Update 68

Pilotage exemption

Thursday saw John Duigan’s first sailing into Geelong as a pilot exempt vessel. After successfully completing exams and numerous pilot accompanied crossings, Master Webster successfully sailed into Geelong on Thursday morning without a pilot.

Pilotage is compulsory for all vessels over 35 metres LOA (length over all), bound for, or leaving, berths in the Port of Geelong, unless the vessel’s Master has been granted a pilotage exemption.

Sailing into Port Phillip Bay is extremely challenging, as the Master has to safely transit through ‘The Heads’, which is a dangerous stretch of water connecting Port Phillip and Bass Strait.

Strong tidal movements, a narrow channel and a high rocky seabed, make this a navigation hazard for vessels.

Vessels enter between the narrow opening between Point Lonsdale and Point Nepean and must follow a precise S-shaped course through the heads and then through Corio Bay to reach GeelongPort.

Image: Port Phillip Sea Pilots

A pilotage exemption will also be beneficial to sailing times for John Duigan. The vessel will no longer have to book a pilot assist in entering the port and will no longer be restricted by Pilot schedules.

John Duigan flying a white flag marking a pilot exempt Master.

Bass Island Line (BIL) Manger Operations Rhys Cropper said, “receiving a pilotage exemption is a great achievement by our Masters.”

“It will assist with our time management of our north bound sailings to Geelong.”

“Master Andrew Brewster has also passed his exams and is on his way to operating with the same exemption.”

Making time

While John Duigan did experience minor delays in sailing this week, due to poor weather, we are back on schedule with today’s sailing.

BIL’s livestock sailing is scheduled to depart King Island a day early, after consultation with our customers.

BIL is committed to working with our customers to meet their needs.

BIL Update 68 PDF available here.