Pilotage in the port of Newcastle
The port of Newcastle is a compulsory pilotage port. A helicopter is used to embark and disembark pilots in approximately 80% of pilot transfers.
This can be achieved on all vessels except tankers, container vessels, woodchip carriers, and vessels where there is not a clear circular area of 20 metres, or where weather restrains the ability of the helicopter to fly.
A pilot cutter is used for the remainder of transfers. In this case the pilot climbs the ships ladder up to 9 metres in height.
Once aboard, the pilot conducts a master/pilot information exchange briefing to provide the bridge team with all the necessary information required to conduct a safe pilotage.
The pilot then takes charge of the conduct of the navigation whilst the master retains command of the vessel.
The pilot uses VHF radio to communicate his orders to the tugs, which are used to aid the manoeuvre, after they have been made fast to the vessel.