It is strange that quite primitive and dangerous rope ladder is still the basic equipment used for embarking and disembarking of pilots. Whenever the distance from the surface of the water to the point of access to the ship is more than 9 m, the accommodation ladder together with the rope pilot ladder shall be provided. According to SOLAS requirements such accommodation ladder shall be sited leading aft. When in use, the lower end shall rest firmly against the ship side within the parallel body length.
Also Regulations on Navigation in Panama Canal Waters (Annex, Section Three, Boarding Facilities, Article 57, point 3) require: “Accommodation ladders shall lead aft, that is, with the lower platform at the after end. The lower end of the accommodation ladder must be within the parallel mid-body of the vessel, not near the bow or stern.” “Accommodation ladders which lead forward, or which do not rest firmly against the vessel’s side, are not considered safe for use by Authority employees.” “An accommodation ladder that is not appropriate may require the use of tugs to make the vessel come to a complete stop while embarking or disembarking personnel. This is considered a deficiency, and tugs shall be provided at the expense of the vessel.”
Such requirements are well founded for accommodation ladders used for boarding the ship at sea. Contrary, there are not any reasons to require the same for accommodation ladder used only for boarding when ship is moored at berth. Equipment is the same, (unfortunately also the names) but conditions of work in the port and on the sea are different.
To avoid problems with the Panama Canal two accommodation ladders shall be arranged: one according to the Panama Canal requirements and other for use in port.