San Franciso Pilots Respond To Proposed Regulations

In a well written article published by The San Francisco Chronicle Captain Peter McIsaac, president of the San Francisco Bar Pilots, lays out the reasons why federal control of shipping is a bad idea. He tells us;

One much-discussed measure we are not recommending is the implementation of a vessel management system similar to an air traffic control. Our members believe and 150 years of maritime experience show the impracticality of taking an aviation approach to managing maritime traffic. Unlike aircraft, ships operate in only two dimensions. A complex number of forces acting upon a ship’s movement, including vessel hydrodynamics, wind, current and water depth, make remote control of a large ship impossible. Also, in an air-traffic system, most if not all, small craft participate in the system. On any given summer weekend, 95 percent of the small craft on San Francisco Bay are not checked into the vessel management system. The wide range of vessel classes, sizes and abilities further argues against a uniform approach to shipping traffic control.

We recognize the important work the U.S. Coast Guard performs in maintaining an advisory Vessel Traffic Service. While our bar pilots rely on this service, they bear the primary responsibility for communicating with other vessels in close proximity, for communicating with bridge and harbor operators, and for knowing at all times their own position on the water. It is the acceptance of this responsibility and authority which helps maintain safe shipping in Northern California.

As stated in our previous article, we agree completely with the assessment and are encouraged to see a partnership between The Chronicle and maritime professionals. Hopefully there will be more to come!

Read Captain Peter’s full article HERE.

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Also in an official press release San Francisco’s pilot commission announces their decision to formally charge the Cosco Busan’s pilot Captain John Cota. They write;

Captain Cota is charged with having reason to doubt whether the ship could safely proceed under the prevailing circumstances and proceeding on his course with insufficient information about the level of visibility along his intended route. He is also charged with proceeding at a speed that was excessive for the circumstances and failing to make full use of all available resources, including a tugboat, the Vessel Traffic Service of the Coast Guard, and his ship’s lookout. The tug remained tethered to the ship’s stern; the Vessel Traffic Service of the Coast Guard could have provided more information if Captain Cota had requested it; and the ship’s lookout could have been better instructed. The charges allege that Captain Cota’s conduct warrants the suspension or revocation of his state pilot license.

Download the full press release HERE.

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