Regretefully, I'd like to report that a Lisbon pilot died last night while jumping from ladder to the pilot boat during a heavy storm, and in pitch dark. He missed the receiving vessel, fell in the water, and drawned. His body was recovered with difficulty by a rescue vessel from the port of Cascais about one hour later, too late to save his life.
This fatality is in the news. For example, in the article below:http://maritimebulletin.net/2018/02/28/pilot-fell-in-water-and-died-after-taking-container-ship-out-lisbon/
Honour to this pilot! My thoughts go to his soul, and especially to his family.
I know this is a risky profession, and accidents sometimes happen.
But I wonder, why are pilots left on their own when all odds are against them?
If a storm is underway, the sea is treacherous, wind is strong, it is pitch dark (at 1:30am), the water is freezing cold, and there is an orange alert for the coast with 6 harbours closed to all traffic, increasing the chances that something may go wrong, couldn't the procedures be revised so that the pilot boat is escorted by a fully manned and duly equipped rescue vessel, following at short distance with all spotlights lit and aiming at the pilot as he descends the ladder, and ready to intervene immediately should anything go wrong?
Wouldn't that be team work, and sensible risk minimization?
Wouldn't that be a way to ensure the principle of 'SAFETY FIRST'?
Shouldn't IMO look into this, and draw a relevent high risk pilot transfer procedure, factoring-in the mandatory presence of coast guard/rescue services in support to pilot operations when conditions (and wisdom...) so require?
Can we withstand another loss of a precious life?