Sandy Hook Pilot Dies in Boarding Accident

An undated file image of Maersk Kensington (courtesy Manuel Hernández Lafuente / MyShip)

Published Dec 31, 2019 7:39 PM by The Maritime Executive

Early Monday morning, a marine pilot with the Sandy Hook Pilots Association lost his life while making a transfer from his pilot boat to an inbound merchant ship. 

On Monday at about 0430 hours, Sandy Hook pilot Captain Dennis R. Sherwood was involved in an incident while boarding the container ship Maersk Kensington, which was inbound to the Port of New York & New Jersey. He was injured after falling from an accommodation ladder and was evacuated to a medical facility on Staten Island. He succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. 

According to the pilot's association, Capt. Sherwood had been piloting vessels in and out of the Port of New York & New Jersey for over 35 years. He is survived by his wife Marianne Sherwood, daughter Kelly Sherwood, son Dennis Sherwood, son William Sherwood and daughter Alexis Sherwood.

The incident is being investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard. 

The climb from a moving pilot boat up the side of a moving ship involves risk, and tragic pilot ladder accidents are not uncommon. In an attempt to address pilot transfer safety issues, SOLAS V Regulation 23 provides specific measures for pilot ladder arrangements and equipment. 

Maersk Kensington is a U.S.-flagged, U.S.-crewed container ship enrolled in the MARAD Maritime Security Program.