The environmental and cultural significance of the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait regions are recognised the world over. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was established in 1975 and added to the World Heritage list in 1981. In 1990 the International Maritime Organization (IMO) recognised the Great Barrier Reef as the world’s first Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA). The IMO also recognised the Torres Strait as a PSSA in 2005. In 1991 the Australian Government enacted legislation for compulsory marine pilotage in the Inner Route of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) between Cape York and Cairns and the Hydrographers Passage. Compulsory pilotage in Torres Strait and Great North East Channel (GNEC) was introduced on 6 October 2006. The Great Barrier Reef extends from the northern tip of Queensland through to Bundaberg in the south, the reef covers over 344,000 square kilometres and consists of some 3000 reefs, 600 continental islands and 300 coral cays. Torres Pilots provides Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) licensed pilots in the three (3) compulsory pilotage areas of the Great Barrier Reef (as shown on chartlet on page 11) and is issued by AMSA with a “Pilotage Provider Licence” confirming Torres Pilots compliance with the requirements specified in MO54 (Coastal Pilotage).
Torres Pilots has over 35 AMSA licensed pilots. Trainee pilots must comply with AMSA and service standards for qualifications, watch keeping experience, health, under keel clearance management (UKCM) and ECDIS training. Torres Pilots require trainees to have a Master Class 1 qualification and have extensive command experience on commercial vessels operating on international routes. TP pilots regularly attend AMSA approved professional development and check pilot training programs. Pilotages in the GBR are probably the longest single handed pilotages in the world. Fatigue was identified by the ATSB 2011 review of GBR pilotage as a major safety issue. Our pilots reside in Cairns and Mackay adjacent to the compulsory pilot boarding grounds, which allows us to better respond to late ETA changes and bookings, whilst at the same time minimising pilot fatigue.
Director, Perry Sutton, has been responsible for pilot service management for 35 years.
Torres Pilots is annually audited by AMSA for compliance with the requirements of MO54. Additional information on safety systems can be obtained from our Brisbane office. Torres Pilots use standard passage plans with AMSA approved waypoints, identification of off-course limits, hazard and risk management strategies. Copy is presented to the master when the pilot boards.
Torres Pilots has attained AS/NZS ISO 9001:2015 Quality Assurance certification and is annually audited by the international certification society Det Norske Veritas (DNV).