Finland’s Ministry of Transport and Communications sends draft act on remote piloting to a new consultation round
Finland’s Ministry of Transport and Communications has sent a draft Act on remote piloting to a new round of consultation. According to the Ministry’s press release, remote piloting refers to experiments subject to a licence where piloting takes place outside the vessel to be piloted.
After the first round of consultation last spring, several amendments were made to the proposal. The draft that was now sent out for comments includes specifications in terminology and in the responsibilities and duties of the pilot.
Some new suggestions have also been added to the draft concerning a temporary place of pilotage, piloting obligation of foreign state vessels and pilot guide books. The deadline for comments is 23 September 2018.
According to the proposal, remote piloting in Finnish waters and public channels in the Saimaa Canal lease area would call for a licence from the Finnish Transport Safety Agency. Remote piloting would only be allowed by a piloting company referred to in the Act that would apply for a fixed-term licence. The licence could be valid for a maximum period of five years. If necessary, the licence could be renewed. No licence for remote piloting could be granted, if safety or security was jeopardised.
As a rule, remote piloting would not affect the duties or responsibilities of piloting companies, the ship's master or the pilot referred to in the act or any other provisions of the piloting act. The responsibility for the piloting, whether conventional or remote, would remain with the pilot.
However, the pilot could not be held responsible, if he or she was not able to perform his or her duties because of the manner of the remote piloting, technical error or non-functioning of the communication links. The ship's master and the pilot would also have the right to refuse providing remote piloting.
Preparations for the Act will continue by Ministry officials on the basis of the comments. The government proposal is due to be submitted to Parliament at the end of the year.