At a time when marine pilotage is coming under sharp focus by ship operators, marine insurers and seafarers' unions, the American Club has made a ground-breaking agreement with the Odessa National Maritime Academy in the Ukraine to provide training courses on marine pilotage for its members' deck officers.
This development is a result of the club establishing a relationship with the Ukrainian maritime community through its Pre-Employment Medical Examination (PEME) scheme, launched in March this year, which has led to liaison with the Odessa National Maritime Academy.
In view of the increasing number of members employing Ukrainian crew, the club has arranged with the academy to hold one-and-a-half-day courses, including simulator training, for those Ukrainian deck officers who sail on members' entered vessels.
Essentially, the training is aimed at ensuring officers understand their role, responsibility and authority when pilots are on board.
Speaking in New York, Dr William Moore, vice president of loss prevention and technical services for the American Club, said: "Far too often in contact-related accidents, the pilot has had some involvement. This is compounded by the master or officer on watch taking notice of a problem but not taking appropriate and timely action to prevent the incident."
Dr Moore revealed that an analysis by the club's managers to identify key risk areas which could be tackled by focused loss prevention initiatives found that some 16% of claims between 2001 and 2003 were associated with some form of contact damage (ie, collisions, groundings, or damage other than collision). These same claims accounted for 52% of the total cost of claims over the same period. It was also found that in at least 40% of these cases a pilot was on board and played a role in the incident causing the loss.
The American Club will pay the cost of the training courses; but members will pay the costs of travel to Odessa and accommodation, thus providing a cost-effective opportunity to provide training for deck officers while they are on leave at home in the Ukraine.
There are 14 slots available for each course, and the first scheduled dates are December 15/16 and March 15/16, 2005.
"The Odessa National Maritime Academy has provided quality training for seafarers for more than 60 years, and we are pleased it will now work closely with the club and its members to extend training to this increasingly important area," said Dr Moore.
The American Club plans
similar arrangements in Manila, where it also has a PEME programme in place.