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Pilotage on the North Sea Canal

1. General

Under the loodsenwet and Scheepvaartverkeerswet the responsibility for the organization of pilot services for ocean going vessels to and from the ports in the North Sea Canal Area, the port of Den Helder and in part of the port of Scheveningen, has been delegated to the Regionale Loodsencorporatie Amsterdam - IJmond.
In the North Sea Canal Area are the ports of Amsterdam, Zaandam, Haarlem, Beverwijk, Velsen and IJmuiden. Ocean-going vessels arriving from the north en route to Scheveningen can take a pilot for Scheveningen on board at the pilots station in IJmuiden. Ships departing from Scheveningen with a northern destination can order a Scheveningen's pilot in IJmuiden. The pilot authority is the Regionale Loodsencorporatie Amsterdam - IJmond.
Kanaaldijk 242
1975 AJ IJmuiden
Telephone: 0255-564545
Telefax: 0255-564515

2. Ordering a pilot

In order to avoid possible delay in obtaining a pilot on board and to achieve maximum effectiveness, it is important that ETA's/ETD's of all ships are reliable, are given on time and that any changes are reported as soon as they are known.

To order a pilot:

  • All inward bound vessels must send an ETA 6 hours before arrival at the RACON-buoy IJmuiden and confirm the ETA 3 hours and 1 hour before arrival.
  • All outward bound vessels or when shifting, must send an ETD 4 hours before departure. 

Deviations of more than half an hour have to be

ETA's/ETD's to be send to:
Pilot VTS IJmuiden
At the traffic Control Center (HOC)
Seinpostweg 19
1976 BT IJmuiden
Telex: 71169 PIVTS NL
Telefax: 0255-532535
Telephone: 0255-564500
VHF: Channel 07, Traffic Centre IJmuiden
Day and night service

Messages regarding:

  • Deep draft ships (more than 45 ft in salt water) are expected 24 hours in advance and confirmed at least 8 hours, before arriving in a position 52 30 N03 50 E, 
  • Licensed ships (draft range from 43 to 45 ft, particular transports, etc.) at least 7 days before arrival at above mentioned position.
  • Vessels carrying dangerous goods at least 24 hours before entering Dutch territorial waters.

The master shall transmit his vessel's ETA via any suitable means of communication.

3. Communication

All arriving shipping is urgently requested to maintain continuous contact on channel 07 VHF as soon as within VHF range, for pilot-messages and berthing orders, as well as for the locking process and other information. All communications to transfer a pilot by helicopter also takes place via VHF channel 07. At the special request of Traffic Centre IJmuiden ships should change to channel 61.

4. Pilot service information

4.1) Pilot Request Department
The Pilot Request Department Serves to connect the masters, ships agents, shipbrokers and pilots. The pilot dispatchers of the Pilot Request Department are responsible for controlling the ETA's and ETD's of all ships. With the assistance of the pilot service's computerized database of pilots and ships, the Pilot dispatcher takes care of directing the right pilot on board the designated ship at the proper time.
Telephone: 0255-564500
Telefax: 0255-532535

4.2) The Chief Pilot
At the Traffic Control Centre (HOC) a Chief Pilot (LDL) is present at all times. The Chief Pilot is responsible for directing general operations and also determines when and where the pilot launches and the helicopter should be put in service to embark or disembark a pilot. The Chief Pilot works in close cooperation with the Traffic Control in order to maintain an efficient handling of all shipping traffic. Furthermore, the Chief Pilot can offer experts advice in the handling of ships which, due to weather or port conditions and/or the ship's dimensions, require special consideration. Information from the Chief Pilot can be obtained via:
Trafic Centre IJmuiden
VHF: channel 07 and 61
Telephone: 0255-564503

4.3) Pilots Corporation (Regionale Loodsencorporatie Amserdam - IJmuiden)
Messages concerning the organization of the pilot services, complaints, etc. should be sent to:
President of the 'Regionale Loodsencorporatie Amsterdam - IJmond',
Kanaaldijk 242
1975 AJ IJmuiden
or during office hours by telephone: 0255-564545.

5. Operational

5.1) Piloting of ships with a draft of up to 45 ft
The piloting of ships with a draft up to 45 ft generally takes place in an area around the RACON buoy varying from one mile north to one mile south of the leading line 100% depending on the tide and from 2 miles east to two miles west of that buoy depending on type and draught of the ship. Pilot launches operate between the harbour and the vessels to be piloted. The hull of these ships is yellow, the superstructure white and the word 'PILOT' painted in black on sides. Vessels are equipped with radar and VHF. In order to perform a smooth piloting procedure it is advisory to contact the launch on channel 61.

5.2) Piloting of ships with a draft of over 45 ft
Ships exceeding a draught of 45 ft are piloted in the approach of the IJ-channel (52% 30'00"N,03% 50'00"E) by helicopters. Outward bound debarkation takes place after passing buoy'Y1'. The vessels concerned must be equipped in conformity with the safety standards of the International Civil Aeronautical Organization (ICAO) as published in the 'Guide to Helicopter/ship operations' by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) . In view of the narrowness of the IJ-channel, vessels which have to be restricted thereto are urged to use pilots. To promote the safety of shipping the pilots work with an electronic position finding system in combination with a computerized surveillance radar ashore.

5.3) Piloting suspended with launches
Piloting with launches is suspended when wind force is 7 to 8 Bf (wave height exceeding 2.70 metres).

A) As a substitute pilots may embark by helicopter of the local pilot corporation Amsterdam - IJmond.
Ships with helicopter facilities due to arrive next at the North Sea Canal area should pay special attention to the weather situation as piloting with launches is stopped when windforce increases to 7/8 Bf.
When normal embarkation procedures are suspended due to bad weather, the transfer of the pilot by helicopter is included in the normal charge for pilotage.

B) If helicopter pilotage is not possible, pilots may embark in other ports under the following conditions:
By means of public transportation: Rotterdam 4 hours, Antwerp and Flushing 5 hours previous notice. To other destinations any by other means of transportation suitable for arriving on board: one hour before ETS.
a) Travelling expenses and charges are to be paid by the applicant.
b) Compensation for absence from the pilot station (Dfl. 896,- per 24 hours or part thereof-tariff 1998) calculated from departure home address until passing the pilot station.
c) In case of coastal pilotage half-sea tariff is due for every 40 miles, or part thereof. 

C) Shore-based Pilotage (Remote Pilotage)
Pilot's information and advice for ships with a length overall up to ca. 125 metres, can also obtained by means of shore based radar, when launches are not working outside the breakwater.

6. Procedure

  • Traffic Centre IJmuiden (channel 61) requests the ship to switch over to channel 19.
  • The ship has to proceed to a position 100 degrees about 4 miles west from the breakwater previous to entering.

The following items are to apply:

  • Reasonable contact ship-shore v.v.
  • Two good working VHF-units.
  • Some manoeuvring data need to be known ashore.
  • The master of the ship is obliged to board the pilot as soon as the ship is inside the breakwaters.

6.1 Pilot launches
Pilot launches engaged on their station on pilotage duty shall fly, exhibit, display, hoist or sound.

  • a) By day: the pilot flag, a blue flag with white letter 'L' displayed from the foremast.
  • b) At night: the light as prescribed by Regulation 29 of the regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.
  • c) During fog, mist, snow, heavy rainstorms or any other weather conditions which in like manner cause visibility to deteriorate the sound signal as prescribed by Regulation 35 (a), (b), (f) and (i).

6.2 Pilot ladder
Pilot ladders should be rigged up on starboard or port side depending on the weather situation at a height of about 2 metres (6 to 7 ft) above sea level.
In case of freeboard more than 9 metres (29'16") the ladder should be made ready in combination with the accommodation ladder.

6.3 Hoist landings
(ICS-guide character"D")
Hoist landings must meet the following conditions:
Manoeuvring zone 27.5 m (90 ft) diameter. Broken white circle need not to be painted. Clear zone (solid yellow circle, with same centre point) not less than 4.6 m (25 ft) diameter. Max. height of obstacle within manoeuvring zone 3.05 m (10 ft). Min. height the helicopter will hover: about 10 ft. above the highest obstacle in manoeuvring zone.
All other deck markings as shown in the ICS guide under 'A', 'D' and 'C' may also be used for hoist landing.
In order to prevent useless spending agents should be aware of the fact that ships without deck markings as well as those which fail to comply with the operating recommendations may be refused by the boarding pilot.

Wind of more than 10 Bf (55 km)
Visibility less than 800 m at 150 ft
Severe air turbulence, icing and extreme rolling and pitching of the ship.

Container ships:
Container carriers which intend to request a pilot by helicopter shall provide in advance to the helicopter company drawing (preferably on a original deck plan), showing arrangements as outlined under 5.2 and 6.2

7. Maritime Traffic Act

7.1 Compulsory pilotage and exemptions
The general rule is that 'all ships are obliged to use a pilot requirement'. However, a number of ships are legally exempted from this requirement. This does not apply to seagoing vessels carrying hazardous cargo in bulk or with non-inerted tanks. These vessels are always subject to compulsory pilotage.
Exempted are:

  • seagoing vessels with a length (London 1969) of up to and including 60 metres
  • on certain waterways Denmark traders, sea-river vessels and Rhine vessels when registered as such
  • fishing and dredging vessels (only when used for this purpose)
  • Dutch and allied naval vessels
  • Shifting vessels along the same quay and similar short shifts
  • Shifting vessels under certain conditions within some harbour basins
  • Vessels on which the navigator holds an exemption certificate

7.2 Responsibility
Owners and masters are requested to note that neither the pilotage corporation nor the pilot can be sued for damage sustained or done to any other vessel or object by a ship carrying a commissioned pilot.

Pilotage in all astuaries, seaports, rivers, navigable waterways and canals within the Netherlands is exclusively carried out by the commissioned pilot of the local pilots corporations (Regionale Loodsencorporatie).

7.3 Pilotage dues
The pilotage dues are based on the draft of the vessel measured in decimetres. Fractions up to 0.5 are rounded off and fractions above 0.5 are counted as full in assessing pilotage dues. For rendering pilotage service outside the limits of any pilotage district, retaining fees and travelling expenses are charged in addition to dues as specified in the tariff. (Other instances when retaining fees and travelling expenses become due are specified in the Addenda to the Traffic of dues). Dues and other charges for both inward and outward pilotage services shall be paid before sailing outward but in no case later than one month after the service was rendered. Claims for readjustment of payment for pilotage services must be made within twelve months.

Last modified at 9/18/2008 11:22 AM  by Jeroen van der Veen