Rotterdam’s Ship Pilots Drop in from the Chopper

rotterdam pilot

It’s probably safe to say that Rotterdam ship pilot Marijn van Hoorn is not afraid of heights.  Not only does he get to pilot the vast assortment of ships that call on Rotterdam, but getting to work can often include being lowered by a cable on to the deck of a ship from a helicopter.

Van Hoorn notes that when the wave height offshore Rotterdam is over 3.2 meters, it’s too dangerous to embark and disembark large ships and those carrying dangerous cargo such as tankers via a pilot ladder, which is sketchy in it’s own right at times.  Instead, he hops aboard one of Noordzee Helikopters Vlaanderen’s Airbus helicopters and is lowered aboard the ship via a cable hoist.

rotterdam pilot

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These helicopters are owned and operated by Noordzee Helikopters Vlaanderen (www.nhv.be) and are also used for SAR operations along the Dutch coast.

He says that during periods of heavy weather where wave heights are 2.4 meters or more, smaller vessels will embark and disembark the pilots inside the breakwaters. These vessels are piloted in by means of “Shore based Pilotage,” where a pilot is physically at VTS station Hoek van Holland and guides the vessels in (or out).