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Port of London Authority looking to expand its team of marine pilots

The Port of London Authority (PLA) is recruiting twelve new pilots this year to respond to increased traffic on the Thames.

The PLA is looking for candidates with a Class 1 Unlimited Certificate of Competency. Other suitably qualified candidate who can demonstrate experience relative to marine pilotage will also be considered.

The candidates will typically undertake a twenty-eight week training course consisting of training on the PLA’s ship bridge simulator and tug simulator, training in Vessel Traffic Services and on board tugs and ships, with regular reviews, assessments and oral exams. This will qualify them as a Class 4 pilot able to handle smaller vessels and they will have the opportunity to work up to being an unrestricted pilot, able to handle some of the largest ships in the world.

The PLA recruitment drive is also in response to an anticipation of growth in traffic resulting from significant investments taking place at the port’s terminals. The Thames welcomes a wide variety of ships from dredgers to warships and tankers to super yachts. And now the Thames is also able to welcome the world’s largest 400m long container ships, which requires specialised training.

Robin Mortimer, PLA chief executive said:

“The Port of London grew to 45 million tonnes in 2015 and is the UK’s busiest inland waterway. We are forecasting that over the next two decades the Port of London will become the largest its ever been and we are adding to the team to help bring a variety of ships, including the largest in the world, safely on to the Thames.”

Key investments on the Thames include those at DP World London Gateway and the Port of Tilbury. London Gateway is due to open their third berth in Q4 2016, adding capacity to handle an extra 600,000 containers per annum, while the Forth Ports recently announced plans for a £100m investment at the Port of Tilbury and are currently building a state-of-the art temperature-controlled distribution centre in the port and London Distribution Park adjacent to the port.

Peter Steen, director of marine operations said:

“We are seeing a general increase in terminal traffic including containers, trailers, bulks like aggregates and cement, and oil products. And Thames terminals are investing in new infrastructure that is expected increase their throughput even more. The new pilots will help us handle the increase in vessels visiting the Thames.

“This is an excellent opportunity for a career that offers challenges and a diversity of marine activities in a growing business.”

In September, the PLA launched the findings of an economic report as part of the Thames Vision, which found the port was providing over 44,000 jobs and bringing £4bn GVA to the UK economy.

The Vision, a 20 year plan for the river, is forecasting an increase in throughput from its existing 45.4 million tonnes to 60 million tonnes of cargo each year, which will mean this year’s recruitment, is only start of the PLA pilotage team recruitment drive.

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Other upcoming news:

  • The Port of London has seen a surge in ultra large container ship visits as over 25 ships have been diverted from Felixstowe to DP World London Gateway due to high winds impacting their operations. The world’s greenest ultra-large container vessel 18,800TEU M.V. Al Nefud is currently scheduled to arrive at London Gateway on 6th March 2016, being diverted from Felixstowe.

About the PLA

  • The PLA is a self-financing organisation, set-up by an Act of Parliament in 1909 to run the tidal River Thames in trust for future generations. Its 350-strong workforce oversees safe navigation, protects the marine environment and promotes the use of the river. The PLA has no shareholders and any financial surpluses are reinvested in stewardship of the river and improving the efficiency of PLA operations.
  • The PLA oversees navigational safety and river operations on 95 miles of the tidal Thames from Teddington Lock, through the capital, and out to the sea.
  • More information on the Thames Vision project can be found at: www.pla.co.uk/ThamesVision

About the Thames Vision

  • The Thames Vision is a 20 year plan for the river’s future. The project is currently in a consultation phase to clarify the collective ambitions of stakeholders.
  • Evidence feeding into the Thames Vision includes an economic report, amenity report, trade forecast and capacity study.
  • A number of opportunities to participate have taken place as starting with a six-week call for evidence, before moving into a series of public and sector specific meetings on people’s aspirations for the river. A consultation on the draft Thames Vision Goals and Priority Actions for the next 20 years is underway. For more information please visit: http://pla.co.uk/about-us/the-thames-vision.