Pilot ladders need to be safe and thus in good condition. A recent Mars report describes a near miss when one of the ladder’s side ropes failed as a result of mould.

The Mars reports are compiled (anonymously) by The Nautical Institute. A summary of what happened in this case:

A condensate tanker was outbound from a port and two pilots were disembarking. During their descent, one of the ladder’s side ropes failed (see photo), but the two pilots were able to safely regain the pilot boat. After the incident an inspection revealed the ladder’s side ropes had been weakened by mould.

Advice from The Nautical Institute

  • There is no excuse for a less than perfect pilot ladder – lives depend on it!
  • Rope ladders are constructed in such a way that they have many areas that are difficult to inspect. These ladders deserve expert attention. If in doubt, replace with new.

Mars Reports

This accident was covered in the Mars Reports, originally published as Mars 201977, that are part of Report Number 326. A selection of this Report has also been published in SWZ|Maritime’s January issue. The Nautical Institute compiles these reports to help prevent maritime accidents. That is why they are also published on SWZ|Maritime’s website.

More reports are needed to keep the scheme interesting and informative. All reports are read only by the Mars coordinator and are treated in the strictest confidence. To submit a report, please use the Mars report form.

Picture (top) by Ishikawa Ken / Flickr.