In the first six months of 2022, more than 40 PLA pilots have been promoted to handle larger vessels.
In response to strong demand, we have been recruiting and training at least 12 pilots a year since 2016.
On average it takes new recruits five years to progress through the pilot classes, handling progressively larger ships.
Trainees’ first goal is to be authorised as a Class 4 pilot, able to handle vessels of up to 125 metres. This normally takes close study and training trips with other pilots on smaller vessels over six months. So far this year, eight pilots have made this initial step.
At the other end of the spectrum, sixteen pilots have been promoted to Class 1, nine of whom have unrestricted status, able to handle more vessel types.
All promotions require assessed trips to be completed, written and oral exams.
Pilotage manager, Dave Newbury, commented: “The progress this year has been really strong. Forty promotions in six months is a remarkable achievement. It’s the result of hard work by our trainees, qualified pilots and the pilotage support team, with support from our customers. Volunteer pilots act as assessors for promotion between classes. They provide invaluable support to their colleagues and also pilotage exemption certificate applicants. Most importantly, the work doesn’t stop: we are focused on seeing more assessments for promotion over the coming months. In October, four more new recruits will join the ten we have already recruited this year.”