Sunday 17 February, 2019

Port Authority acquires two new pilot boats for $400 million

Member of Parliament for East Rural St Andrew Juliet Holness, opens the champagne to christen two new pilot boats. She is flanked by Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Dr Horace Chang, Custos for the parish of St. Andrew Dr Patricia Dunwell, President PAJ CEO Professor Gordon Shirley and other PAJ staff.

Member of Parliament for East Rural St Andrew Juliet Holness, opens the champagne to christen two new pilot boats. She is flanked by Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Dr Horace Chang, Custos for the parish of St. Andrew Dr Patricia Dunwell, President PAJ CEO Professor Gordon Shirley and other PAJ staff.

Local marine operations received a major boost following the recent acquisition of two new pilot boats by the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) at a cost of approximately $400 million.

According to President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PAJ, Professor Gordon Shirley, the PAJ will be conducting all marine pilot transfers in the Port of Kingston while continuing to provide oversight responsibility for pilot transportation and transfer in all Jamaican ports.

"We also recognise that the use of the pilot boats is triggered by the request for pilotage, and that both service areas are key drivers to enable the delivery of an effective pilotage service," remarked Professor Shirley, who was speaking at the Commissioning Service for the new pilot boats at the Port of Kingston on Wednesday.

"Strategies have been developed to encourage a seamless integration of the operation and management of the pilot boat service with that of the pilotage service.”

He added that the Pilotage Department operates on a 24-hour basis, seven days per week, providing pilotage service to all vessels entering and leaving “our international ports.”

The service, he added, is compulsory in all Jamaican ports.
He said the provision of an efficient pilot boat service is premised on the integration of four critical components: pilot boats; pilot boat crew; marine pilots; and systems and procedures.

The PAJ boss further added that the pilot boats are designed and equipped with the latest navigation and marine engineering technology to safely and efficiently transport, and transfer pilots to vessel underway, alongside and at anchorage.

“The pilot boat crew are trained and certified to operate the pilot boats in accordance with international best practices and our local requirements.”
He argued that the marine pilots are the local experts that provide advice to the ship captains to ensure that the ships are “safely maneuvered into and from our ports.”

“For the port of Kingston, we have been receiving the 10,000 TEUs container ships that are now transiting the expanded Panama Canal," he added.

“It is anticipated that very soon the 13,000 TEU vessels will also be calling at the Port of Kingston. These mainliners are designed to call at a limited number of hub ports requiring minimum port stay on each call.”

Both pilot boats are strategically important assets as they enable the fulfilment of the PAJs core regulatory mandate and ensures the safe and secure navigation of all vessels in our ports.”

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