A maritime pilot has died during a transfer to a large ocean-going vessel in the UK’s Humber Estuary, the UK Maritime Pilots Association (UKMPA) has reported.

Francesco Galia was transferring from a pilot transfer boat to the larger vessel when the accident occurred, although the UKMPA says the exact cause ‘is as yet unknown and will take some time to be fully understood’.


Galia had been passionate about the maritime industry, the UKMPA said, and had been due to retire shortly after two decades as a pilot and many years before that in the sector.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has opened a full investigation and will report in due course.

”This tragedy highlights the risks and challenges faced by maritime pilots every day,” said the UKMPA. ”They are responsible for safely navigating ships in and out of ports and harbours, often under complex and hazardous conditions, transferring from one vessel to another by nothing more than a rope ladder. This is always a risky procedure.

”The movement of the pilot boat bringing the pilot alongside, the ship’s motion and the potential for equipment failure requires precise timing and coordination of the ship, the pilot vessel and the exact judgement of the pilot as they step from one moving platform to another moving platform, often in pitch darkness in the dead of night.”