The Port-Based Maritime Services on the Loire Estuary
Three sets of operators contribute to the proper execution of all on-water operations: the ship’s pilots, the tugboat operators and the inshore pilots. All possess valuable experience of the specific conditions on the Loire Estuary. The great majority of vessels use the services of a ship’s pilot when heading up or down the Estuary. Ship’s piloting is compulsory for all vessels measuring over 75 metres in length and/or transporting hazardous cargo.
The Loire Estuary ship’s piloting service today comprises 32 ship’s pilots. The pilot boat, the Couronnée IV, is stationed offshore and acts as a forward base for the ship’s pilots, who transfer to the vessels by launch.
During the manoeuvre, the ship’s pilot is in permanent radio contact with the control room of the Harbour Master’s Office and with the tugboat operators. For their part, the inshore pilots have at their disposal detailed mooring plans that are issued by the Harbour Master’s Office and take into account the characteristics of the vessels and of the Estuary (strong currents).