FOR the first time in the organisation’s history, the Australasian Marine Pilots Institute is hosting its regional conference outside of Australia.

The AMPI Regional Ports and Pilotage Conference is underway in Port Moresby this week, with marine pilots, regulators, port authorities and stevedores all represented at the event.

The conference opened on Monday night with a memorable performance from local musicians and dancers, and it continues through Tuesday and Wednesday with discussions on regulation, pilotage in PNG, training, towage, transfers and technology.

Part of the vision for this year’s conference, ten years in the making, is to demonstrate that AMPI is truly Australasian.

“We truly have an international gathering with us today, and with 98 delegates representing seven countries,” AMPI president Josephine Clark said in her address on Tuesday morning.

She said pilots are a small but vital link in the global logistics chain that continues the efficient free flow of trade, and growth and prosperity for communities.

“Of course, moving very large ships in confined channels, through narrow passages, alongside expensive port infrastructure in times of darkness and adverse weather involves inherent risk.

“The whole world will be there to shine a spotlight when things go wrong, as we have recently seen in Baltimore and, before that, the Ever Given grounding in the Suez Canal.”

Ms Clark said the role of a pilot is, in essence, risk management. She highlighted the levels of skill, knowledge and experience a pilot brings to the bridge.

“Anyone who fails to see the need or value of safe pilotage to a port and wider community has not spent much time on the bridge of a ship,” she said.

Further presentations throughout the morning illustrated that safe pilotage is a matter of public interest, and that the value of marine pilots cannot be overstated.

Further coverage of AMPI’s Regional Ports and Pilotage Conference will appear in the DCN magazine.