Thursday, March 7, 2013

Maritime Union Fear for Shipping if Pilotage Standards Drop

Nautilus backs Transport Committee
Shipping News Feature

UK – Any reduction of standards concerning movement of freight, whether by road, air or water needs deep reflection before being instituted and the union Nautilus International (formally NUMAST) which represents the interests of the professional seafarers from the masters of vessels through to harbour masters and all other classes of senior personnel connected with the maritime industry backed a report by the Transport Committee which calls on the Government to drop a clause in the Marine Pilotage Bill relaxing the requirements for Pilotage. General Secretary, Mark Dickinson, said:

“Nautilus International presented a strong case for the continuation of certificates to be granted to “bona fide” masters and first mates, and we are glad the committee has accepted these arguments. However, we are concerned that the committee has left the door open to the government by stipulating what measures should be put in place should the government decide to go ahead with the changes. We believe the requirements should be tightened, not relaxed, as the existing regime means that some certificates are already issued inappropriately.”

The Union told the Committee that if the regulations were relaxed there would be questions over whether a junior officer would have sufficient experience and authority to go onboard and immediately take command of a vessel in difficult and busy waters.

The Union has also questioned whether the removal of the requirements would leave the UK in contravention of IMO resolution A960 on maritime pilots which requires standards to be maintained, developed and enforced. "These restrictions are in place for a good reason," Mr Dickinson added:

‘We do not want see a rise in accidents.’