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Marine Safety Forum – Safety Flash 13-34
Subject: Pilot Ladder Failure
During disembarkation of a 3695 DWT dry cargo vessel in ballast the ship’s pilot ladder failed as
the pilot was climbing down to the waiting launch. Both ropes on the ladder parted simultaneously
(refer to Photo 1) causing the pilot to fall approximately 2.0 metres to the deck of the launch. The
pilot sustained injuries to his ankle which resulted in a considerable lost time accident. It could
have been far more serious!
There are no secondary means of safety on a pilot ladder. As such, pilot ladders fail to danger.
Given a repeat of this failure on a larger vessel a pilot would fall a significant distance.
Investigations show that there are many similar incidents around the world.
NB: - Please also refer to Safety Flash 11-14 (17/05/2011) for further information on good rigging
Safety Flash 13-17 (13th
May 2013) - A brochure explaining the SOLAS requirements may be
downloaded from the International Marine Pilot’s Association