Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Politics and Geopolitics / Sea policy / Articles
A pilot service of Russia — policy of self-sufficiency
Material posted: Publication date: 21-01-2019
The legal form of a pilot system in Russia requires a change in accordance with the objectives of the development of the ports and the Northern sea route, which is indicated in the instructions of the President of the Russian Federation and strategic planning documents. International practice shows that the absolute priority of Maritime pilotage is the safety of navigation, as emphasized in the resolutions and recommendations of the International pilots Association (IMPA). In different countries pilotage is carried out by the state represented by the state pilotage service or non-state pilotage organizations exclusively on a nonprofit basis. Pilotage dues are spent solely for the purpose of providing pilotage. Nowhere in the world there are no private pilotage companies operating on a commercial basis with a view to profit. In the Code of trading navigation (KTM the Russian Federation) sea pilots discussed in a separate Chapter No. 6. However, over 20 years after its adoption in Russia there were private pilotage company, as a pilot activity in General has not been resolved. The current system is inefficient, contains many distortions and contradictions, is very confusing, private pilotage company is not available for control and administration, and transparent spending of the target pilotage they cannot provide. REGNUM news Agency continues to understand in what the reason of the current situation and why the decision of the constitutional court, adopted nearly 15 years ago, still not done. What is the cause of the problems and what can be the solution in the article coordinator of the project "Marine policy" Center for strategic assessments and forecasts of Anna Gornova.

In the 90s, when the Soviet system collapsed, the pilots tried to organize its work on a noncommercial basis, formed an Association of sea pilots and has successfully worked in their organizations for almost 10 years, from 1992 to 2001, However at that stage the absence of unified state concept gave rise to legal distortions that led to the publication of government Decision No. 538 (17.07.2001), which effectively banned non-commercial organisations to run pilots in several ports. This resulted in the strike of pilots and their lawsuit to the constitutional court (CC RF) to abolish the Decree № 538. The claim Association was satisfied, and Resolution No. 538 was withdrawn by a decision of the constitutional court of the Russian Federation from 06.04.2004 №7-P.

In the same decision, the constitutional court has obligated the Federal legislator to regulate the activities of non-state, at that time an exclusively non-profit, pilot organizations, but not reflected in the decision of their legal form. This played a fatal role in the further development of a pilot sector in our country and for this reason, over the past 15 years, no legislative solution has not happened. According to pilots of the time, they even could not imagine that a pilot can leak from the state and the pilots in the private pockets of a few clever businessmen, and clever merchants will simply pass the pilots in the lease.

At the time of issuance of the Decree No. 538 of the Russian pilot was no competition, no one port was not just two organizations, which is one of the basic global fundamentals a pilot case. A pilot non-profit organizations have joined three-quarters of pilots and provided 80% of cargo turnover of the sea ports of the country. In public organizations worked not more than 25% of all pilots in Russia. But since the decision of the constitutional court was not met, a clever "business people" took advantage of a loophole in the law, and since 2005 began to appear private pilotage company. Today, having in its composition less than one-third of all pilots and working in 15 extremely lucrative ports of the 67 ports of the country, they receive slightly less than half of the total pilotage and withdrawal from a pilot sector in the pockets of their owners, not pilots.

Change in the system

The principle of safety of navigation and the principle of profit entered in direct apparent contradiction that gave rise to the current flawed system. Currently, Rosmorport pilot ensures security in all seaports of the country, including modeately for SMEs, unfavorable low-income performs all operations on state programs and the needs of the port, observing all the rules and regulations of the pilot activities, while a few private companies operating exclusively in profitable ports and service outperformance of the court, withdrawing some of pilotage from the sector of Maritime safety in the "pockets" of their masters and from the same pilotage pay kickbacks to agents for attraction of the best ships.


According to expert estimates, the amount of the annual pilotage in the country is about 2.5 billion rubles. Public organizations receive slightly more than 1.5 billion roubles, with about 650 pilots and performing pilot about 200 thousand jobs. Private companies receive about 1 billion rubles, with about 250 pilots, are only about 50 thousand pilot jobs. However, several entrepreneurs in the field of pilot activities that do not carry almost no risks and that the state guarantees a stable income, is removed from the received pilot collection, and consequently, from a pilot sectors and spheres of Maritime security, about 0.5 billion rubles annually. And just the same amount of strategic enterprise "Rosmorport" annually incurs losses on pilot activities.

Such withholding pilotage to your "pocket" owners of private pilotage companies is made in the form of informal income through the company,"phony", various affiliates, and inflating the cost of pilotage in 2-7 times compared to the real, which is evident from the report of the FSUE "Rosmorport", the accounting of which is transparent to the control. Moreover, private pilotage companies, almost all have their specialized pilot boats and hire boats, the use of which in a pilot the work is unsafe, working less efficiently captured and highly profitable ports and profitable part of the pilotage services. And this is not explained only by the market rules.

Protection pilots

In private pilotage companies and there is no question about the social partnership between the employer and pilots, as the pilots trade Union is valid only in the FSUE "Rosmorport" and private companies the unions not at all, which also plays against the safety of navigation. The increase in the return of owners of private pilotage companies in the current system is achieved by the intensification of the work of the pilots and violations of the instructions regulating their work, and the pilot is completely defenseless from arbitrary hosts. Violation of the conditions of work leads to fatigue of pilots, that is often the hidden cause of accidents, and is possible only in the presence of corruption factor. The vicious system should be changed.

Лоцманский катер подходит к судну

Legal conflict

Formed a legal conflict. The activities of Maritime pilots and pilotage purposes is regulated by the rules of the, which runs the state enterprise "Rosmorport", performing public functions in accordance with the priorities and objectives of the pilot service, accepted worldwide and providing public service to all, without exception, the courts. Private pilotage companies operate under the civil code, in which there is no obligation for commercial companies to serve all in need of pilotage of the court, as the purpose of their activities is profit maximization. Monitor the proper use pilotage private companies within the GK is not possible.

The code of trading navigation (KTM) and the Civil code (GK) the Russian Federation is fundamentally different goals and regulations. KTM of the Russian Federation is a priority law for the Maritime sector activities, in particular to maintain its main strategic sectoral competencies, in fact, the marine industry Constitution and guarantor of national interests of the state. KTM in goal and absolute priority designated pilotage services Maritime security. According to the civil code, the commercial purpose of the company — profit that is in conflict with the goals, priorities and the basic fundamentals of pilot activities around the globe.

If the work and responsibilities of the pilot is regulated in KTM and other regulations, the criteria for a pilot organization is still not registered neither in Kathmandu nor in the regulations on the pilots. There is a threat when large oil, stevedoring and other companies can create within their own vertically integrated structure of the pilot unit, which will work exclusively in the commercial interests of their owners. In this case, the regulations of safety of navigation will inevitably go by the wayside, resulting in an increase in the number of emergency incidents. This is especially dangerous on the Northern sea route — the waters of particular ecological vulnerability from the influence of commercial navigation and the attention of the international community, which is expected to increase the intensity of large-tonnage shipping, including dangerous goods.

Paradoxically, the debate about how to effectively organize the activities of 900 marine pilots, is over 20 years old! Private lobby deliberately delaying maximally complicates decision making, distorting many of the facts in their commercial interests, maximum trying to prolong the time of saving schemes attribution of pilotage. Legal uncertainty creates a high level of corruption in the current system the organization of a pilot sector and the lack of positive incentives for the development of professionalism directly from the pilots themselves.

Obvious distortions in mandatory pilotage service "profitable" and "unprofitable" courts in the framework of current legislation at the regulatory level cannot resolve. Fails to establish equal conditions for state and non-state pilotage organizations, working in one port, for example, to introduce an electronic queue for pilotage for corruption. There is a paradox: the state requires shipowners to pay pilotage dues for the purpose of ensuring navigation safety, and private companies are pulling a pilot from a pilot sector almost half of the pilotage.

A self-contained single pilot service

To date, the Center for strategic estimates and projections developed several different models of transformation pilot activities, taking into account geographical peculiarities of Russia. 15 years for the failure of the Russian constitutional court's decisions suggests that its implementation given the absence in the text of the Decision guidance on the legal form of a pilot organization is impossible, as it will have to abandon Maritime safety as an absolute priority to pilot activities in favor of profit. No one will take on this responsibility.

Over the past 15 years the international situation, economic models and priorities in the country changed in the direction of the state national interests, introduced the project approach. It is imperative to look at the organization of a pilot sector as a self-contained single service, an existing means of pilotage and does not require additional state funding, effectively distributing pilotage dues alone inside among all 67 ports of the Russian Federation, with a total fleet of specialized and modern equipment.


At the moment, most effectively tackle the whole complex of accumulated problems, and reduce risks for Russia can only bring the pilot activities to uniformity by the adoption of the bill to create a pilot service of the Russian Federation. The adoption of this law will give the country a break-even self-supporting modern and efficient pilotage service in the form of a Federal Autonomous institution on the basis of social partnership of the state and the pilots, will allow to create a clear and transparent regulation of pilotage activities as one of the key elements of a modern system of Maritime security that does not allow its different interpretations.

Help IA REGNUM. Pilotage is an essential service for shipowners is guaranteed by the state. On vessels of foreign flag, the pilot is the official representative of the port state. From the work of pilot services depends on the uninterrupted operation of the ports, the level of safety of navigation, environmental safety areas, as well as the image of the Maritime countries in the international arena. The pilot performs on behalf of the state a number of functions of a public law nature and is obligated to report to the relevant authorities: any changes on the fairways, which can endanger the safety of navigation, about any incident with the ship, the pilotage of which he provides, or with other courts in the region served, the failure of the captain of the vessel of navigation rules or rules of prevention of pollution from ships. In practice, the pilot also indicates the illegal embarkation/disembarkation of passengers loading/unloading of goods undeclared and so on, but with the advent of cyber threats this list may be expanded.


RELATED MATERIALS: Politics and Geopolitics