A senior ship pilot from the United States informed the authorities that he refused to board any Russian ship. It happened on the day when the UK transport minister denied access to any Russian “flagged, registered, owned, controlled, chartered, or operated vessels”.
The pilot sent an email to the West coast post authorities asking them about the entry of Russian ships into the port and informed them about his intentions.
gCaptain exclusively covered this story.
“The attack on Ukraine and escalating threats of nuclear war against the United States as part of NATO has altered the Russian Master/American Pilot relationship,” said the senior pilot in the interview with gCaptain. “Much of what we do as pilots require trust and teamwork. I have heard Russians’ support of Putin and don’t believe it’s in America’s best interest to assist them in generating profits. ”
The pilot’s request, if accepted, could prove troublesome to manage the congested American ports and also the shipping interest of Russia.
Although there have been no complaints regarding these issues, the pilot association will discuss and review them in future meetings. Don Marcus, the president of Master Mates and Pilots Union, said the problem had not been appropriately discussed.
“In Florida, our pilots can not make that call directly as it would be a violation of state law,” said Laura DiBella, Executive Director at Florida Harbor Pilots Association. “We will, however, discuss the issue with our pilots and federal officials.”
Most pilots in the United States own a licence issued by the Individual states. However, it is still not apparent whether a pilot can refuse to board any ship belonging to any specific country.
“The decision not to board a Russian ship would have to be approved by the State or Federal Government,” said an executive on the board of another large west coast port. “We would refuse to pilot a sanctioned ship, but we don’t have the resources to track down vessel ownership, so that order would have to come from a government official.”
Currently, there are no Russian flagged ships near the American ports, as per the AIS ship tracking service Fleetmon. However, it is yet to be made evident how many Russian owned ships are exactly in American waters.
“We don’t see many Russian ships anyway but some Russian crews and a large number of Ukrainian seafarers,” said one senior California Pilot. “The few Russians and Ukrainians I have talked with are all furious at Putin.”
It is the consequence of the ongoing war where many countries try to show their solidarity via rejecting access to any Russian owned thing, in this case, their ships.