Headlines of the standard

ISPO offers a good structure to continuously improve the performance of a Pilot organization
Captain A. Michael Wall, Harbour master Tasports

Any pilot organization wishing to comply with the ISPO standard needs to document and continuously assess the following management topics:

Functional Requirements

The maritime pilot organization develops, implements and maintains an ISPO management system which includes the following minimum functional requirements such as:

  • Policy statement
  • Identification of processes
  • Instructions and procedures
  • Communication procedures
  • Procedures for reporting non-conformities
  • Qualification procedures of pilots
  • Compliance evaluation
  • Procedures for internal verification, review, analysis and evaluation

Documentation Requirements

Establish and maintain procedures to control all documents and records (either paper or digital) relevant to the management system.

Management Responsibility

Define and document the responsibility, authority and interrelation of all personnel who manage, perform and verify work relating to pilotage services and the support to these services.

Recruitment, Training & Qualification

Ensure that all personnel involved have an adequate understanding of all relevant rules, codes, regulations and guidelines.

Pilot Operations

Establish procedures to verify that proper communication between the vessel’s master, the maritime pilot, the VTS/VTM authority and port and/or fairway related services is being maintained prior to and during the pilotage passage.

Establish procedures for the preparation, planning and execution of the pilotage passage with due consideration to local, national and international requirements and local best practice.

Undertake actions to perform services at a high level of safety and quality.

Logistic Operations

Establish and maintain a system for logistic operations for maritime pilots that includes pilot scheduling and pilot transport.

Emergency Preparedness

Establish and maintain procedures for responding to potential emergency situations related to the pilotage passage.

Ensure that procedures and permissions are in place to enable a rapid and effective response to potential emergencies involving transport operations.

Customer Related Processes

Review the requirements related to the services.

Risk, Incident and Accident Management

Maintain a system to continuously identify, manage and mitigate risks.

Measurement, Analyses and Improvement

Establish and maintain procedures to ensure that non-conformities, incidents, accidents, risk events and complaints are reported, investigated and analysed in conformity with the objective of improving the management system.



  • ISPO CODE                                                                                                                                This part contains mandatory provisions giving the minimum standard for full compliance with the ISPO, when adopted by the pilot organization. Exclusions are possible, but shall be subject to approval by the classification society.                                                                                   
  • ISPO CONTROL MANUAL                                                                                                      This part contains the use of uniform standards for managing the system. The features for a safety & quality management system are described and how the ISPO encompasses those features. This document explains the principle of safety and quality audits, and why internal and external verification should take place before a certificate is being issued to show that an individual pilot organization complies with the ISPO. You could call it the handbook for the IUG. 


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