American Pilots' Association Holds National Convention in Savannah


By The Maritime Executive 10-18-2018 06:48:27


The American Pilots’ Association (APA) held its Biennial Convention in Savannah, Georgia from October 1st through 5th. The Savannah Harbor Pilots, led by Master Pilot, Captain Trey Thompson III, hosted this year’s Convention, providing an ideal backdrop for the meetings as some of the largest container vessels calling at U.S. ports were piloted up and down the river throughout the week. The Convention, which was open to all APA-member pilots and invited guests, was attended by nearly 200 of the Nation’s 1,200 State-licensed and U.S.-registered pilots, along with Captain Simon Pelletier, President of the International Maritime Pilots’ Association, and pilot leaders from numerous other countries.

The Convention was presided over by APA President Captain Jorge Viso and began with a tribute to the late Captain Louis Adams (Aransas Corpus Christi Pilots), who was tragically killed in the line of duty on June 16, 2018. During his remarks to the pilots in attendance, Captain Viso stressed, “During the week take advantage of the accumulated knowledge and experience in this room. Ask questions and challenge each other. Share experiences and ideas and bring those experiences and ideas back to your groups.” Viso continued, “This is one way we can continue to keep our profession fresh and always moving forward.”

Throughout the week, the six APA Regional Vice Presidents gave reports on pilotage matters in their respective regions. During the Convention, there was also a change to APA’s senior leadership. Captain Kathleen Flury, President of the Southeast Alaska Pilots Association, was elected Vice President for the Pacific States. She will begin her term in January 2019 upon the retirement of current Pacific States Vice President Captain Peter McIsaac of the San Francisco Bar Pilots Association.

Two important and timely substantive panel discussions were held during the week. One on navigational issues related to Ultra Large Container Vessels, and another on autonomous shipping developments. The APA Navigation and Technology Committee also held its annual meeting during the week.

The Convention featured a strong lineup of senior government leaders. These speakers included Robert L. Sumwalt (Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board), Rear Admiral Mark H. Buzby (Maritime Administrator), Rear Admiral John P. Nadeau (U.S. Coast Guard, Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy), and U.S. Congressman Earl L. “Buddy” Carter. Captain Kirsten Martin, Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center, also provided updates on merchant mariner credentialing policies.

The APA has been the national association of professional maritime pilots since 1884. Virtually all of the more than 1,200 State-licensed pilots working in the coastal ports and approaches of the United States, as well as all of the U.S. registered pilots operating in the Great Lakes system, belong to APA member pilot groups. These pilots handle well over 90 percent of all large ocean-going vessels moving in international trade in the waterways of the United States. Their role and official responsibility to their licensing authorities and the citizens of their respective State is to protect the safety of navigation and the marine environment in the waters for which they are licensed.

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