International Standard for Maritime Pilot Organizations
Back to news

Press Release – ISPO Conference Brisbane 2018

ispo conference brisbane 2018
Brisbane Marine Pilots hosted a very successful annual International Standard for maritime Pilot Organizations (ISPO) conference and meetings here in Brisbane on Wednesday 17 & Thursday 18 October 2018. The venue was the Stamford Plaza Brisbane. There were around 100 international and Australian attendees.

Press Release - ISPO Conference Brisbane 2018


Brisbane Marine Pilots hosted a very successful annual International Standard for maritime Pilot Organizations (ISPO) conference and meetings here in Brisbane on Wednesday 17 & Thursday 18 October 2018.   The venue was the Stamford Plaza Brisbane.  There were around 100 international and Australian attendees.

Uncle Des Sandy a senior Elder for Meeanjin, the land which Brisbane is built on, provided the Welcome to Country.  He also explained the purpose of the welcome which dates back to his Yuggera ancestors who walked this country since time immemorial.

Jennifer Robertson, Director and Deputy Chair - Brisbane Marine Pilots, welcomed the attendees to the conference and reminded pilots of the unique skills and knowledge they gained over many years of adventure, hardship and study which we as pilots now take for granted. She noted our experience provided us with resilience in trying pilotage circumstances and that we will, without fear or favour, exercise judgement and skill for the benefit of all within the Port. 

The Honourable Mark Bailey, Minister for Transport and Main Roads, opened the conference.  He acknowledged the vital role that pilots provide in protecting the oceans and ports on behalf of the people of Queensland.  He supported Brisbane Marine Pilots and the ISPO International Users Group (IUG) in their efforts to improve safety in the delivery of pilot services both in words and by giving his time to attend the conference opening on what was a very busy and historic day in Queensland politics.

Willem Bentinck, ISPO IUG Chair, provided an overview of the ISPO methodology for pilot organisations who are considering pursuit of certification to the standard and pilotage industry stakeholders.  He noted that the term “Standard” may not be the best description for the ISPO concept as it was in fact a Quality Management System.

Jim Huggett, Executive Director Maritime Operations - Maritime Safety Queensland, spoke about the regulatory requirements of the Queensland Government.  Jim was very supportive of the ISPO concept noting the shared values of ISPO and MSQ.  He suggested that it was important to maintain a high standard of independent auditing so that the process did not become a “tick and flick” exercise.  He also advised of how his department had facilitated the implementation of the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) system, started by BMP and AMPI, to satisfy regulatory requirements.  Attendees were very impressed and surprised with the support of the regulator for pilots and the effective relationship between BMP and the regulator.

Peter Keyte, Chief Operating Officer - Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd, gave an overview of how the port, through innovation and collaboration between itself, BMP and DHI had safely improved the channel capacity without changing the existing channel depth.  Port of Brisbane’s commitment to delivering exceptional outcomes for customers and stakeholders has resulted in it being named Port of the Year 2017 at the Australian Shipping & Maritime Industry Awards and together with DHI has won a number of innovation and infrastructure awards for the development and implementation of the DHI NCOS Online under keel clearance program.

Mike Drake, Director Marine Operations - Carnival Australia, explained how standards and consistency will help them achieve their goal of reducing navigational risk and ensure pilots add value to their bridge teams.  Consistent with a quality assurance process, he highlighted the need for the sharing of information prior to and throughout the pilotage operation including the debrief at the end of the passage to ensure continuous improvement of the process.  

Sidney Dekker, Professor - Griffith University Safety Science Innovation Lab was given the challenge to deliver a presentation on Safety in Quality Management Systems to a mostly jet lagged audience at the end of the first day.  No one nodded off during his performance!   Sidney, in his own unique style, questioned the ability of the standard procedural processes to effectively deal with the last fraction of 1% of performances which result in unwanted outcomes.  He gave a number of examples of why and how we should focus on what went right in the vast majority of outcomes.  He recommended that organisation members valued diversity of

opinion/dissent, kept discussion on risk alive, accepted that past success was not taken as guarantee, allow for the ability to say stop, deferred to expertise, didn’t wait for inspections/audits, break down barriers between departments and hierarchies and value pride of workmanship.   No one will forget Sidney’s session.  At the IUG meeting it was agreed that the working group will review the ISPO on risk management to provide advice on human factors including resilience.

The conference dinner was held in the Brasserie Marquee at the Stamford Plaza.  Luckily the rain and wind held off providing a pleasant evening overlooking the Brisbane river and the Story Bridge in lights.  Each of the sponsors was given a gift in recognition of them supporting BMP to collaborate with other likeminded pilotage organizations throughout the world to continually improve their pilotage services in quality, safety and protection of the environment; Queensland Government, Port of Brisbane P/L, DHI Water & Environment Pty Ltd, Trelleborg Marine Systems, Smartship Australia, NavSim Technology and Dongara Marine.

Michael Wall, Marine Pilot - Port Hedland Pilots, started the second day and went through the process of selecting ISPO as their quality system and its implementation.  He provided an overview of the continuing improvements across their operation including the improved risk assessment aided by R2A consultants.

Clive Sheard, Marine Lead and Principal Consultant - Noble Denton Marine Services DNV GL - Oil & Gas Australia, introduced their new Port Vessel Assurance Scheme (PVAS).  This is a system that provides a thirdparty audit of port towage services in a similar way that ISPO provides a third-party audit of pilotage services against the ISPO. He noted the value of being able to demonstrate technical due diligence when there has been an incident.  The scheme also provides a shared understanding of the tug limits to both the tug master and the pilot to avoid incidents.

Richard Robinson, Partner - R2A Due Diligence Engineers, once again supporting Australian pilotage organisations, provided advice on how to improve the ISPO risk assessment model from a due diligence point of view.  Unlike the traditional Risk Matrix approach, his recommended process involves identifying all possible practicable precautions following the hierarchy of control then determining which precautions are reasonable and then implementing them. It was later agreed at the IUG meeting for the working group to review ISPO on risk assessment based on Richard’s advice.

Jonathan Beatty, Assistant Regional Harbour Master – Brisbane Region - Maritime Safety Queensland, went through the process of ensuring the Brisbane fairways and channels are managed to provide a quality assured result that can be relied upon by all stakeholders moving forward.  Following this process there is now one set of channel boundaries controlled by the Harbour Master.  Should any of the stakeholders, the; regulator, hydrographer, pilots or port survey/dredging groups need to change the channel boundaries all of the group must be consulted before the controlled set is updated.

Keith Mclean and Tim Wingate, Marine Pilots - Association of Forth Pilots, went through some unexpected benefits of have ISPO certification.  Their port has over resent years had a major bridge constructed and two state of the art aircraft carriers for the British Royal Navy assembled.  There was no specific requirement for either of these projects to use the local pilot service although due to the nature of these critical constructions the principle contractors were required to have quality management systems in place.  The Forth Pilots maintained such a requirement through ISPO certification and were therefore awarded the contracts to provide pilotage services to the projects.

Ross Nicholls, Marine Pilot - Brisbane Marine Pilots, provided an overview of how BMP complied with the ISPO in regard to Training, Qualifications and Certification.  He described the generational changes in pilot expectations noting today’s pilots not only accept the change to a quality management system approach but expect them to be in place.  He also noted the challenges of the future in particular recruiting new pilots as the pool of traditionally trained pilots is reducing with the demise of the Australian merchant fleet.


Over all the feedback from conference attendees was very positive.  A number of people commented that they found the common purpose of the group to be most encouraging.  They also noticed the spirit of collaboration between the Brisbane regulator, the pilotage provider and the port operator as quite unique and admirable.  




BMP are grateful to all of the speakers who gave their time and effort to make the conference the success it was.  One attendee remarked that he did not once get the urge to check his emails during the presentations.

As a result of the conference and the related meeting of the ISPO International Users Group (IUG) the ISPO will be reviewed with the intention to update it to include a greater focus on human factors and due diligence in risk management.  If approved by the IUG at next year’s conference in Spain, the changes would become part of the ISPO and will be implemented and audited in the following year.


Chris Kline

Brisbane Marine Pilot

Director ISPO IUG


mark bailey                                                                                                                 

(Left) The Honourable Mark Bailey Minister for Transport and Main Roads opened the conference

(Right) Sidney Dekker Professor at Griffith University Safety Science Innovation Lab gave the Key Note speech on safety through resilience

sidney dekker

Press Release - ISPO Brisbane 2018

More info? Mail us!phoneinfo@ispo-standard.com