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This is strange on a number of counts:

1. Pont Aven does not need pilotage services upon entry and exit into / from Santander - all her skippers have Santander PECs.

2.  Pilots do not board and disembark in the harbour.  For a departing vessel needing a pilot, the pilot will board while the ship is alongside and will leave when the ship is out of pilotage confines (out at sea).  Vice versa for an arriving ship.

So, was this tender definitely a pilot?  Are you sure it was not police / customs / security?

If it really was a pilot, it was more likely to be disembarking than boarding.

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Ferries entering and leaving Santander (as with many ports) tend to be escorted by a harbour patrol launch that goes ahead to clear the path of leisure craft etc.  Not sure whether that is still the case in November, but if so (and it was a quiet day) then could this just be the patrol launch stopping by for a chat?!

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That is the Pilot boat.  I thought the PA would have exemption but when ever I've been to Santander the pilot has boarded and there is video on line of the pilot boarding.  When leaving  the Pilot boards from the shore.

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Every time I have been into or out of Santander, there has been a pilot on board.  What has surprised me is how close in the pilot boards or leaves.  I would have expected he would need to be on board further out to sea.  

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I’ve never noticed this before.  Never seen a ferry pick up or drop off a pilot inside the harbour.  Can’t see what the point of that would be.

Eddy - welcome to the forum.  Are you saying that it is not possible for captains to hold PECs for Santander or Bilbao?  Is that something new?

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A Pilot is compulsory in Santander for all vessels over 500GWT. Only a few exceptions under the Spanish Flag for ferries.

If you look at the webcam in Santander as the ferry passes, you can clearly see the pilot boat alongside with the pilot door open. Pilots have always boarded the UK to Spain Ferries on arrival and departure.

Edited by TonyMWeaver
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This document (for which I can't find a date of publication) provides more details - page 18 - including about where the pilot boards the vessel depending on the weather conditions and sea state. 

https://www.google.fr/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.puertosantander.es/ing/docDerrotero/derrotero.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwj2psfFxNnXAhVrLMAKHYw4Cg8QFggpMAI&usg=AOvVaw2PxiKsLU3o8iYfFyNWFKYU

Ed

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18 minutes ago, TonyMWeaver said:

A Pilot is compulsory in Santander for all vessels over 500GWT. Only a few exceptions under the Spanish Flag for ferries.

If you look at the webcam in Santander as the ferry passes, you can clearly see the pilot boat alongside with the pilot door open. Pilots have always boarded the UK to Spain Ferries on arrival and departure.

But why inside the harbour?  Surely the trickiest part of the passage in and out of Santander must be the turn into the channel at the entrance and the narrow passage between the sandbank and the Magdalena peninsular.  But from everything that has been posted, it would appear that the pilot is not on board for this bit? 

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48 minutes ago, Gareth said:

But why inside the harbour?  Surely the trickiest part of the passage in and out of Santander must be the turn into the channel at the entrance and the narrow passage between the sandbank and the Magdalena peninsular.  But from everything that has been posted, it would appear that the pilot is not on board for this bit? 

I wonder whether it's because the navigable channel through the harbour is quite narrow and sees heavy traffic from car & bulk carriers?

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It's not at all uncommon for pilots to board seaside; in some cases it is in fact easier. Obviously this all depends on the weather conditions; the direction of the wind and swell, how will a lee be most easily created for a boarding/disembarking pilot.

In some extremely small ports, such as La Palma in the Canary Islands, a pilot is compulsory - they will board shore side just before departure and literally as soon as the last line has been let go, the ship thrusting off the berth and making its way around the breakwater, the pilot will disembark.

I can't speak for Santander, however for many a port, taking a pilot is simply a formality (and a cash-cow for the port - much like tugs!)

 

 

Edited by BAI4
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I don't understand what you mean by "seaside", BA14, in the context of my post.  Unless you are reinforcing my point?  I would expect the offshore embarkation / disembarkation to be out at sea - at the edge of the pilotage area.  That's what happens in most ports where a pilot is required.  And then the pilot is on board to / from the berth.  What I don't understand is that the BF ships appear to take their pilot on for the 200m or so from the berth to half way up the harbour.  And then lose them before getting to the business end of tide and weather at the harbour entrance. I just don't get that.

Unless Jonno is right, and the reason for the regulation is because most vessels have to navigate deeper into the harbour complex than the BF ships do, and those bits of the harbour might be fiddly.  But if that is the case, why not just grant the BF ships an exemption rather than have this silly situation where they appear to have to get into the harbour then pick up a pilot to take them to the berth.  It's the getting into the harbour bit that's tricky!

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3 hours ago, jonno said:

I wonder whether it's because the navigable channel through the harbour is quite narrow and sees heavy traffic from car & bulk carriers?

Sorry Jonno, I think I was writing my post just as you uploaded yours with the Santander link. Ed

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1 hour ago, Cabin-boy said:

Sorry Jonno, I think I was writing my post just as you uploaded yours with the Santander link. Ed

Nothing to be sorry for Ed, we were both on the same wavelength. It dates back to 2007/2008.

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My experience of Spanish pilots and ferries is that the Pilot Boat drops off the Pilot on the linkspan and then lurks off the berth, Pilot comes to the bridge, has a quick coffee, speaks to Port Control in Spanish for permission to depart and as the vessel gets a few metres from the berth goes back down and disembarks via pilot boat.  Inward bound not much different as the pilot was picked up well inside the Harbour.  Always struck me as a totally pointless exercise but it was a requirement for ships of a certain size to have a pilot, nice little earner for the ports and keeps locals employed so unlikely to change.

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