COMMERCIAL - New standard to open pathways for trainee marine pilots


The National Marine Safety Committee (NMSC) has released for public comment a draft standard on Competencies for Trainee Marine Pilots.

The NMSC said marine pilotage involves directing and controlling the movement of a vessel through near-shore and inshore waters unfamiliar to the ship’s master — or providing navigation advice to the master for this purpose.

NMSC CEO, Margie O’Tarpey said that many ports are finding it difficult to attract marine pilots because of the pre-requisite requirement of Master Class 1.

“This new standard will not only address the skill shortage, but it will ensure a constant supply of pilots in future,” O’Tarpey said.

“The new standard will assist Marine Safety Agencies to achieve a national approach to this important role and this will in turn lead to a more fluid movement of marine pilots around the country,” she said.

Specifically developed for Trainee Marine Pilots, the training program provides not only a traditional seagoing career pathway from Deck Cadet to Master, but also a non-seafaring pathway for those who do not want to gain a professional Certificate of Competency. The latter option enables graduates to work in shore-based positions.

The first phase of the program provides candidates with the knowledge required to become a Trainee Marine Pilot. Phase 2 has been designed to provide the appropriate experience needed to practically apply Phase 1.

O’Tarpey thanked the standard’s reference group for their ongoing assistance to NMSC in developing the standard. The reference group comprises representatives from the State and Territory Authorities, Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), Australian Marine Officers Union (AMOU), Australian Marine Pilots Institute (AMPI), Port Authorities, Shipping Australia, Australian Maritime College (AMC), and other individual stakeholders.

Find out more by attending a consultative workshop. NMSC said it is running a series of half-day workshops in major cities during the public comment period. Starting in Launceston on September 29, the series of workshops will continue around Australia as follows:
* Melbourne, October 1

* Adelaide, October 2

* Fremantle, October 13

* Dampier, October 14

* Cairns, October 19

* Brisbane, October 20

* Sydney, October 21

To obtain a copy of the draft standard and Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) (the RIS will be posted on the web shortly) contact the NMSC Secretariat, phone (02) 9247 2124 or visit and click on Have Your Say. More details on workshops can be found by clicking on the Pilot Workshops icon on the home page.

The public comment period for both documents closes on December 15, 2009.