A navy pilot was killed in the Humber Estuary on Sunday while boarding a merchant vessel, according to the British Naval Pilots Association.
Francisco Galia, a long-time navigator at Associated British Ports, was falling from the pilot ladder as he boarded near Spurn Point, a colleague told the BBC. The last ship in port.
Gallia jumped into the water, and a second pilot jumped in to save him. He recovered quickly and was put on a pilot launcher before being transferred to medical evacuation. Although Gallia was taken to the hospital, he did not survive.
“ABP regrets to confirm that one of our Navy pilots was fatally injured during an operation on the water,” the company said in a statement. “The gentleman’s next of kin have been notified. Our thoughts are with those closest to him.”
The UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has launched an investigation into the circumstances of Gallia’s death.
“A team of MAIB inspectors and technicians were dispatched to the accident site on Sunday and evidence is being gathered to understand the circumstances leading up to this tragic accident. The MAIB investigation aims to improve safety and learn lessons from it. It is understood recommendations will be made to prevent recurrence,” the agency said in a statement.
Gallia was a pilot for two decades and was known for his passion for the shipping industry, according to the British Naval Pilots Association. The fact that he was about to retire made his death all the more tragic.
The UKMPA said in a statement: “This tragedy highlights the risks and challenges that maritime navigators face every day when they go to work…transferring from one ship to another using only a rope ladder. It is always a risky process.” “We again urge the maritime industry and regulators to prioritize the safety and training of pilot and crew transfers and invest in safe and reliable technology and procedures.”
Pilot ladder accidents are very common given the risks inherent in boarding an aircraft and the large number of potential points of failure. To address pilot transfer safety issues, SOLAS V regulation 23 stipulates specific measures for pilot ladder arrangement and equipment, but many pilots at sea report that these rules are not always followed.