Pilot dies in ship boarding accident


A ship pilot has died following a fall while boarding a tanker arriving at the Port of New York and New Jersey on Wednesday.

The incident follows the fatal fall of another pilot in late December 2019.

According to a press statement, Sandy Hook Pilot Captain Timothy M. Murray died from injuries sustained after falling from a pilot ladder. The incident happened on Wednesday at about 10:30 p.m. local time.

Captain Murray was evacuated to a locale hospital where his injuries proved to be fatal, the statement said.

Prior to the incident, Captain Murray had been piloting vessels in and out of the Port of New York & New Jersey for over eight years.

The incident is being investigated by the United States Coast Guard.

Captain Murray is survived by his wife and five children.

The accident follows the death of another Sandy Hook pilot, Captain Dennis R. Sherwood, who fell while boarding the U.S.-flagged Maersk Kensington inbound on December 30, 2019.

The incident prompted approximately 1,200 American ship pilots from across the country to call for an end to “trapdoor” pilot ladder arrangement which is still commonly used within the industry despite the known dangers associated and IMO guidelines against it. The ladder arrangement involves combination of an accommodation ladder and a pilot ladder, with a “trapdoor” that requires the pilot pull themselves up while also twisting to ensure proper footing on the platform.

The Sandy Hook Pilots Association operates two “Ambrose class” station boats, the PB New York, which is used as the winter boat, and the PB New Jersey, utilized during the summer, as well as four smaller “America class” boats, which are used for pilot boardings and transporting pilots to and from the pilot station. It also has one larger boat, named Sandy Hook.

In 2014, four Sandy Hook pilots were injured after the America class boat Wanderer collided with a containership.