The United Kingdom Maritime Pilots’ Association has issued a notice relating to securing arrangements for pilot ladders, available here
The notice states: “Following consultation with IACS by IMPA, it has been confirmed that the practice of “securing” pilot ladders by means of simple step hook devices such as the ubiquitous angle iron “Deck Tongue” or “Hooks” is non-compliant with the requirements of SOLAS Chapter V regulation 23 as amended.”
Suspending pilot ladders from deck tongues or hooks imposes loads on the ladders which they are not normally designed to withstand. There is also a risk of pilot ladders which are secured in this way becoming detached from deck tongues or hooks when in use.
Securing arrangements where the weight of the pilot ladder is not transferred to the ship structure through the ladder’s side ropes are not normally considered acceptable. Unless the ladders are specially designed to be secured in such a manner, the use of deck tongues or hooks is not acceptable. Our surveyors have been instructed to take appropriate action if they encounter such an arrangement.
What should owners and operators do now?
Owners and operators of new and existing ships should ensure that the securing arrangement of pilot ladders on their vessels meets the requirements of SOLAS and is safe for use, and should bring this information to the attention of members, crews, surveyors and other relevant employees and parties.