Notice to Mariners

Notice to Mariners No.028 of 2020 - Special Procedures For Pilot Embarkation


MARINERS ARE HEREBY ADVISED that, following the outbreak of the Coronavirus (Covid19), the UK Department for Transport, in consultation with Public Health Wales, has issued updates on the spread of the virus and guidelines ( for the steps necessary to prevent the spread of the virus.


In support of revised guidelines, the following additional Special Procedures for the embarkation of pilots and subsequent vessel movements are to be adopted and apply to the following with immediate effect:

(i) Vessels arriving from ports in a country in respect of which the UK Government has issued a Covid19 virus alert.

(ii) Vessels arriving from countries for which there is currently no virus alert, but which have a crew member on board who was in a country subject to a virus alert within 14 days prior to the date of proposed pilot embarkation.

(iii) Vessels highlighted by Port Health, following the submission of a Maritime Declaration of Health (which is mandatory before embarkation of a pilot), as having reported a suspected COVID-19 case on board and/or having taken the precautionary measure of isolating a potentially affected crew member(s).

Responsibility for carrying out the following Pilot Boarding Special Procedure rests with the vessel’s master assisted by the shipowner and local ship agent as appropriate.

Pilot Boarding Special Procedure

1. All vessels must have submitted the required Maritime Declaration of Health and Port Control confirmed by VHF as per Ops Memo 2.

2. The nominated pilot may be required to provide a Pilot’s Medical Declaration (either written or verbal) to the Master/ Agent prior to embarkation.

3. Where possible, one hour before the pilot embarkation time, non-essential crew should remain clear of the designated route from the pilot embarkation point (either pilot ladder, accommodation ladder etc.) to the wheelhouse, especially where the route is within enclosed spaces. 

4. Immediately prior to pilot embarkation, all surfaces and equipment in the wheelhouse, or on the bridge wings, that the pilot may touch must be cleaned with a suitable cleaning solution. 

5. The wheelhouse, where possible, should remain well ventilated via the opening of external doors or windows where possible. Where a closed ventilation/ air conditioning system is fitted the Master must confirm this is drawing fresh air from outside rather than re-circulating.

6. All crew at the embarkation point must wear suitable PPE.

7. The crew member assigned to escort the pilot from the embarkation point to the wheelhouse must wear suitable PPE.

8. Where possible, the route from the embarkation point to the wheelhouse should be via the open deck, as opposed to within enclosed spaces.

9. The wheelhouse should be cleared of all crew not essential to the safe navigation of the vessel, and all crew member’s present must wear appropriate PPE.

10. Unless necessary for the safety of the pilot (i.e. during the embarkation process), crew or vessel, the pilot and crew should at least observe (where practicable) “social distancing” i.e. keep 2m apart.  Where social distancing on the Bridge is not possible the Port may consider temporarily suspending Pilot Services.  In any event they should avoid shaking hands and any other unnecessary contact.  On arrival at the bridge they are to wash or sanitise their hands before beginning any pilotage.

11. Similar precautions must be taken during disembarkation of the pilot either ashore or to the pilot launch.  An Information Notice for Crews and Pilots has been issued and is contained at Annex A.

12. In all cases due consideration should be made as to the necessity of actioning a pilot for a particular vessel if this could be delayed in order to protect the health of both staff and the local community.

If any vessel is not able to comply with the requirements of this notice they are required to notify Port Control, this information can then be relayed to the pilot prior to their arrival at the vessel.

Admiralty charts 3274, 3275 and IMRAY Y26 and 2600 Atlas refer.

This notice will be cancelled when such Special Procedures are no longer required.


Port of Milford Haven
Gorsewood Drive
Milford Haven
SA73 3EP

Tel: 01646 696100

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