Sullom Voe - Pilotage

Pilot boatThe Pilotage Direction is made pursuant to Section 7 of the Pilotage Act 1987 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act’).

The Council directs that Pilotage shall be compulsory for all ships navigating within the Sullom Voe Harbour Area except those specified in Section 7[3] of the Act and detailed below. Authorised pilots are available on a 24 hour basis.

Pilot Boarding

The transportation of pilots at Sullom Voe will normally be carried out by the Authority’s pilot vessels. A helicopter may be used at certain times and under certain conditions.

Ships required to take a pilot onboard shall do so in the following positions:

Pilotage Passage Plan including Master / Pilot interchange form

Exemption from compulsory Pilotage

The following vessels shall be exempt from compulsory Pilotage unless otherwise directed by the Harbour Master:

Pilotage Exemption Certificates

The Secretary of State has directed that the Shetland Islands Council will refuse to grant such certificates in respect of vessels using Sullom Voe Harbour Area.

Pilot transfer arrangements (for poster follow this link)

All vessels calling at the Port of Sullom Voe must comply with ‘The Merchant Shipping (pilot transfer arrangements) Regulations 1999 (S.I. 1999 No.17)’. Masters are advised that these regulations will be strictly enforced by Sullom Voe Harbour Authority. Any vessels unable to comply with the regulations should contact their agent in good time before arrival in order to arrange alternative means for embarking the pilot. Any delays and/or additional costs incurred by a vessel unable to comply with the above regulations will be strictly to the vessel’s own account. Pilot hoists are NOT to be used at Sullom Voe.

The following points are stressed:

  1. The rigging of the pilot ladders and the embarkation and disembarkation of Pilots thereby shall be supervised by a responsible deck officer of the ship.
  2. Every pilot ladder shall be secured in a position clear of any possible discharges from the ship, and so that each step rests firmly against the ship's side.
  3. Every pilot ladder shall be secured in a position where the Pilot can gain safe and convenient access to the ship after climbing not less than 1.5 metres and not more than nine metres.
  4. Whenever the distance from the water to the point of access to the ship exceeds nine metres, access to the ship must be by means of a combination of a pilot ladder and an accommodation ladder, or any equally safe and convenient means.
  5. Owners, Charterers and Masters of vessels should be aware that “Merchant Shipping Notice MSN 1716” specifies very clearly the conditions under which accommodation ladders are permitted to be used in the combination with a pilot ladder when the freeboard exceeds nine metres. The attention to those involved is drawn particularly to “...the lower end of the accommodation ladder rests firmly against the side of the ship within the parallel body length of the ship and within the mid-ship half section and leading aft and clear of all discharges. Masters are advised that these regulations will be strictly enforced by the Harbour Authority. Any vessels unable to comply with the above section in any particular way should contact their agent in good time before arrival in order to arrange alternative means for embarking the pilot. Any delays and/or additional costs incurred by vessels unable to comply with the above regulations will be strictly to the ship’s own account.
  6. Adequate lighting shall be provided at night so that the pilot ladder overside, and also the position where the Pilot boards the ship, shall be properly illuminated.
  7. Actual sea conditions for small craft are not always appreciated when viewed from the bridge of a large vessel. Boarding and landing of pilots is a potentially hazardous operation, which requires whole-hearted co-operation between those in control of both the tanker and pilot boat. Hard and fast rules cannot be laid down to fit every set of circumstances but the following points of guidance should be noted:
    • (a) All vessels being serviced should be at the pilot station at the agreed time and not significantly early or late.
    • (b) All vessels being serviced should be ready to respond to all reasonable requests from the pilot boat to ensure a safe transfer. Agreement as to how and where the transfer is to take place should be reached in ample time and the manoeuvre executed where sufficient sea room exists.
    • (c) All vessels being serviced should inform the pilot boat of their intention to change their heading and when that change of heading has been completed.
  8. Vessels with freeboard in excess of 18 metres are instructed to confirm, or otherwise, that the gangway can be secured to the ship’s side by means of a cleat or sucker pad to prevent excessive movement of the lower end of the gangway in adverse swell conditions. If this can not be done then boarding of the Pilot may be carried out by helicopter.

Pilot transfer by helicopter

A helicopter may be used to transfer pilots at Sullom Voe. Sullom Voe VTS coordinates such helicopter operations. A helicopter may be used in certain circumstances, for example:

At present a Eurocopter AS332 L2 helicopter is contracted from Bond Offshore Helicopters to the Authority for purposes of pilot transfer. All such transfers shall be by winch except where a full helideck is available.

Only experienced aircrew are used and marine pilots of this Authority are all trained in this mode of transfer.

Factors affecting the use of helicopters for pilot transfer are set out below.

Charges for boarding by helicopter

Guide to Helicopter/Ship Operations

For the convenience of ships’ masters the following extracts from the current ‘Guide to Helicopter/Ship Operations’ are reproduced by kind permission of the International Chamber of Shipping; -

Operational checks

The officer in charge should check all operational requirements on deck shortly before the arrival of the helicopter. General requirements are listed below, however different types of ships may require specialist checks.

 

Back to Top