Friday, March 23, 2012

Technical Objectives while working as a Pilot:

Continuation from a previous blog

Technical Objectives while working as a Pilot: 
This topic throws light on liberties and assistance, "the privileges", a Pilot is logically entitled to in order to conduct his duties. 

The task of a Pilot begins with embarking the ship he has been tasked to bring to berth. This is the first and a biggest challenging job ahead of a Pilot. The freeboard of ship, that is, the height of ship's first continuous deck above water, is difficult to climb. The pilot ladders are piece of free suspending steps resting against a flat ship side. A good portion of weight of human body is borne by the arms of the climber. The legs need to be straightened. And a co-ordination has to be maintained between arms and legs so that one does not end up openings both his palms in the same movement. The shift of arm and leg is diagonally paired.
   A Pilot is privileged to climb not more than 9 meters. Considering the number of ships he has to climb each day, and in different environment conditions such as daylight hours, night hours, bad weather conditions, they all have potential to affect a Pilot's physical capacity. The job of ladder climbing bears some actual mortal risks.  This job is often conducted when both, the Pilot vessel and the climbing ship are in motion; their propellers are running. The condition of maintenance of a ship and the limiting conditions on board ship can make the ladder faulty without anyone noticing the defect. Although pilot ladder is treated as a very special item of survey under all the international regulations for the above reasons, there is nothing which can gurantee the safety construction of the ladder. Accidents on the ladder still remain large in count.
  Then, the ship's own machinery, it's responses, the power of engines, the designed strength of machinery with respect to her size and load she is carrying, they each vary with each ship thereof increasing the challenge before the pilot. Pilot needs to adjust his prudence time-duration to operate each ship. In practise however, ships of a given type have same set characteristics homogeneously in its type-group. Pilot should have his initial training on each of this type-group. The use of tugs, the available pulling power( the Bollard Power) are another characteristics which a pilot depends on heavily. In a fantasy world, the operations a pilot does with the ship and tug boats, is like dancing on a revolving floor while also challenged to keep ship's body balance and position with respect to a ground audience. The water current and tides make for the revolving dance floor.
Pilots also have to ensure the time management for the ship's transit through the shallow waters so that ship may reach her berth safely with maximum cargo permissible she can carry under best tidal conditions. This implies working under the high tide conditions but so as to ensure that tidal current help the ship to her best locations, not into danger areas. Engine responses are always better in the forward directions than the stern side due to the hull design. Therefore the tide current should be from the head of the vessel when the vessel is slow- speed so that the ship may counter back the effect of tide if tide is pushing her into dangers. That means that a ship should always be facing into the tide when she is just about to come to her berth. that will mean that a ship may have to be turned around in her heading directions before reaching the berth so that she may fight with the tide current more comfortably with the help of her engines. The challenge applies also when the ship is casting off.
 During all these the propellers have be kept clear of mooring ropes, and the tension on the mooring ropes/wires which connect a ship to her assisting tugs have be borne in mind, too. The maintenance of mooring ropes vary from ship to ship, and a very commonly known to break out. Pilots are required to plan the operations so that pulling by tugs is not used so much, and neither so urgently to ask for a heavy pull by the tug to bring the ship back to safety.
 Ship's operations, cargo on board, make a rare-occasion but often a critical impact on pilotage work. Sometimes the pilots are expected to operate the ship while the crane , the cargo hatch cover, and ship's preparedness for sea voyage is not completed. Accidents commonly happen when a ship has delayed such as to miss the pilots by whiskers in the given tidal time-slot. In order to make , the ship staff attempts to sail her out when she is still not prepared for the sea voyage, which included settling the cranes, closing the scuppers, cleaning away the deck, cargo stripping completes, paper works and documentation completed, hydraulics tried and tested. Pilots are often put into the position of doing fire fighting, then. The ship staff is not well rested, and the master secretly accounts for pilot as his navigation team member while the staff is not rested 'fit' enough to do their navigational duties. Ships have been reported, very commonly, to have suffered explosion, fire, or collision just when pilotage operation was about to start, had started, or the pilot about to be dis-embarked.