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REMARK: The follwowing notice has been translated by the author.

Notice of the Recommendations for the Helicopter Transfer of Marine Pilots of August 9th, 1996.

The following "Recommendations for the Helicopter Transfer of Marine Pilots" are announced , which should be noted by the pilots of the seapilot transfer helicoptes and the ships, on which the seapilot will be transfered. The Guidelines for the Helicopter Transfer of Marine Pilots of December 12th, 1986 (VkBl. 1987 S. 59) are canceled herewith.

Bonn, August 9th 1996


The Federal Ministry of Transport

on behalf


REMARK: The following text has be published in english language.


I General

1 The Federal Republic of Germany (the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration) has established, in addition to conventional marine pilotage services, a centralized marine pilot transfer service near lightvessel GB and near the buoy GW-TG for all vessels that, according to the valid Pilotage District Regulations, are obliged to take a marine pilot or wish to do so on a voluntary basis.

2 The transfer of a marine pilot is performed at all transfer positions in the German Bight by transferboats as a matter of priority, except if a transfer by boat is not possible because of adverse weather conditions, a transferboat is not available for the transfer or the transfer by boat would lead to unreasonable consequences for the vessel to be served.
If the transfer of a marine pilot is performed by helicopter, the vessel requesting a pilot or carrying a pilot to be dropped has to meet the prerequisites helicopter transfer.
Such transfer can be done at wind speeds of up to 55 knots (force 10 Bft) relative to the vessel. When helicopters cannot be used owing to adverse weather conditions, or when the vessel to be served does not meet the prerequisites for helicopter transfer, pilots are transferred by boat; boats operate from Helgoland for destinations in the Elbe and Weser II/Jade pilotage districts, and from the local pilot cutters seaward position for destinations in the Ems pilotage district.

Helicopters are deployed from the airfields Mariensiel and Bremerhaven-Luneort.

3 Marine pilot transfer services by helicopter are operated on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Transport by Wiking Helikopter Service GmbH, Hamburg, and supervised by the Federal Office of Civil Aeronautics (Luftfahrt-Bundesamt).

4 In service are helicopters of the type "Sikorsky S-76" (S-76 A+ or S-76 B). This helicopter has twin engines, is approved and equipped for IFR operations and is capable of manoeuvring safely while hovering over the vessel even with only single-engine performance. The minimum crew of a helicopter is two pilots and a winchman.

II Operational Rules for the Helicopter Transfer of Marine Pilots

1 Procedure

Pilot transfer is performed either by winching down the pilot from the helicopter or by the helicopter touching down on the vessel's deck. Winching operations or landings are carried out, if a winching area (pursuant to items 4.1.1 and 4.1.2) or a landing area (pursuant to items 4.2.1 to 4.2.3) is provided on the vessel.

2 Aerodynamic Suitability of the Position

For the positioning of the winching area the movements of the vessel, air flöw turbulences on and below the deck due to superstructures, exhaust ducts of the ship propulsion, and other obstructions of the flight operations have to be taken into consideration.

For the positioning of the helicopter landing deck it must be taken account of the fact that the wind and turbulence situation in the area of the helicopter landing deck depends to a large extent on the shape of the vessel and of the superstructures, and of the relative position of the helicopter landing deck to superstructures or the like. Therefore, helicopter landing decks must be posi-tioned so as to prevent any risk to touching-down or taking-off helicopters by turbulences that might be caused by superstructures, deck cargo or the like.

3 Requirements

To the extent that these Recommendations do not set out specific require-ments as to design, arrangements, equipment, installations, outfittings and materials and to mounting, the generaily accepted standards of technology shall be applied. These include, in particular, the rules of the ciassification societies.

4 Shipboard operating areas

Transfers by helicopter can only be performed, if a helicopter operating area is available on board the ship which complies with the following minimum requirements.

Helicopter transfer is admissible on

- a winching area (see figure 1, page 12)

- a landing area (see figure 2, page 13)

4.1 The winching area must comprise

4.1.1 a circular discharge area

- with a diameter of not less than 5 m, free of any obstructions; obstructions of up to 0.10 m in height are admissible, if constructive measures ensure that there is no risk for persons who are discharged,

- painted yellow and

- with a non-skid surface


4.1.2 a surrounding manoeuvring zone

- with a diameter of not less than 30 m and free of any obstructions of more than 5 m in height; II, in individual cases, obstructions exceed these limits, they must be conspicuously marked.

The manoeuvring zone may partly extend overboard.

An outer marking is not required.

Winching Area

4.2.1 the circular landing area

- with a diameter of not less than 16 m free of obstructions and depressions, obstructions and depressions of up to 0.10 m are admissible, if constructive measures ensure that there is no risk for helicopter Operations,

- circled by an outer marking consisting of a painted white line of 0.30 m in width,

- with an aiming spot in the centre of the landing area which is painted white and has a diameter of 0.50 m and

- with a non-skid surface.

4.2.2 the surrounding clear zone of at least 24 m which is limited by the nearest ships wall and by connecting lines between reference points R 1 and R 2 (see figure 2) and which is free of obstructions of more than 0.25 m in height, and

4.2.3 an outer manoeuvring area surrounding the landing area and the clear zone at a distance of 4 m and free of obstructions of more than 0.40 m in height.

Landing Area

5 If, after entry into force of these Recommendations it is found that the vessel in question does not have any or has different deck markings, the marine pilot and the helicopter captain may decide jointly whether or not to carry out an envisaged transfer, provided the absence of obstructions as prescribed above is guaranteed without any doubt.

III Requesting a Marine Pilot

Helicopter transfer services are available day and night. Vessels en route from overseas intending to take a pilot at a position near lightvessel GB or at the buoy GW-TG must forward their request for a pilot 24 hours before reaching the transfer position to the appropriate address, that is

a) for the river Elbe, the Brunsbüttel Pilot Station (Elblotse Brunsbüttel)

Lotsenbrüderschaft Elbe, Bezirk 2

Cuxhavener Straße 15


25541 Brunsbüttel

telephone: (0 48 52) 8 72 95 und 8 71 32

telex: 28 343 - Ellots d -

cable: Elblotse Brunsbüttel

telefax: (04852) 871 65

b) for the river Weser, the Bremerhaven Pilot Station (Weserlotse II Bremerhaven)

Lotsenbrüderschaft Weser II/Jade

Am Alten Vorhafen

27568 Bremerhaven

telephone: (04 71) 4 22 20

telex: 238 605 - Welts d -

telefax: (04 71) 41 38 13

c) for the river Jade, the Jade Pilot Station (Jadelotse Wilhelmshaven)

Lotsenbrüderschaft Weser II/Jade

Schleuseninsel/I. Einfahrt

26382 Wilhelmshaven

telephone: (0 44 21) 4 19 00

telefax: (0 44 21) 4 12 23

d) for the river Ems, the Emden Pilot Station (Emslotse Emden)

Lotsenbrüderschaft Emden

Am Deift 24

26721 Emden

telephone: (049 21) 240 00

telex: 27 882 - Lotsen d -

2 The request (ETA message) must include the following particulars:

a) vessels name,

b) overall length, largest width and the current draught in fresh water in meters,

c) ETA at lightvessel GB or at buoy GW-TG (date in two digits, time in four digits),

d) port of destination,

e) indication as to whether a marked winching or landing area is provided,

f) indication as to where this area is positioned.

3 Short-term requests are honoured, if possible; but in these cases no guarantee can be given that the transfer is performed at the time desired.

4 An updated ETA message has to be sent to the appropriate pilot station aboul six hours in advance, while the exact time of arrival at the pilot transfer position has to be transmitted about three hours in advance. When transfer by helicopter is not possible, failing the required minimum weather conditions at the helicopters point of departure or at the pilot transfer position, the requesting vessel is informed of this by the pilot station.

IV Radiocommunications

Starting 30 minutes prior to her arrival at the pilot transfer station, the vessel has no maintain a continuous listening watch on VHF channel 16 so as to enable the helicopter pilot to make radio contact.

2 Helicopters call vessels on VHF channel 16. After radio contact is established, traffic is switched to channel 09 or 72, as agreed. In the event of radio failure, the provisions of item V (4) apply.

3 The following information should be transmitted to the helicopter:

a) position of the vessel,

b) true course,

c) speed overground,

d) force and direction of wind on deck by the landing area, relative to the vessels fore-and-aft line,

e) air temperature and horizontal visibility,

f) vessels roll and pitch, taking white or green water,

g) deck condition (e. g. dry, wet, etc.) and

h) position of winching/landing area.

4 Upon request by the helicopter crew, the vessel transmits on 410 Khz her call sign for identification twice, followed by a continuous tone of 30 seconds duration and again her call sign twice. The continual repetition of this sequence of signals may be required until the helicopter hovers over the vessel.

5 The direction of wind over deck is of importance to the actual transfer operation. lt is desirable that the relative wind direction is from ahead, either 4 points to port or 4 points to starboard. In exceptional cases it may be necessary that the relative wind direction is from 4 points aft the beam. In this respect the vessel should follow the instruction of the helicopter crew.

6 The master or officer in charge should adjust the vessels speed and heading so that roll and pitch and taking of white or green water are minimized and that the required relative direction and speed of wind are achieved through changes of course or speed.

V Preparation and Performance of Transfer Operations

Prior to a Pilot transfer by helicopter, the following preparatory measures have to be taken and checked aboard the vessel:

a) A red and white striped windsock with a length of not less than 1.20 m has to be fitted at a clearly visible location;

b) all persons involved in the transfer operation have to equipped with easily detectable, brightly-coloured clothing and with protective helmets;

c) persons not involved in and equipment not necessary for the transfer operation have to be removed from the winching/landing area;

d) loose objects on deck have to be removed or well secured;

e) all standing and running gear (aerials, riggings) in the vicinity of the winching/landing area has to be lowered and secured;

f) cargo derricks have to be topped-up or lowered;

g) fire-fighting installations and equipment have to be kept ready for immediate use;

h) the fire-fighting party wearing firemens outfits has to be on stand-duty;

i) two crew members have to be ready to assist disembarking marine pilot

In addition to the above, aboard oil, gas and chemical tankers

j) all tank-washing operations have to be stopped;

k) all tanks in the vicinity of the winching/landing area have to be vented atmosphere 30 minutes before the transfer operation so as to ensure that the pressure/vacuum valves remain closed throughout the transfer opertion;

1) if necessary, all tanks located beneath the winching/landing area have be inerted;

m) all tank openings have to be firmly closed prior to the helicopters arrival

2 At night or in bad visibility, throughout the entire transfer operation including the helicopters arrival and departure, adequate non-glare lighting must be provided for the winching/landing area, the wind pennant, and all obstrutions above or beyond the deck (e. g. through switching on the lighting of the deck).

3 No winching or landing manoeuvre must be performed unless the helicopt pilot and the master or officer in charge of the vessel have mutually agree that it is safe for the helicopter, the vessel and all persons involved to proceed. Transfer operations have to be stopped, if either the helicopter pilot, the master or officer in charge of the vessel, or marine pilot to be transferred consider it necessary.

4 In the event of radio failure, the helicopter pilot has to circle the vessel and indicate loss of radio contact by switching on and off the landing lights several times.

The vessel has to signal, by means of a hand-held ALDIS lamp or a similar suitable lamp in the direction of the helicopter, the following:

- A steady white light, if the vessel is ready to perform the transfer operation

- a series of short white flashes, if the vessel cannot perform the transfer opration for an indefinite period of time (not exceeding 15 minutes);

- a series of letters N in the Morse Code, if the transfer operations is not possible for an indefinite period exceeding 15 minutes,

5 Under no circumstances must the winch rope be attached to any part of the vessel.

6 Immediately prior to any winching manoeuvre involving persons to be hoisted or lowered, any static electricity accumulated during the flight must be safely led off. For this purpose, the helicopter lowers in a loop a conductive grounding cable whose lead weight always has to touch the deck first. This link is automatically disconnecting and must under no circumstances be attached to any part of the vessel. Especially for oil, gas and chemical tankers, the discharge point has to be selected so as to ensure that an ignition of inflammable gas mixtures is impossible.


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