (US$3,580).

AMSA Executive Director of Operations Michael Drake said he was pleased with the result and hoped a conviction would deter other vessels from compromising on marine pilot safety.

“Marine pilots have a critical and high-risk job, even in the best of conditions, and it is imperative that vessels meet safety standards to prevent serious injury,” Mr Drake said.

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