Safety plays a vital role in pilotage work and is one of our three key values. The ability to identify risks and prepare for them is essential within our challenging operational environment.
During 2019, we continued to carry out comprehensive safety work to develop both occupational safety and navigational safety. One particularly significant milestone, in terms of the entire pilotage industry, was achieved in December, when Finnpilot launched the first self-righting pilot boat.
The occupational safety of all the existing pilot boats was improved with the addition of deck railing. The installation of evacuation hatches on the cutters continued, and the pilot stations on two boats were renewed. Additionally, the fuel tanks on two boats were modified to improve the stability of the boats.
Navigational safety was improved through the introduction of pulse compression radars in our boats. The radars are capable of identifying moving objects, even amidst a dense group of echoes, which further increases the safe passage of our pilot boats. We also pursue improved navigational safety through the specification of the content of our internal training.
The added safety that pilotage provides within Finland’s narrow archipelago fairways is pivotal in terms of preventing accidents. Finnpilot has been systematically compiling information about anomalies observed by pilots and the impact of pilotage since 2011. On the basis of anomaly analyses, the majority of prevented accidents and damage is related to technical problems with onboard systems and equipment or the lack of competence in the vessel’s personnel. The anomalies can also be caused by the activities of other operators handling, for example, the opening of bridges or mooring of vessels.
The reports of the pilots facilitate nearly real time notifications of observed anomalies and risk factors, such as technical faults in vessels. Additional observations provided by the system also make it possible to gain an overall picture, in real time, of the safety development among maritime traffic within Finland’s fairways. Anomaly reporting has brought transparency to the safety observations that, earlier, remained primarily the pilots’ own knowledge and upon which they often base the predictions and pilotage risk management that is essential to their actions.
Safety issues were discussed actively within the company and, as a result, the number of anomaly reports increased to a record high at the end of 2019, which shows the desire of all the professional groups to advance the safety of our operations.
The company’s anomaly reports pass through our Safety group, which drafts recommendations for the management when necessary. The risk assessment methods of the Safety group were updated to correspond to the practices of the maritime authorities. The situational picture of the company’s risks is now consistent with that of the authorities supervising our activities.
Through the development of the anomaly observation process, we endeavour to fortify our capabilities to process and share information more effectively. During 2020, the intention is to take into use a new anomaly reporting system that will facilitate the efficient reporting of anomalies using a mobile device, regardless of time or location. The new system will provide us with more detailed information about anomalies and enable us to develop our safety management based on a higher quality of information.