Pilotage Exemption Certificate: Marine Navigation (No 2) Bill – Clause 2
Recently, Mr Barrie Youde, formerly of the Liverpool Pilotage Service (1959-1988) and now a partner in RA Wilkinson & Co Solicitors in Liverpool, alerted me to a very concerning provision in the Marine Navigation (No 2) Bill.
The bill is currently passing through the UK Parliament and was considered by the Public Bill Committee chaired by Sir Roger Gale MP in early November. It contains a proposal in Clause 2 to relax the minimum qualification necessary for the grant of a Pilotage Exemption Certificate (PEC) - from the current “bona fide First Mate” requirement to “any member of the crew”.
This seems to fly in the face of reason. If a port or harbour has no great complications in terms of entry, then pilotage is not required; the very fact that a port has compulsory pilotage reflects the need for detailed local knowledge and a high standard of competence to enter the port safely.
Thus if a PEC is to be secured to remove the need for a pilot, then it is only right that either a Master or First Mate – who already, by dint of their rank, will be an experienced and senior mariner – are given the responsibility for all key factors affecting safe operation within the port, having been examined on their knowledge of approaches, channels, depths, tides, beacons, lights etc.
Surely in matters of safety we should be striving to maintain or even enhance standards, not reduce them – which is the effect that Clause 2 would have. Sea Breezes therefore supports Barrie Youde’s campaign to have the clause removed.
Many of you will have read that surviving Merchant Navy and forces veterans who sailed in the icy, frightening and deadly Arctic convoys during the war, were to be awarded the Medal of Ushakov (Arctic Convoys Medal) by Russia, but have not been allowed to accept by the British Government. I think this is a hard to understand decision and a shabby manner in which to treat brave men who suffered so much in keeping Russia supplied. There is an e-petition campaign aimed at changing the British government’s stance. The e-petition can be read on http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/40873. Our chance to right a wrong.
As we enter the new year, the Sea Breezes team extend our very best wishes to all our readers for a happy and healthy 2013.
HAMISH ROSS, EDITOR