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International Standard for Maritime Pilot Organizations
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ISPO Conference

INDUSTRY: ISPO IS A NECESSARY TOOL FOR QUALITY ASSURANCE OF PILOT ORGANIZATIONS
On 21 and 22 June, the ISPO Conference 2017 took place in Rotterdam. ISPO (International Standard for Maritime Pilot Organizations) is a quality system developed by and for international pilot organizations. The system helps pilot organizations to guarantee and improve the quality of their services in a transparent and well-founded way.

The importance of ISPO for the maritime industry
During the Conference, the maritime industry gave a clear picture of the importance of ISPO, in particular where it concerns the transparency of procedures, the quality assurance of the service, and the connection of ISPO to the internal safety and quality procedures of customers and stakeholders of the pilot organizations.

Alderman Adriaan Visser warmly welcomed the Conference attendees on behalf of the city of Rotterdam, and, referring to a pilotage trip which he experienced in person last year, said: “It is very important to keep stressing safety and to continue communicating about safety to your stakeholders and even to the public.” 

In addition to the State Harbour Master of Rotterdam, both APM Terminals, Shell and Stolt Nielsen gave their views on the importance of a transparent and thorough quality system. Ed Barsingerhorn of Shell: “A consistent and transparent (global) view on all typical activities related to the business of maritime pilotage is something we value, support and wish to engage in. We are therefore highly positive about ISPO. It will help to further embed maritime pilotage as a critical and transparent element in our highly reliable industry.”

Development of ISPO for pilot organizations

The second day of the Conference was attended by more than 25 pilot organizations, both ISPO members and pilot organizations interested in ISPO. They were given an update about the latest progress made in ISPO and it became clear that ISPO is a system that is continuously further developed and that processes described by ISPO, such as incident registration and investigation, and the use of so-called pilotage support devices provide the tools for an excellent service.

Senior Marine Auditor at Lloyds Register, Marijn Cox, has extensive experience in certification procedures, both for ISPO and ISO 9001. Cox explained that the ISPO code is a kind of adaptation of ISO 9001, specifically geared to maritime pilotage. Although there are differences between the two, they broadly aim to achieve the same results and also use the same principle of continuous improvement according to the “Plan, Do, Check, Act” cycle. 

This cycle of continuous improvement, registration and investigation of incidents and accidents is very important, said Lianne van der Veen, investigator at the independent Dutch Safety Board. Other actors than the Dutch Safety Board also play a (positive) role in this. This is certainly the case for ISPO-certified pilot organizations: ISPO verifiably records how pilots should act in different degrees of accidents.

ISPO is the preferred quality standard for pilot organzations
Willem Bentinck, chairman of the ISPO International Users Group, looks back on a successful Conference. "Our mission is that ISPO is the preferred system for pilot organizations that consider joining such a system. This is precisely why it is so important that stakeholders are familiar with the standard. They can trust that pilot organizations that meet the standard are always improving their service. The quality and safety of that service are of great importance to our stakeholders. During this Conference we held an open dialogue with them. Pilot organizations that were considering joining ISPO were given a detailed view on the standard and its advantages."

Jan Frans van den Hoek, chairman of the Rotterdam pilots and hosting the Conference, fully agrees with Bentinck. "ISPO also describes the importance of maintaining intensive contact with our clients and stakeholders. During this Conference, we, as pilots, as well as the representatives of the maritime industry, have recognised that importance. This exchange of views and information gives us the confidence that our services are in line with our customers' wishes."