A Swedish ship in ballast was on the way in to a harbour on the St. Lawrence river and took on pilots in Escoumin. Two pilots embarked and took turns to guide the ship to the quayside. During the last section of the journey the ship was sailing slow ahead. She was guided along a transit line between an illuminated quay corner and a strong light on land behind the quay corner. The transit line was the pilot’s own construction and was not marked on the chart. When the ship was about 740 metres from the quay it stopped softly. On the bridge this was thought to be a result of the prevailing ice conditions, but soon it was realised that the ship had grounded.
The investigation shows the importance of the ship’s captain always keeping a close check on the ship’s position and movements during piloting. In this particular event, the captain put his trust in the local knowledge of the pilot. He was probably concentrating on the manoeuvre ahead towards the quayside, which caused him to be insufficiently observant of the navigation procedure. The pilot made use of visual observations for the most part, and his own transit line which was not marked on the charts.
Communication between captains and pilots normally takes place in English, while it seems to be common practice that pilots use the local language between each other and in contact with others off the ship. There is then a risk that the captain and the helmsman miss out on important information. It is desirable that all communication takes place in English.
Iu dnr 080201-08-20627