Categorized | Featured, National News

Gibson To Hold Talks Over Pilots’ Issues

Labour Minister Shane Gibson is expected to meet with marine pilots and representatives from the various harbour companies to an effort to resolve issues between the pilots and the companies, the Bahama Journal has learnt.

The pilots’ resignations are expected to take effect on Friday.

They resigned in protest of the Freeport Harbour Company, Bahamas Oil Refining Company (Borco) and StatOil’s refusal to adhere to International Maritime Organisation (IMO) standards which they argue poses significant safety concerns at the harbour.

The pilots are now offering their services through a newly formed pilotage company.

However, the companies are refusing to do business with the pilots.
While the government has been slow to intervene in the matter, the pilots on Monday expressed confidence that the government will act on their behalf.

“We have been assured that we have more than enough Bahamian pilots in this jurisdiction,” said Captain Kendal Williamson, president of The Bahamas Marine Pilots Association.”We have been assured that no work permits will be issued for foreign pilots and we know point blank that piloting is port specific. You cannot bring a pilot here from Holland to perform in Freeport Harbour or the jetties.”

The pilots have now accused the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) of refusing to allow them operate as independent pilots because it fears the pilots’ victory would have a domino effect.

“It has been rumoured that this fight is past the pilots and it is now personal,” Mr. Williamson. “The Port and these companies are now concerned about control of the city of Freeport that if they allow the BMPA to achieve the international standards that they are mandated to have in the Hawksbill Creek Agreement, they would have the concerns with the Grand Bahama Power Company and the Longshoremen gaining traction. So their main concern is control of the city.”

The BMPA has indicated that there will be a chaotic scene at the ports and harbour when the pilots resignations take effect on Friday adding that there are no sufficient adequately trained pilots in place to replace them.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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