Marine pilot loses life while boarding cruise ship

The Japan Coast Guard is investigating the death of a marine pilot, during a pilot transfer to a cruise ship off the port of Nagasaki on 5th May.

In particular, the pilot was responsible for guiding the Diamond Princess. At about 0530 the pilot boat approached and the pilot transferred to the rope ladder to board the ship. For reasons that are still under investigation, the pilot fell into the water while climbing the ladder.

As informed, Diamond Princess’ crew deployed a rescue boat and launched a search for the pilot. Despite the fact that he was wearing a life jacket he was pronounced dead two hours later.

According to Japanese media, the pilot was Yoshihiro Osuga, 69, an experienced pilot with 15 years in the trade.

Surface conditions were calm at the time, and the Japan Coast Guard is looking into the possibility that the pilot boat’s motion may have been a causal factor. As explained, the climb from a moving pilot boat up the side of a moving ship involves risk, and pilot ladder accidents are not uncommon.

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