Click for next page ( 26


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 25
1 The Marine Navigation and Piloting System SUMMARY Marine navigation and piloting form a complex operating system consist- ing of vessel and waterway systems; human operators; organizational culture and structure; and a supporting infrastructure for management, pilotage, policy and regulation, and professional development. System effectiveness depends heavily on human performance. Risk varies according to physical factors such as water- way dimensions; vessel factors including size and loading; economic factors; tran- sit considerations; potential consequences of marine accidents; and human fac- tors. Navigation and piloting practices and processes have strong roots in tradition; they evolved to support independent vessel operations and to guide safe interaction between two vessels. The organizational structure for decision making involving more than two vessels or on a port-wide basis is loosely inte- grated and mostly informal. Waterways management functions are spread among various government and commercial organizations. Marine traffic regulation is applied sparingly, but interest in this approach is growing. Technology already exists that could be used to better integrate and improve waterways manage- ment; an example is port-wide marine traffic regulation using vessel traffic servic- es. Some management changes are warranted in part because physical improve- ments to channels are not timely, and few waterways are managed or regulated to conform to their designed capacity. Channels are stressed routinely beyond designed safety margins, usually with only a cursory assessment of risk that does not always include consultation with port safety officials. Operating trends have reduced the opportunities for many masters and deck officers aboard all categories of ocean-going ships to acquire hands-on ma 25

OCR for page 25
26 MINDING THE HELM neutering experience with their vessels in shallow water conditions. At the same time, navigation and in-port worl OCR for page 25
THE MARINE NAVIGATION AND PILOTING SYSTEM l l l l Risk (Chapters l & 4) l l l Operating Environment ...... .... .. . Technology (Chapter 6) Organizational Culture and Structure (Chapters l, 2, 3, 5, & 7) 27 id. Pilotage (Chaptersl,2,3, 4&6) Human Systems (Chapters l & 7) ll l l ll Change, (Chapter l ) l Vessel and Waterway Systems (Chapters 1, 5, & 6) l ll I FIGURE 1-1 Main components of the marine navigation and piloting system and report chapters in which they are principally addressed. systems exist and interact within an operating environment supported by vessel and waterway systems, and characterized by substantial risk and recent changes (Figure 1-1~. Problems that can lead to failures in the marine navigation and piloting system can arise in any single element of the system, or in combinations of these elements. Consequently, the system can best be understood by examin- ing not only its individual components, but also their interdependencies and interfaces: for instance, among the people, technology, and the tasks; or among actions and decisions in one subsystem producing effects, intended and unintended, in other sub- systems. In the context oil marine navigation and piloting, subsystems of large-scale human systems include ship bridge-to-shore, bridge team, master-pilot, bridge-to-bridge, and vessel-port control interactions, among others. Of interest in these systems are the decision making, organizational behavior, organizational culture, communications, training, selection, retention, and qualification processes. In contrast, human factors is the area of ergonomics that focuses on human-machine interfaces. . . .

OCR for page 25
26 thc 1asks, people, and prevaDiDg organizabona1 cultures. By examining the sys- tem's esscutia1 elements and tbeir relationships, tbis approacb reco~nizes tbat a ~5X" iD ODC p~ of tbe system may, iD ~Ct cause di~culhes aDd even dys~nc- hODS iD some of Rs otber pads. E~cOve planniAg, operadons, management, administration, aDd researcb iD the mahne navigadoD and piloting system re- quires such a systemUevel approach. The chapter Arst deschbes pilotage (see Box 1-1 ~r pilotage te~s used iD -` II~I III -~ ~SSSSS~SS~SsSsS~SsS;S~SsSsS~sisS~sisS~SsS: - :...,~sss~s~s s s~sssss~s s s~s~#I111111111

OCR for page 25
THE MARINE NAVIGATION AND PILOTING SYSTEM 29 this report), the environment within which the marine navigation and piloting system operates, and the difficulties that changes in this environment have gen- erated. The primary elements of the system then are discussed and assessed: piloting tasks, vessel and waterways systems, technology, and organizational structures and cultures. Developments and trends that are expected to influence marine navigation and piloting over the next decade are identified as is the continuing controversy over pilotage, establishing the context in which this re

OCR for page 25
30 MINDING THE HELM port's advice will be applied. Building on this foundation, the report discusses the ability of the system to conduct planning, operations, management, adminis- tration, and research activities, and implications of those findings. PILOTAGE Since the early days of marine navigation, vessels entering or leaving port, or navigating other hazardous waters, have been guided by pilots possessing a thorough knowledge of local currents, tides, rocks, shoals, weather, and other conditions. The skill and care of the pilot are vitally important for the safe pas- sage of vessels, for the safety of lives and cargo, and as means to protect the port and the marine environment. Today, as in the past, vessels normally are required by maritime countries to engage independent marine pilots when entering or leaving ports or piloting waters. Piloting demands more than guiding a passage through a particular water- way; it requires a diverse mix of navigation and shiphandling skills (Armstrong, .... Modern car carrier westbound in Chesapeake and Delaware (C & D) Canal. Car carrier superstructures have large wind catch areas. Wind effects must be compensated for dur- ing transits. Additional tug assistance may be required for some maneuvering evolutions in restricted shallow waters. (Wendy Mitman Clarke, Soundings)

OCR for page 25
THE MARINE NAVIGATION AND PILOTING SYSTEM 31 1980; Hofstee, 1991; MacElrevey, 1988; Plummer, 1966~. In practice, a pilot serves as an expert advisor to the vessel's basic navigation complement and performs navigation and piloting functions. The pilot determines when and where to turn, as well as when and how to execute the necessary maneuvers. The pilot also provides a traffic management function by coordinating traffic queues, hor- izontal separation between vessels, and arrangements for meeting and overtaking other traffic. Pilots are also responsible for maneuvering different types of ships with different degrees of maneuverability. Considerable skill is needed to compensate for variations in vessel behavior, even between sister ships. Variations in maneu- verability result from factors such as differences in hull form, propulsion and steering equipment responsiveness, and loading. Pilot skills include the ability to anticipate and respond to the varying intensities of vessel reactions, particularly with regard to the effects of shallow water and small under-keel clearances (Arm- strong, 1980; Gates, 1989; Hooyer, 1983; MacElrevey, 1988; Plummer, 1966; Reid, 1986). Although a ship's captain is always responsible for safe navigation of the vessel (with few exceptions, such as the Panama Canal, where responsibility for navigation devolves to the Panama Canal pilot tMacElrevey, 1988; Parks, 19821), ship navigation in piloting waters depends increasingly on the attentiveness and skills of marine pilots (Armstrong, 1980; Cahill, 1983, 1985; MacElrevey, 1988; Meurn, 1990~. Where pilotage is compulsory, a marine pilot normally has imme- diate charge of a vessel's navigation. In ports where pilotage is not mandated and marine pilots have a reputation for competence and proficiency, similar levels of control normally are exercised (Armstrong, 1980; Cahill, 1985; MacEl- revey, 1988; Meurn, 1990; Nautical Institute, 1991a; Parks, 1982~. Thus, in sim- ple terms, as the vessel nears or operates in a port, navigation decisions rely on the expert knowledge of the pilot. In the absence of an independent marine pilot, a ship's officer would perform the same functions, but would usually lack an equivalent level of familiarity with local operating conditions. Automated pilot- ing expert systems (that is, artificial intelligence decision aids) are under devel- opment, ostensibly to supplement but not to supplant piloting expertise (Grabowski and Sanborn, 1992; Grabowski and Wallace, 1993~. In the United States, responsibility for regulating pilotage for vessels in foreign and coastwise trades is shared between federal and state authorities. Pilotage for vessels operating solely on inland waters is not regulated per se, although some inland passenger vessels are required to have federally licensed pilots under current manning laws (46 U.S.C. 8101) and regulations. Insuring that pilots are competent in their trade is a complex challenge for governing authorities, pilot associations, and operating companies. To compound the challenge, applicants for pilot's licenses arrive with many different levels of nautical experience. They may be graduates of maritime schools, ship masters, ships' officers, ferry operators, tug masters or mates, or veterans of Navy or

OCR for page 25
32 MINDING THE HELM Coast Guard service; Some have no prior maritime experience at all. Although the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has published recommendations concerning the minimum knowledge, skills, and procedures that should be re- quired of maritime pilots (Hofstee, 1991; IMO, 1981), there is no national or universal pilotage model for the development and administration of pilotage programs (Herberger et al., 1991; Japanese Pilot's Association, 19901. Pilot train- ing and licensing requirements vary widely. Approaches for developing or assur- ing theoretical knowledge, expert local area knowledge, and shiphandling and piloting skills range from written examinations to on-thejob training to compre- hensive theoretical and practical skill development programs. Training, licens- ing, and regulation of federally and state-licensed pilots are addressed in Chap- ters 2 and 3. VESSEL AND WATERWAY SYSTEMS Vessel and waterway systems are basic elements in the marine navigation and piloting system, without which the system would not function. These sys- tems interact when vessels arrive, depart, or transit a port area. Vessel systems are comprised of steering and propulsion systems, traditional navigation equip- ment (such as charts, magnetic and gyro compasses, and bridge wing gyro re- peaters), radio navigation aids, and collision avoidance aids, and advanced elec- tronic positioning technologies. Such advanced systems may include satellite navigation systems or integrated bridges, which may employ expert system deci- sion aids to integrate navigation, positioning, communications, and vessel opera- tion information. Expert systems may also provide recommendations on vessel steering, operations, or communications. Waterway systems are comprised of natural and man-made navigation chan- nels, as well as aids to navigation which are installed in the channels. Traditional aids to navigation such as lights and buoys, radio navigation systems, and vessel traffic services (VTS) are included, as are newer systems such as interactive electronic lights and buoys, and advanced vessel traffic advisory and manage- ment systems. Port and Waterway Design and Operation Some ports are more constrained than others by channel limitations. Over- all, existing ports and waterways do not always accommodate ships that are most modern in terms of efficiency, safety, and sometimes cargo-handling capabili- ties, even though shipowners and port and waterway managers are under eco- nomic pressure to use large, sophisticated ships at the maximum possible draft. The latest ships maximize the amount of cargo that can be carried; ports that can accommodate them can gain or maintain a competitive advantage. As a result, waterway design limits routinely are challenged by operating practices (Gates,

OCR for page 25
~:~s~ ~s~s~s~s~s~:::s~:~:s~:t:!s Age: ~s~s~sssssssssss:::ssssss:~:~s ~:~:ss~:~:~:~s~::~s~:~: ~: ~ Tbc evolution of hull size Mom saying ship 1brougb 1950s tanker to modem tankship. lUc ~zc of modem ships omen exceeds me design criteria [bat were used to plan and construct many cxi~ing channels Age. 4~> Iffy ~f8~3 If Offal 1989; NRC, 1983, 1992~7 In such cases, ~ marine pHo1 hequendy plays a chth Cal role for 1be shipowner or operadug company in esOmahug whether a vessel that exceeds design cinema can Pansy the pilotage route sadly. Determining Obeyer vessels meet or exceed design crheha can be accom- plisbed ~itbout ~ of accident using computer-based and physical-scale model shiphandling simulations. For example, tanker transits to Ad Tom Valdez, Alas- ka, were simulated in 1976, before oil shipments began, Ad several times tbere- aher, leading to est~hshment of Tansy lanes and ship-assist tug needs (Jones, 1980; Amps ~ ~ 19821 Ho~, such Mace ~- ~ not s~d~ practice (NRC, 1992a It is much more common to kind that answers to these questions result Tom an initial system that depends on 1be expedence, exper- dse, and judgment of pilots usuaUy with the aid of Elba tugs and under the most Chorale operating conditions. Sap owners and pHots could consul Aim ~owl- edgeable naval architects or waterway designers in assessing a ~aterway's capa- biLty to support saw navigation (Gates, 1989), but there is htHe evidence that such consultations occur. Nonbinding guidelines could be developed to aid the decision-mabug process. Such guidelines could be designed to provide CexibiF by far decision making to accommodate the highly shuadonal nature of each passage and pilot knowledge Ad skids. No Mitten, nonbinding guidelines were Fund, Though there me un~rUten guidelines that me banded down as paw of the pilotage Madison through apprenticeships.

OCR for page 25
34 MINDING THE HELM Once a port or waterway project is constructed, there are typically no re- quirements for assessing its overall effectiveness, its adequacy for vessels that exceed original design parameters, or effects of changes in bathymetry or geom- etry on vessel behavior beyond that required for maintenance dredging. One exception is the Army Corps of Engineers' practice of applying established study procedures for port and waterway improvements to determine, for example, where channel deepening is justified economically because of changed operating practices (NRC, 1985, 1992a). Except in canals and lock systems operated by the Corps of Engineers, neither federal agencies nor local project sponsors regu- late or manage the passage of vessels that exceed the vessel size and maneuver- ing criteria that were used for channel design (NRC, 1983, 1985, 1992a; US- ACE, 1980~. The Coast Guard occasionally imposes transit restrictions, usually for ships carrying dangerous cargoes in bulk or during periods of heavy commer- cial fishing or recreational activity. But as a general rule, independent marine pilots by default often become the final arbiters of port and waterway design limits, with or without the benefit of engineering information or the results of simulation experiments to help guide decision making. Waterways Management Operation, maintenance, and regulation of the marine navigation and pilot- ing system in the United States, loosely defined as waterways management, is the responsibility of a variety of organizations, each with differing objectives, operating authorities, and resources. There is no single manager or overall au- thority in the United States that integrates all of the elements of the marine navigation and piloting system. Responsibility for coordinating or controlling vessel operations, scheduling, and navigation support activities is distributed among various parties, including the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, port authorities, marine pilots, marine exchanges, port and pilot com- missions, private companies, and other organizations (NAS, 1980; NRC, 1983, 1992a). Waterway system components are not organized into national, regional, or even local networks. Some components may be part of a national program, as is the case with aids to navigation. However, basic responsibility for vessel operations remains aboard the vessel with its master, and individual vessel oper- ations are rarely coordinated across a port area. Responsibility for information acquisition, and interdependent decision mak- ing based on that information, is distributed among individuals dispersed through- out the system, ashore and afloat, in an operating environment that is constantly changing (NRC, 1990a,b). Although coordination of vessel sailing orders and pilot dispatching often is practiced on a company- or association-wide basis, there is no formal organizational structure for decision making to guide the operation of the vessels while in pilotage waters, except where vessel traffic services have been established (described later in this chapter and in Chapter 53.

OCR for page 25
THE MARINE NAVIGATION AND PILOTING SYSTEM 35 A locale-specific, informal structure is typical in interactions between indepen- dent pilots. But, in practice, the independent decisions that are made aboard each vessel have far-reaching implications and effects that are not always filly recognized or accommodated elsewhere within the afire cted port, waterway, or river system. Because no single authority manages or coordinates marine traffic, approach- es to waterways management vary widely across the nation among operating companies, port authorities, and organizations with safety responsibilities. Even the administration of generic components of national programs may vary in the absence or insufficiency of national standards, performance criteria and mea- sures, performance monitoring, and coordinated program upgrades. Substantial technology exists that could be used to improve waterways man- agement, particularly with regard to traffic management and regulation. For ex- ample, automated, computer-based data management and electronic communi- cations systems are in widespread use for cargo; these technologies could also be employed to assist in traffic management. A few VTS systems share vessel information electronically across national boundaries, and use this information with varying degrees of success for queuing traffic. Some VTS systems, marine exchanges, and port authorities collect and distribute vessel arrival and departure data (Herberger et al., 1991~. However, the systematic integration of data about vessel movements, and coordination of that data, remains a primitive practice throughout the United States and in many ports internationally. Marine Traffic Regulation Traffic control, as applied in aviation, is not used in marine transportation. However, extensive traffic regulation authority is available to the U.S. Coast Guard such as Title 33, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 6 and the Port and Waterways Safety Act of 1972. Some of these authorities, including anchorage and pilotage regulations, are exercised routinely. Others are used only occasion- ally. Traffic control measures are imposed only in specific situations, such as transits of ships carrying liquified natural gas in bulk, major marine recreational or sporting events, temporary obstructions to navigation, or "dead-ship" move- ments in constricted channels (that is, a vessel being moved within a harbor by tugs while its propulsion system is not functioning). Traffic control measures used in these situations typically consist of specific restrictions on vessel move- ments, such as transits during daylight hours, tug escorts or management of the time and space in which the movements will occur. Vessel Traffic Services (VTSJ Vessel traffic services and VTS-like systems such as ship information ser- vices are operated by either government or private parties in about 20 locations

OCR for page 25
56 MINDING THE HELM Assessments of risk factors that affect vessel operations (Box 1-5) most often are made informally by mariners while they are navigating or maneuvering their vessels. Risk in ports and port approaches, waterways, and river systems supporting ship navigation varies according to channel and waterway dimen- sions, configurations, and length; hydrodynamics; commodity types and flows; vessel types, hull forms, sizes, propulsion and steering systems; vessel loading; traffic types, patterns, density, times of movement; tides and river stages; and the presence of port and waterway structures. As all of these factors vary among ports and waterways, so too does the probability that an accident may occur. The interactive effect of these risk factors must be understood and effectively ad- dressed in determining what opportunities exist for improving safety perfor- mance. These effects are examined in Chapter 4. Changes in the Marine Navigation and Piloting System Over the past several decades, marine transportation has been transformed in form and character. Ships and barges have become bigger and more unwieldy, but improvements in navigation channels to ensure adequate margins of safety for maneuvering lag years behind these changes in vessel design and operating characteristics (NRC, 1985, 1992a). Shiphandl~ng is complicated by modern ship- propulsion systems that sacrifice maneuverability in favor of fuel economy. Yet, some of the latest-generation ships have positioning and control systems that make it possible to navigate more precisely than ever before, given the advanced human skills needed to operate them successfully. The scale of potential harm has also expanded greatly with vessel size. Petroleum, chemical, and liquified gas cargoes are transported in such quantities that a single-ship disaster can have catastrophic consequences for port facilities, population centers, and to local and regional environments. In the busiest ports and waterways, marine traffic has become more dense and diverse. The implications and effects of all these chang- es are not always readily apparent nor are they well understood from a systems perspective. These changes must be recognized and their effects understood so that enhancements to human systems and advances in technology can be applied effectively to improve navigation safety in a competitive economic environment. However, implementation of improvements is complicated by misconceptions regarding the structure and performance of the marine navigation and piloting system. Further, there is a public perception that preventing tanker accidents is the major marine transportation issue. Although understanding the causes, con- sequences, and implications of marine accidents that result in major pollution incidents is important, an understanding of the navigation and piloting of all categories of merchant vessels is needed in order to identify and correct systemic problems. The continuing, polarized debate over pilot roles, performance, and licen- sure, for example, lacks precision. Although much has been written about pilot

OCR for page 25
THE MARINE NAVIGATION AND PILOTING SY.STEM

OCR for page 25
58 MINDING THE HELM age issues, no consensus has developed to guide decision making relative to the effects of change on the marine navigation and piloting system. Distinctions often are blurred between federally and state-licensed pilots, the various types of pilots (such as coastal, bar, river, and harbor pilots and docking and mooring masters), their roles (advisory or directive), and their legal status (voluntary or compulsory). All these characteristics typically are blended into a confusing pool of subjects and issues that confounds informed assessment. This report presents a comprehensive description of piloting practices (Chapter 2), pilotage administration (Chapter 3), and features of a complete pilotage system (Appen- dix E) to guide informed decision making regarding pilotage issues. The degree to which marine safety may be threatened by changes in the character of marine transportation or current responses to them is a difficult question. There is nevertheless a widespread perception among professional mar- iners worldwide, national marine safety authorities, and the public that these changes could prove detrimental to safety. Some trends of particular concern are reduced crew sizes, employment of lowest-cost crews, and fatigue and stress caused by economic pressure for rapid port turnaround times (Chadwin and Tal- ley, 1992; Intertanko, 1990; Knudson and Mathiesen, 1987; Motor Ship, 1992a,b; NRC, 1990a; Peters, 1993; Safety at Sea, 1990~. There is sufficient reason to closely follow all developments in shipping practices and safety performance. So far, safety data and assessment methodologies have not been adequate for this task. Moreover, mariners, including pilots, are reluctant to be specific about their observations of substandard performance and maintenance, and they are known not to keep extensive or detailed supporting records. The following sections present various perspectives on the changes affecting marine transportation, along with a summary of the debate over pilotage. Marine Industry Issues Rapid developments are taking place in technology, competition, and public concern, accompanied by increases in operating costs and, especially for tankers, in the costs of marine accidents. All this is occurring during a period of contrac- tion in the U.S.-flag fleet. These factors limit the ability of domestic operators to respond to change. The costs of accidents, especially those that result in environ- mental damage, have risen dramatically, and it is not yet clear whether preven- tive measures will reduce the probability that accidents will occur. Thus, there is a relationship between economic, operational, and environmental risks, and to the degree that human health may be threatened, health risks as well. To the extent that operational risk can be reduced, corresponding reductions in econom- ic, environmental, and health risks will follow. Determining how to reduce oper- ational risk without creating unwarranted economic burdens on operating com- panies, public resources, or the economy is a substantial challenge. The most obvious change affecting the marine industry is in the standard of

OCR for page 25
THE MARINE NAVIGATION AND PILOTING SYSTEM 59 care that must be exercised to safeguard the environment. Great public outrage and calls for corrective and punitive action following several major marine casu- alties and oil spills during 1989 clearly signaled a dramatic increase in public expectations for marine safety. Legislative and regulatory actions by the states and federal government following these events served to greatly increase the liability of operators of vessels involved in a marine accident. The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 greatly increased the limits of liability of shipowners for damages resulting from oil spills. It also required that they pro- vide evidence of financial responsibility to ensure the financial resources that would be needed to pay for cleanup. The act also left the states free to pass laws setting even higher liability limits for oil spills in their waters. These develop- ments have heightened safety awareness within the marine industry. They have also increased the incentives for improving navigation and pilotage to reduce the economic risk for oil spills resulting from marine accidents (NRC, 1990a, l991c; OSIR, 1993e,k). During this period of change, marine transportation of persistent (heavy) oils has continued at unchanged levels, although there appears to have been a change in which companies are providing the service. The increased financial responsibilities have had a number of effects. A small number of U.S. and for- eign operators ceased to use their own vessels to transport persistent oil to U.S. ports (or to ports in a few states, including Maine and Maryland). A few others discontinued or reduced investment in improvements in existing vessels nearing the end of their useful life, because of the phase-out schedule for single-hulled tank vessels imposed by OPA 90. These companies instead may employ vessels owned by others that meet the financial responsibility and other requirements of U.S. law but for which they have a reduced degree of operational control (Lloyd's List, 1990a,b,c; Maritrans, 1989, 1993; OSIR, 1990; Plume, 1991; Trench, 1992~. The safety implications of such a shift depend on operating practices (including manning and outfitting) and maintenance of the vessels that are used. Since the enactment of OPA 90, the quality of tankers chartered for service to U.S. ports appears to have improved (Arthur McKenzie, Tanker Advisory Center, personal communication, January 15, 1993~. Maintaining this trend is an objective of the act's implementation. Available data are insufficient to monitor fully the safety performance of not only tankers but also a far greater number of other cargo ships with regard to the existing broad range of marine safety requirements. The potential for involve- ment of vessels other than tankers in marine accidents, including multiple-vessel accidents involving tank vessels, remains a concern but is difficult to quantify. Only a small percentage of foreign commerce is shipped on U.S.-flag ves- sels. The ability to control change through local regulation has been reduced, because declining numbers of vessels and crews are under direct U.S. influence with regard to vessel registry or operator licensure. Unilateral action by the United States to dictate the design of the world's fleets and rules for vessel

OCR for page 25
60 MINDING THE HELM crowing (at least for operations to and from U.S. ports) is possible, because trade with the United States is essential for many ship operators. However, unilateral action has not in the past been viewed favorably by the international community. However, recent tanker accidents have motivated some European countries to consider unilateral action to protect their waters from oil spills. Although such action is a potentially powerful means to improve safety, it must be implemented very carefully to avoid economic conflict with other countries. Regardless, inter- national shipping companies, if they wish to trade with the United States, must meet international standards enforced by the United States as well as any unilat- eral standards that are imposed. Technological development of navigation systems is another area of rapid change. Several new technologies have been developed recently that potentially could be employed to reduce the probability of accidents, and thus to reduce risk. These technological developments, discussed more fully in Chapter 6, can pro- vide dramatic improvements in position fixing, steering, information display, and hazard avoidance. Most will require significant changes to operating practic- es and operational procedures to realize fully their potential. Retrofitting some existing vessels will be difficult and expensive. There are, nevertheless, incen- tives for operators to consider using advanced technologies. Beyond risk reduc- tion, some technologies offer improved operational efficiency. Any positive mea- sures that are taken also have potential benefits in the form of public acceptance and goodwill for the industry. However, powerful impediments complicate the implementation of changes that might improve navigation and piloting. The first barrier is the economic condition of the industry. Because of a worldwide oversupply of most types of vessels, freight rates are low. The shipping industry argues that the capital neces- sary to improve the fleet is scarce. On the other hand, tanker operators trading with the United States are required by OPA 90 to phase out their existing single- hull ships from this trade by the year 2015. Thus, incentives to replace the world fleet with high-technology ships are countered by economic forces (Peters, 19931. Retrofitting new technology might be attractive for many operators if they could derive operational efficiencies. Current U.S. laws and regulations many of which were enacted before the new technologies emerged make it difficult to alter crew manning and operating practices as needed to achieve these effi- ciencies. Past labor agreements have had similar effect, although there is strong movement in U.S. shipping towards permanent assignment of masters, mates, and licensed engineers. In some cases, these same laws and regulations could even impede the changes in operations that could reduce risk (see related discus- sion in Chapter 61. Liability considerations also inhibit adoption of new technologies and prac- tices. Centuries of court decisions with respect to prudent seamanship could not take into account these new technologies and practices. Operators that adopt high-technology navigation systems risk running afoul of legal requirements and

OCR for page 25
THE MARINE NAVIGATION AND PILOTING SYSTEM 61 precedents that institutionalize practices and procedures based on the use of traditional navigation equipment (now including radar and very-high-frequency EVHF] radio). As an example, some operators have been reluctant to install electronic charting systems until the legal equivalence of electronic charts to paper charts has been firmly established. Other operators have made these instal- lations, and their bridge personnel are using electronic charting systems for nav- igation, while retaining older equipment and paper charts to satisfy legal require- ments. What many shipowners perceive to be a lack of coherent national maritime policy seems to be at the root of most of the uncertainty among operators as to the direction that they should take in addressing the new, higher levels of risk. They see little encouragement from the federal government for expanding or even maintaining the U.S.-flag fleet. Shipping laws and regulations are not seen as supporting the changes that shipowners believe are needed (Phillips and Wein traub, 19933. Seeing no effective central management of maritime affairs, opera- tors are concerned that independent action by U.S. coastal states will complicate or adversely affect the U.S. position in international marine safety policy setting. Change is needed to meet the new challenges of public expectations and increased risk. But changes in operating practices and adoption of high-technol- ogy navigation systems are unlikely to be timely or fully effective without a substantial reduction in the uncertainty facing the maritime industry and without the removal of impediments that constrain their implementation and use. Public Safety Issues Modern operating and manning practices have increased performance de- mands on shipboard personnel in pilotage waters-usually the most difficult and demanding portion of modern voyages (see Chapter 4~. Adding to this load are the difficulties associated with substandard ships and crews, identified by anec- dotal reports (Armstrong, 1980; Cahill, 1983, 1985; Fairplay, 1992a). Substan- dard performance is alleged for ships of a dozen nations (OSIR, 1993d; Peters, 1993; Salvarani, 1992~. Substantial material deficiencies have been detected by Coast Guard inspections of some foreign-flag merchant ships of all types and by pre-charter inspections. Both the Coast Guard and the IMO have alleged sub- standard oversight by some classification societies that inspect and certify vessel seaworthiness (Bangsberg, 1992; Fairplay, 1992a; Irvine, 1993; Kime, 1992; OSIR, 1993d; Porter, 19941. For example, according to pre-charter inspections by one oil company, up to 20 percent of tankers in 1992 that it considered chartering did not fully meet international and applicable company chartering standards (Irvine, 1993~. Further, a very large number of vessel owners or inves- tors own only one or two ships. There are about 3,250 ocean-going tankers, but the average tanker fleet consists of only about 1.7 ships (Irvine, 19931. The general manning practice of single-ship owners and management companies is

OCR for page 25
62 MINDING THE HELM to obtain crews as needed on the world maritime labor market; competitive fac- tors are such that there is little incentive for owners or management companies operating in this fashion or charterers to invest in professional development programs (Peters, 1993~. Such practices are not only a concern to marine safety authorities, but also to the operators of larger tanker fleets (Intertanko, 1990~. Over the past several decades, the operational safety of ships, measured in terms of marine casualties, has improved overall (Knudsen and Mathiesen, 1987; Marine Log, 1993; NRC, 1990a, l991c; USCG, 1987~. Since 1989, the number of ship losses, ship losses in tonnage, volume of oil spilled by vessels in U.S. waters, and number of vessel spills in U.S. waters and worldwide have decreased steadily (Marine Log, 1993; OSIR, 1991, 1992, 1993i). Yet a number of factors, including the increasing age of commercial fleets and an associated increase in maintenance problems, suggest that this trend may have reached a limit and could be reversing. After steady reductions in the numbers of ships lost over a 10-year period, total losses jumped sharply by 27 percent in 1991. Losses of life and gross tonnage surged as well. In 1992, two large oil spills from tankers accounted for nearly 27 percent of the total number of gallons spilled worldwide, an increase in volume spilled over the two preceding years (OSIR, 1992, 1993i; Porter, 1992b'. This was followed in early 1993 by several major oil spills involving tanker accidents off the coasts of Europe and Southeast Asia (OSIR, 1993e,f,g,i,j; Welch, 19941. Possible explanations for the observed increases include aging of the world's merchant fleets and alleged deterioration in the quality of ships' crews (Bangsberg, 1992; Peters, 1993; Porter, 1992a; Tecnitas, 1992~. Compre- hensive data to support these hypotheses were not available; previous National Research Council studies have identified gaps in marine safety data and called for research to fill them (NRC, 1990a, 1991a). However, the Coast Guard reports that too many deficiencies are being detected in foreign-flag tankers through its boarding program and that "alarming discrepancies" are being found with regard to the International Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention and U.S. regula- tions (Kime, 19923. The Marine Accident Record In general, the marine accident record indicates that the marine navigation and piloting system is a safe system. Apparent reasons for this performance level include: the slow speed at which most action occurs, usually but not always- providing time for human operators to recognize and recover from mistakes; an operating environment that usually does not lead immediately to cata- strophic results such as total loss of a vessel; the more extreme consequences

OCR for page 25
THE MaRINE NAVIGATION AND PILOTING SYSTEM 63 often occur well after the initial event, especially in unprotected waters, as the vessel is exposed to various environmental conditions (Cahill, 1983, 1985; NTSB, 1990~; the nautical rules of the road, which if used correctly provide adequate procedures for preventing collisions in interactions between two vessels (Cahill, 1983; NTSB, 1972, 1981, 1984, 1988a, 1991a); and the conscientious performance of operating personnel, even when mis- takes are made (Paramore et al., 1979; Reason, 19921. Particular credit is due the independent marine pilots who play a distinct role in providing expert navigation and piloting services for vessel masters and bridge teams unfamiliar with local ports (Armstrong, 1980; MacElrevey, 1988; Nauti- cal Institute, 1991a; Plummer, 1966; Ramaswamy and Grabowski, 1992; Reid, 1986~. Yet, despite the considerable care and sound judgment exercised by the many reputable mariners and operating companies, a substantial number of ma- rine accidents occur nationwide. Most are neither newsworthy nor catastrophic. But a select few have been sufficient to erode public confidence in the safety performance of the industry at large and in navigation and piloting practices. The grounding of the Exxon Valdez in Prince William Sound, Alaska, with a major spillage of crude oil (Alaska Oil Spill Commission, 1990; Davidson, 1990; NTSB, 1990), was followed within a year and a half by other major tank vessel accidents in or near U.S. coastal waters (NTSB, 1991 a,b; OSIR 1989a,b,c; USCG, 1990a). Problems with navigation and shiphandling in these and other marine casualties were identified as key causal factors. It is intriguing that most marine accidents involving commercial vessels also involved seasoned rather than inexperienced personnel, pointing to the importance of continuing profes- sional development and evaluation. Many accidents also occurred during moder- ate or better weather (AWO, 1992b; Cahill, 1983, 1985; NTSB, 1980, 1988a, 1989a, 1990, 1991a; Paramore et al., 1979; TBS, 19853. In the public debate leading to passage of OPA 90, questions were raised about the professional qualifications of merchant mariners and marine pilots, the programs that lead to their qualification, and professional oversight and disci- pline. These concerns have not abated. Concerns have been expressed by many interested parties including Congress, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB, 1989a,b, 1990, l991a,c), state legislatures and regulatory agencies (Jour- nal of Commerce, 1992b; OSP1l, 1993, 1994; Wastler, 1993b), federal regulato- ry agencies (USCG, 1989), and the public (Abrams, 1992a,b; Crowley, 1991; Davidson, 1990; Journal of Commerce, 1992a; Nalder, 1989a,b; Seattle Times Company, 1989~. The qualifications and performance of pilots, and the benefits of federal versus state pilotage systems, are highly controversial, polarized, po- liticized, and intensely debated issues.

OCR for page 25
64 MINDING THE HELM THE PILOTAGE CONTROVERSY Examinations of pilotage by the marine industry, government authorities, and the public have focused on three basic issues: safety (including environmen- tal safety), administration, and economics. Safety issues are sometimes intermin- gled with and overshadowed by underlying economic interests. The merits of the federal and state systems of pilotage have been debated for more than a century. The modern debate is often characterized by an incomplete understanding or representation of piloting practices and professional development and assertions about safety performance and data based on specific points of view. Recent examinations of pilotage have targeted pilot safety performance in specific accidents. Disciplinary processes following marine accidents also have been emphasized. Some interested parties and observers advocate making the federal pilot license superior to state licenses to improve this form of discipline (Ashe, 1984: NTSB, 1988a). Others endorse the state pilot system as superior in effectiveness and discipline (Crowley, 1991; Leis, 1989, 19923. At the same time, many mariners express concern about the expertise available in the Coast Guard for the establishment of pilotage qualification requirements. Some ex- press a belief that Coast Guard personnel have limited piloting expertise or that their expertise is not comparable to that required to pilot commercial vessels. On the other hand, the Coast Guard considers that the credentials of personnel as- signed to pilotage administration are generally adequate to the task (see Chapter 31. No acceptable performance measure has been developed for gathering and normalizing safety data to allow comparative assessment of pilot performance in different ports or for different categories of vessels (even those operating in the same locale). Operating risks vary greatly by service area, as do piloting tasks, for example, crossing the bar versus docking a ship in a confined waterway (Booz, Allen and Hamilton, 19913. The available data provide only a limited sense of the causal relationship of pilotage to marine casualties; moreover, the data typically focus on individual vessels rather than on ship, shore-based, or human systems. The Coast Guard is developing a prototype exposure database for multidimensional risk analysis of causal relationships in marine accidents (Abkowitz et al., 1985; Hantzes and Ponce, 1991; USCG, 1993c). In-depth ma- rine accident investigations conducted by the NTSB and the Coast Guard pro- vide useful insight on specific events but are less helpful in expanding under- standing of individual pilot performance or in explaining how this knowledge might relate to decision making, pilot professional development, the use of nav igation technology, or a system-wide perspective on safety. Differences in pilot training and licensing standards and oversight also have been cause for considerable controversy. Pilots appear to be held to more rigor- ous standards in some jurisdictions than in others. Moreover, some mariners who provide pilot, docking, or mooring services to U.S.-flag and foreign-flag ships in

OCR for page 25
THE MARINE NaVIGATION AND PILOTING SYSTEM 65 foreign trade are not presently required to be licensed. In some cases, as in Kill Van Kull and Newark Bay in the Port of New York and New Jersey, docking masters possessing but not serving under the terms of a Federal First Class Pilot's License or endorsement direct and control vessel maneuvering during transits of up to 19 miles, although shorter distances are more common (Booz, Allen and Hamilton, 1991; Cahill, 1985~.5 Some marine transportation compa nies contend that the extensive experience of the docking masters and vessel operator concerns about operational safety and costs of marine accidents work to provide comparable levels of safety performance even where official governance does not fully cover licensure. Whether or to what degree this is correct is an issue. Debate continues over whether and to what extent state pilots are subject to more rigorous training and evaluation than are federally licensed pilots and whether discipline is applied more consistently nationwide by the Coast Guard than by state governing authorities (Ashe, 1984; Booz, Allen and Hamilton, 1991; Cantwell, 1992; Crowley, 1991; Deane and Peterson, 1992; Journal of Commerce, 1989, 1992a; Leis, 1989, 1992; Mongelluzzo, 1994; Nadeau, 1992; Neely, 1992; Ramaswamy and Grabowski, 1992; Sankovitch, 19933. Whether the differences between federal and state pilotage have translated into unequal safety records also is debated; study results are mixed and are open to question because of the lack of standard methodologies for gathering and assessing safety data. Two analyses of the Coast Guard's casualty data indicate that safety levels of federal pilots are equal to or better than those of various state groups (Booz, Allen and Hamilton, 1991; USCG, 1993c). But other examinations claim much higher losses for federal pilots when they are performing the same tasks as state- licensed pilots (Lets, 1989, 1992~. The differences in results are related to study methodologies and the safety data chosen for analysis (see Appendix D). Some comparisons between the federal and state pilotage systems are inevi- table, because federal pilot licenses are required or used in various ways within each state system. However, comparisons of safety performance are not mean- ingful without a standard or benchmark. Instead of directly comparing the feder- al and state pilotage systems in its analysis, this report compares each form of pilotage regulation with the features that the committee considers central to a complete pilotage system (Appendix E). In the absence of definitive safety data, comparisons of each form of pilotage oversight to the central features of a com- plete pilotage system can serve as the basis for informed decision making as to how marine pilotage might be improved to assist in reducing operational risk. SThe Coast Guard issued a notice of proposed rule making in July 1993 that would fill some existing gaps in state pilotage coverage by requiring a federally licensed pilot to direct and control the navigation vessels in foreign trade that operate in certain designated waters of California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey (FR 58[130]:36914-36918).

OCR for page 25