The International Pilot

The International Pilot is the magazine of the maritime pilots’ community. It was launched in 1997 with its main objective being to collect and illustrate essential information concerning our members’ profession. We have recently revamped our newsletter to include four main sections: Safety, Community, Technology and Sustainability, aiming to ensure our global membership remains well-informed about the latest development within the maritime international community.

The magazine readership exceeds 8,500 subscribers including maritime pilots, their National Associations and stakeholders globally.

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A message from the IMPA President in Issue 55 of The International Pilot:

Simon Pelletier


Dear Colleagues,

I want to take this opportunity to recall and commend to you the support for maritime pilots and pilotage shown by Mr Kitack Lim, IMO Secretary General Emeritus, during his tenure as IMO Secretary General, 2016 – 2023. In his own words, pilots have always been vital to ensuring the safety of navigation in key ports and shipping lanes globally using their specialized knowledge and expertise. While we look forward to continuing to contribute the expertise of pilots to the work of the IMO under Mr Arsenio Dominguez, we extend our appreciation to Mr Lim for his leadership of the IMO in the face of unprecedented global challenges, his support for IMPA, and his understanding of why your work matters.

Looking ahead to 2024, I see an opportunity for us to contribute our technical expertise and experience to discussions at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) about the impact of environmental regulations on the handling and manoeuvrability of ships. In collaboration with the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Harbour Masters ' Association, we will raise the issue of shaft and engine power limitation systems affecting many pilots worldwide. Moreover, we will be providing our membership with the most up-to-date information possible on the latest IMO environmental regulations and their potential impact on the performance and operation of ships.

We will participate in finalising amendments to SOLAS regulation V/23 and a new mandatory performance standard for pilot transfer arrangements. I am in no doubt that a coherent, mandatory regime for pilot transfer arrangements represents the most significant opportunity for the safety of pilots on duty in decades. The outlook for the conclusion of this work looks bright. We will also see the finalisation of the revised poster on transfer arrangements. Our colleague Captain John Pearn, MNM, led work on this. His steadfast commitment to the safety of pilots remains a lesson to us all.

We will finalise pilot transfer operations guidance, including training, personal protective equipment, embarkation/disembarkation, incident response and reporting. This work will complement the work on SOLAS regulation V/23 and equip our community with everything needed to continue advancing our safety culture. 2023 was a year marked by tragedy in our community, and we owe it to our colleagues who have lost their lives and their families to continuously evolve our approach to safety.  

The IMPA XXVI Congress will take place in Rotterdam on April 21 – 26, 2024. There will be elections of three Vice Presidents and a conference programme covering safety, operational challenges, human capital, environmental sustainability and stakeholder influence and engagement. But most importantly, our community will come together and share our knowledge, experience, and expertise at a personal level. There is nothing I look forward to more as President, and I hope to see familiar and new faces from across our cadre represented as we look to the future of our profession.

We will also continue to engage when we see threats to the purpose of pilotage and the safety of pilots on duty. We see a need, now more than ever, to challenge the opinions, motivations and intent of some narratives about pilots and pilotage. Our performance in delivering more than 1.5 million acts of pilotage each year and in reducing accident risks by a factor of at least 528 (TEMS, 2022) is an achievement we must and will defend. We will continue to strengthen the narrative about why pilotage matters to our stakeholders and society in general.

In my previous message, I informed you that we would enhance women’s representation at the highest levels within IMPA. I am therefore pleased to welcome Captain Nildeniz Sutcu Sen to the IMPA Advisory Committee and thank our colleagues in Turkey for nominating a Pilot of such high calibre. IMPA is committed to enhancing diversity in its work and ensuring that when our Association speaks with one voice, every pilot under our umbrella hears their own.

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