The association was formed on the initiative of pilots’ associations from the five continents whose representatives met in Kiel, Germany in June 1970. IMPA was officially launched in Amsterdam in May the following year. To date, it represents over 8,360 pilot members in 51 countries.
IMPA is a non-profit making body with a truly international outlook. It seeks to achieve its principal objective – the promotion of professionally sound and safe pilotage – in two main ways.
Firstly, it brings together pilots’ associations from around the world, enabling them to air common concerns, compare experiences and pool their expertise in order to formulate IMPA views and policies that are both convincing and practical to implement. Over the years, this approach has proved to be effective in encouraging pilots to practise their profession with the required confidence.
Secondly, IMPA has a formal voice in relevant international maritime fora. Particularly important has been its accredited consultative membership – since 1973 – at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The IMO, which is a United Nations specialised agency with over 160 member states, is the recognised authority to set international standards of ship safety and vessel-source pollution prevention and control. IMPA delegates make lasting contributions to different aspects of the work of the organisation through their continued active participation in its many committees, sub-committees, and working groups.
About IMPA HQ
IMPA is privileged to have its headquarters on board the “HQS Wellington”, a uniquely converted World War Two sloop moored alongside the River Thames at the Temple Stairs, Victoria Embankment in Central London.
The “Wellington” is a unique maritime treasure chest of paintings and ships’ models and other wonderful artefacts. It also boasts a collection of invaluable manuscripts and other historic documents.
Maritime people from around the world visit the ship on a daily basis. The “Wellington,” which serves as the livery hall of The Honourable Company of Master Mariners, is a popular venue for work meetings, lectures, seminars, conferences, as well as social events, presented by a great many maritime associations and other professional institutions.
The ship is in walking distance from the headquarters of the International Maritime Organization at 4 Albert Embankment. From its open decks, visitors can enjoy splendid views of the City of London and St Paul’s Cathedral to the East and, to the West, Westminster Palace and Big Ben and the capital’s most popular Millennium attraction, the London Eye.
IMPA represents the international community of pilots. We use the resources of our membership to promote effective safety outcomes in pilotage as an essential public service.
The public interest is best served by a fully regulated and cohesive pilotage service free of commercial pressure.
There is no substitute for the presence of a qualified pilot on the bridge.
IMO is the prime authority in matters concerning safety of international shipping.
All states should adopt a responsible approach based on proven safety strategies in establishing their own regulations, standards and procedures with respect to pilotage.
Existing and emerging information technologies are capable of enhancing on-board decision making by the maritime pilot.
We will always strive to provide leadership within the maritime community in all matters related to pilotage.
We will constantly seek out the best available knowledge and information and make it available to our members in order to advance our profession and maintain its relevance to the modern world.
We will continue to be recognized as the only global representative body for pilots.
We will expand our membership to include every maritime nation in the world.
We will continue to grow as a facilitator of communications between member organizations.
We want all states to recognise IMPA as the international authority on pilotage matters, to give regard to our policies and resolutions and seek our expertise.
We will continue to work towards improving the pilot’s safety environment to minimise personal injury.
IMO & Pilotage
The importance of employing qualified pilots in approaches to ports and other areas where specialized local knowledge is required was formally recognized by IMO in 1968, when the Organization adopted Assembly resolution A.159 (ES.IV) Recommendation on Pilotage.
Pilots with local knowledge have been employed on board ships for centuries to guide vessels into or out of port safely – or wherever navigation may be considered hazardous, particularly when a shipmaster is unfamiliar with the area.
In addition to local knowledge and expertise, pilots are able to provide effective communication with the shore and with tugs, often in the local language.
Qualified pilots provide their services to ships for a fee, calculated in relation to the ship’s tonnage, draught or other criteria.
The importance of employing qualified pilots in approaches to ports and other areas where specialized local knowledge is required was formally recognized by IMO in 1968, when the Organization adopted Assembly resolution A.159(ES. IV) Recommendation on Pilotage. The resolution recommends Governments organize pilotage services where they would be likely to prove more effective than other measures and to define the ships and classes of ships for which employment of a pilot would be mandatory.
One of the problems encountered by pilots is that of getting on board the ship – particularly when the weather is bad, or the ship is very large. Requirements to make this easier are contained in Chapter V of the SOLAS Convention, and have also formed the subject of IMO resolutions covering performance standards for mechanical pilot hoists (A.275(VIII); arrangements for embarking and disembarking pilots in very large ships (A.426(XI); and pilot transfer arrangements (A.667(16)). An MSC Circular (MSC/Circ.568/Rev.1) covers required boarding arrangements for pilots.
Pilot training and certification
The IMO Assembly in 2003 adopted resolution A.960(23) Recommendations on training and certification and operational procedures for maritime pilots other than deep-sea pilots, which includes Recommendation on Training and Certification of Maritime Pilots other than Deep sea Pilots and Recommendation on Operational Procedures for Maritime Pilots other than Deep sea Pilots.
IMO Resolutions encouraging the use of pilots on board ships in certain areas:
Resolution A.480(IX) (adopted in 1975) recommends the use of qualified deep-sea pilots in the Baltic and Resolution A.620(15) (adopted 1987) recommends that ships with a draught of 13 metres or more should use the pilotage services established by Coastal States in the entrances to the * Baltic Sea
A.486(XII) (adopted 1981) recommends the use of deep-sea pilots in the North Sea, English Channel and Skagerrak
A.579(14) (adopted 1985) recommends that certain oil tankers, all chemical carriers and gas carriers and ships carrying radioactive material using the Sound (which separates Sweden and Denmark) should use pilotage services
A.668(16) (adopted 1989) recommends the use of pilotage services in the Euro-Channel and IJ-Channel (in the Netherlands)
A.710(17) (adopted 1991) recommends ships of over 70 metres in length and all loaded oil tankers, chemical tankers or liquefied gas carriers, irrespective of size, in the area of the Torres Strait and Great North East Channel, off Australia, to use pilotage services
A.827(19) (adopted 1995) on Ships’ Routeing includes in Annex 2 Rules and Recommendations on Navigation through the Strait of Istanbul, the Strait of Çanakkale and the Marmara Sea the recommendation that “Masters of vessels passing through the Straits are strongly recommended to avail themselves of the services of a qualified pilot in order to comply with the requirements of safe navigation.”
A.1045(27) on Pilot Transfer Arrangements gives recommendations on the construction of pilot ladders.
A960 gives recommendations on training and certification and operational procedures for Maritime Pilots other than Deep Sea pilots.