Union says relaxing the law could lead to a rise in maritime accidents

Tim Lezard

shipNautilus International has called on the government to make it harder for junior officers to take control of ships.

The union has 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 Exemption Certificates.

General secretary Mark Dickinson said: “We 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.

Mark Dickinson said: ‘These restrictions are in place for a good reason. We do not want see a rise in accidents.’

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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