A recent incident occurred on a Platform Supply Vessel where the pilot ladder on the starboard side parted whilst the pilot was attempting to board the vessel by means of this ladder. This resulted in the pilot falling backwards approximately 2 metres onto the deck of the pilot boat where he was caught by the pilot boat deckhand.
The pilot suffered whiplash injuries and the pilot boat deckhand suffered slight injuries to his neck and lower back. However, there was a high potential that this incident could have resulted in more serious injury to the pilot and pilot boat deckhand, including the possibility of fatalities.
Whilst the PSV was underway in Aberdeen Bay proceeding at approximately 5 knots in a South Westerly direction towards the entrance to the harbour, the two on duty ABs deployed the starboard pilot ladder over the vessel’s side at a height of 1.5m above the water line.
The vessel then altered course by two points to starboard to create a lee for the pilot boat and the pilot boat came alongside the vessel’s starboard side.
The pilot then attempted to board the vessel by means of the pilot ladder but when one foot was on the bottom of the ladder and whilst attempting to place his other foot on the ladder, the ladder parted causing the pilot to fall backwards onto the pilot boat where he was caught by the pilot boat deckhand.