AURIGA Group and Brisbane Marine Pilots have signed a new partnership and investment agreement. Under the new partnership agreement, the companies’ combined operations will perform more than 25,000 marine pilotage operations per year.

Auriga said it is engaging with shipping clients to provide more cost-effective national pilotage arrangements, particularly for those operators calling at multiple ports.

Auriga Group managing director Trent Lonsdale said it was vital for shipping lines, infrastructure owners and for Australia’s import and export industries that sufficient high-quality and well-trained marine pilots be available to serve the Australian maritime sector.

“Partnering, investing and aligning with BMP, one of the Australia’s premier pilotage companies, made immediate sense to us. The 39 BMP marine pilots have over 500 years of combined on-water pilotage experience, and proven advanced training systems which result in highly professional marine pilots. As the largest private pilotage company in Australia we recognise, understand, and value the significant and diverse skills they bring to our partnership,” Mr Lonsdale said.

“Auriga and BMP both have an unrivalled commitment to delivering the highest level of pilotage services and standards to customers around Australia. Both of our teams have an unrelenting focus on safety and training by achieving the highest international standards in the pilotage sector. Both organisations have been independently audited and awarded the much-coveted ISPO accreditation. This partnership sees four of our combined operations across Australia gain ISPO accreditation, a first for Australia and the world.”

A statement from BMP said together the two companies combined have an “unrivalled” ability to deliver the highest level of pilotage services to customers in Brisbane and across Australia.

“The facts speak for themselves regarding our overall capability, experience and current on-water performance. This new force in marine pilotage now directly employs more than 100 qualified and fully licensed marine pilots across 14 Australian ports,” the statement said.

“We will quietly and confidently get on with the job of keeping port and shipping needs safely on track for the benefit of ship owners, port operators, regulatory authorities and the Australian community.”

BMP said it has historically worked with industry on many fronts to maintain and advance the standard of marine pilotage.

“BMP and Auriga in partnership, are committed to building on this, investing in the future of pilotage through innovation, and becoming the pilotage provider and employer of choice,” the statement said.

“We are excited for the future of this new offering and our enhanced ability to deploy highly skilled and professionally trained teams for the continued benefit of industry, the Brisbane community and the people of Australia.”

Mr Lonsdale said the new partnership has combined on-water pilotage experience of more than 1000 years.

“To put the sheer scale of our partnership in context, our marine pilot teams across Australia have ships under pilotage conditions for [the equivalent of] more than 30 circumnavigations of the globe annually, and our aviation teams around Australia fly our fleet of marine pilot transfer helicopters the equivalent of 28 circuits of the globe each year,” Mr Lonsdale said.

“The importance of having highly skilled and trained marine pilots with a deep understanding of the various control factors they need to manage to navigate ships safely under pilotage has recently been highlighted with the grounding of the containership Ever Given, which blocked the Suez Canal for six days, at enormous economic cost,” he said.

“The true and trusted training programmes that have been developed by both our organisations and approved by regulators over decades of learnt maritime experience and refinement have served our teams, the wider maritime community, and the national economy well. The key priority and core value that both our organisations hold is the safety of our people, ships, port infrastructure and the sensitive world heritage environments in which we operate.”

Auriga Group – which incorporates Australian Reef Pilots, Australian Pilotage Group and others – in April expanded its operations in Hydrographers Passage. The company increased its Mackay based pilot and helicopter operations to support the expansion.