Pilotage effectiveness

Starting in 2013, Finnpilot Pilotage Ltd has been measuring the effectiveness of pilotage in and around Finland.

The measurements are based on the Pilotage Effectiveness report drawn up by the Centre for Maritime Studies at the University of Turku (Lappalainen, Kunnaala, Nygren, Tapaninen 2011.

Pilots are requested to report safety deficiencies that they observe during the pilotage process. Deficiencies can concern a vessel’s equipment, personnel, other traffic or the state of a specific fairway. The resulting information is also provided to security authorities and research institutions.

Customers are requested to evaluate pilotage effectiveness through a customer survey conducted every two years. During 2015, Finnpilot will launch the mobile ERP system that will allow shipmasters to rate the efficiency of the pilotage process immediately after each pilotage assignment. This will provide comparative data for the pilots’ own assessments.

The pilots make observations during their own work and report on events that, without the presence of a pilot, would have led to an exceptional situation. The observations are classified according to severity as unsafe acts, near misses, minor accidents or serious accidents.

The precautionary principle is applied in the evaluations, which means that if a pilot has to pause during an assessment to consider the significance of a specific deficiency, he/she must always automatically choose the option that bears less significance.


The overall effectiveness of pilotage services is calculated as the total sum of the impact on maritime traffic efficiency and safety.

In 2014, pilotage prevented 41 serious accidents, the total calculated cost of which could have reached more than 69 million euro. The impact of pilotage on the safety and efficiency in maritime traffic brought a savings of about 77 million euro to customers and society at large in 2014. Each euro that was invested in pilotage brought more than a twofold return for society.

The impact on efficiency is calculated so that the sum utilised to advance the efficiency of pilotage is converted into a euro amount in accordance with the calculation method proposed by the Finnish Maritime Administration (FMA, publications 3/2009). In 2013, the increase in terms of pilotage efficiency was 3.6 million euro.

The impact on maritime traffic safety is calculated in such a way that any serious accidents that were prevented were assigned an estimated value of 1 million euro. In their own evaluations, pilots also considered any situation as being serious if it would have led to material costs of more than 1 million euro.

The average oil spill response costs (FMA, publications 3/2008) and the shipping costs for a mid-sized vessel that stops over at a Finnish port (Finnish Transport Agency’s maritime traffic statistics, 2013) during a one-month period, minus fuel costs (FMA, publications 3/2009), are added to the material costs. The costs in 2008 and 2009 have been adjusted for inflation to correspond with the level valid in 2014.


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