Precautions for Rigging MOT Ladder/Gangway and Pilot Ladder

Accidents have occurred on many ships when the ship’s MOT Ladder/gangway or pilot ladders have failed while being used by ship’s crew members, pilots or visitors. MOT Ladder/gangway failure usually takes place as a result of lack of maintenance and failure of MOT Ladder/gangway wire rope.


Here are few points to consider while rigging the pilot ladder:

1. The top portion or head of the pilot ladders should be secured at the strongest point of the vessel. 2. Pilot ladder should be positioned and secured, so that it is clear of any discharges from the ship, with parallel body length of the ship and as far as practicable within the half way length (amidships) of the ship. 3. All steps of the pilot ladder should rest firmly against the ship side. In certain ships, where constructional features such as fenders or rubbing band prevent the implementation of above safety features, special arrangements are to be made for safe embarkation and disembarkation. 4. Two man ropes not less than 28 mm and made of manila rope or other material which gives firm grip for climbing the ladder, should be rigged along the side of pilot ladder if requested. 5. During night, the whole length of the pilot ladder, point access and egress should be well illuminated. A life buoy with self-igniting light and a heaving line should be kept ready. Hand hold stanchions and bulwark ladder are to be used if required. 6. If the point of access from sea level is more than 9 meters, a combination ladder should be used. A combination ladder is a conjunction of pilot ladder and accommodation ladder .This is a common arrangement found on vessels with high free board. The accommodation ladder is rigged in such a way that it leads aft of the vessel and has a slope angle of not more than 55 degrees.

Maintenance of Pilot Ladder:

1. Pilot ladders are to be regularly inspected for wear and tear of side ropes, missing wedges and damages on the steps. The steps should never be painted and should be kept clean, free from oil and grease. 2. All the steps should be equally spaced between the side ropes and the distance between two steps should be uniform. 3. Steps should be always horizontal. Any faulty steps found should be replaced immediately. 4. The side ropes are made of manila rope. They should be continuous and free from ties and joints below the first step of pilot ladder. The shackles used to secure the pilot ladder should have equal strength and durability same as that of side ropes used. 5. Once the pilotage operation is over the pilot ladder should be secured instead of left hanging on the ship’s side. The pilot ladders should be stowed in dry and well ventilated space, clear of deck and fitted with cover to prevent the ladder from sunlight, chemical and paint spills. 6. It is to note that Pilot ladders are solely used for the purpose of embarkation and disembarkation of the personnel. It should never be used for any other purpose like draft reading or any other maintenance work. Pilot ladders should be well maintained and properly stowed which ensures safe, convenient and unobstructed

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