|Suez Canal Senior of Seniors Pilot gestures as he talks on his Phone|
I had a moment of schadenfreude reading Deepwater's Marlboro Red. A big car ship on a windy day approaches the breakwater and the pilot boat refuses to board the pilot till they get some cigarettes, ha ha.
In ports in the United States, Japan and Europe safety first is the rule, competent, experienced pilots board well offshore when scheduled. On the other hand in ports where commerce is not king it's a whole other ball game. Pilots rarely board at the designated pilot station and when they do board they may not be competent.
In a Persian Gulf port, after unmooring I've had the pilot let the tugs go and announce that it is too rough to disembark outside and get off, leaving me to navigate out of port. I've also had the pilot get on, make the tugs fast and then tell me to moor the ship on my own.
In ports like these the captain might arrive at the pilot station only to be told by port control the pilot will board at the breakwater and that there is no traffic in the channel. It's wise to take all this with a grain of salt, keep an eye out for outbound traffic, have the bow thruster ready ....and have a supply of Marlboro Reds on hand.