Pilots of the future
Port Otago has employed three trainee pilots, so we continue providing high levels of professionalism across our Otago and Fiordland piloting operations. With some of the piloting team nearing retirement, proactive succession planning was required. Each new recruit is attending a one-week manned model course in France. The pilots operate 1:5 scale models, which enhance their training around ships’ pivot points under different scenarios. It is also an opportunity to practise manoeuvres with the aid of anchors, which they cannot practise in real life. Back in the Otago Harbour, the trainee pilots follow a structured Programme and Proficiency Plan, which requires a minimum of 125 transits in Otago Harbour under the guidance of a licenced pilot. They are then peer reviewed and sit both a written and oral exam with the Chief Pilot and Harbour Master, before obtaining their Maritime New Zealand pilot licence grade one (of four levels). Complementing the incoming pilots is the transitional retirement of some established pilots. This win-win scenario sees these pilots working over the port’s busy summer season and enjoying winter off, when pilot demand is low.
Premraj Pillai (pictured with recently retired Chief Pilot Hugh Marshall) is one of three new trainee pilots joining the Port Otago team. Premraj was based in Auckland for nine years, working for New Zealand Coastal Shipping – a job which took him into various New Zealand ports. He gained his F.G. Master Licence 18 months ago and identified becoming a pilot as his next career move. "It's a challenging and dynamic job. There is no room for error and you’re always dealing with different conditions. Otago's pilots are a very good team of skilled and lovely people. I used to think 'if I want to train as a pilot, this is the port where I’d want to do it'."
Noise monitoring software wins Microsoft award
Port Otago’s automated noise monitoring programme recently won the Azure Innovate Award at the Microsoft New Zealand Partner Awards. Port Otago worked with Microsoft and partner Aware Group to develop an accurate automated noise monitoring and classification programme, replacing the need for the job to be carried out manually. The automated system went live in May and is categorising noise with 95% accuracy
Port Otago business intelligence lead Sofia Ng. Photo courtesy ODT.