Copy of a Letter from the Collector of Customs as Chairman of the Board for the Regulation of Sea-going Steam and other Vessels, to the Colonial Secretary.
27 Jun 1849.
Referring to your letter of the 30th March last No. 42, I have the honor to state that in compliance with the directions contained in the 3rd paragraph thereof, the Board have made minute enquiry into the working of the Pilot System and having issued circular letters to many of the merchants and ship agents is Sydney begging to be favoured with their opinions on the subject, and taken the evidence of several masters of vessels, together with that of pilots themselves, they consider that certain changes may with advantage be made in that system.
With this view they beg leave to offer the following suggestions.
1. That as the weight of evidence is in favour of the system of rotation, the same be continued, and proper regulations to be enforced by law.
2. That with a view to meet the opinions of many persons, that an additional pilot ought to be appointed, the Board recommend that the master of the Floating Light be a competent and duly qualified person to perform that duty, and be authorised to take charge of any vessel not previously boarded by a pilot, and be entitled to the pilotage of such vessel inwards.
3. That pilots in charge of inward bound vessels (not being immigrant ships, or vessels having gunpowder on board as part of their cargo) be allowed to take their vessels as near to the wharf or place they intend to discharge their cargo at, as circumstances will permit.
4. That in order to prevent any impedimenta arising from gunpowder stores being on board, a licensed powder boat be established similar to those in use in the London river, and that a fixed table of charges be made for the removal of powder from each vessel.
5. That as the present Acts of Council require consolidation and amendment, and the regulations for the guidance and good government of the pilots require to be enforced by law, all the Acts now is force having reference to pilots and pilotage be repealed, and a new Act passed comprising the follow in provisions :
1. Governor to appoint Board with certain powers.
2. Board to make rules and regulations for the examination of candidates for the situation of pilot.
3. Board to report to the Governor whether candidate is qualified or not ; or in case of more than one, which candidate is best qualified.
4. Governor to grant license to pilot.
5. Board to make rules and regulations for all matters connected with the discipline and government of pilots.
6. Regulations to be framed by Board not to be is force until approved by Governor and published is the Government Gazette.
7. Breaches of regulations by pilots to be punished by fine.
8. Board to have power to adjudicate in all matters of complaint against pilots or breaches of regulations
9. Adjudication not final until approved of by the Governor.
10. Maximum fine not to exceed £30 is any case.
11. Fines levied on pilots to be paid into Colonial Treasury, and appropriated to the improvement of the harbour, under the recommendation of the Board, subject to the approval of the Governor ; but should the penalty arise in a case of damage, the amount to be appropriated to the repairs of the same in the first instance, and if any surplus, to be appropriated as before provided.
12. Vessels carrying lights within three leagues of the Heads, thereby inducing pilots to pull off to them, shall be liable to pay full inward pilotage, and no refusal on the part of the master or other person in charge of the vessel to receive the services of such pilot shall exonerate him from the payment of pilotage as aforesaid.
13. Pilots, after having taken charge of a vessel and got her under weigh, for the purpose of taking her to sea at the request of the master, shall not be allowed to leave the vessel without the written permission of such master, until she shall have been piloted outside the Heads.
14. Should such vessel, however be detained more than twenty-tour hours after the pilot has taken charge, and such detention be caused by the direction of the master or parties concerned, and not by stress of weather or other unavoidable cause, the pilot so detained shall be entitled to receive ten shillings a day from the master or owner, and shall not be obliged to conduct the vessel to sea unless the amount be paid, or security given.
15. That when any master of a ship applying for a pilot shall afterwards find that he does not require his services on the day fixed for his attendance, and shall notify the same to the pilot on his arrival, he shall not be liable to any charge for such attendance ; but should such master on any subsequent application for a pilot, again find that he is not prepared to go to sea, he shall pay for the attendance of the pilot on that day the sum of ten shillings, whether he take charge of the vessel or not, and in the event his doing so, a similar sum for each succeeding day that he is detained on board.
16. That the restriction respecting the anchoring of vessels after clearing outwards in any part of the harbour of Port Jackson be rescinded as far as regards coasters and vessels carrying pilots.
17. That the other clauses in the Acts now in force, as to what vessels are to take pilots, what exempt, and the rate to be charged per foot, be re-enacted.
18.. That distance money to pilots be abolished.
The Evidence taken, and other documents bearing on the subject are herewith transmitted.
I have, &c.,.
Collector and Chairman:
Copy of a Letter from the Colonial Secretary to the Chairman of the Board for the Regulation of Sea-going Vessels.
Colonial Secretary's Office,
31st July, 1849.
I do myself the honor to inform you that his Excellency the Governor has laid before the Executive Council your letter of the 27th ultimo, reporting the result of the enquiry by the Steam Navigation Board, into the efficiency of the regulations under which the duties of the pilots at Port Jackson are at present performed, and stating the conclusions at which the Board have arrived.
2. The Council having attentively considered your letter, and expressed their opinion on the several recommendations of the Board, I am directed by his Excellency to reply, as follows, to these recommendations in accordance with the views of the Council.
3. As recommended by the Board the pilots will continue to board vessels according to the system of rotation which is now in use, and it will be an early duty of the Pilot Board, as hereafter proposed to be appointed, to submit regulations by which the working of that system may be rendered as efficient as possible.
4. It would not appear to be expedient to employ the keeper of the Floating Light as a pilot, and so to remove him from his proper duty : but it is proposed permanently to appoint an additional pilot.
5. With the advice of the Council his Excellency approves of the suggestion, that pilots in charge of inward-bound vessels (not being immigrant ships or having gunpowder on board as cargo) should be allowed to take their vessels as near to the wharf or place at which they intend to discharge their cargo as circumstances will permit; and in the regulations which will be required to give effect to this suggestion a provision is proposed to be inserted, requiring pilots to bring up all immigrant ships to the mouth of Sydney Cove, and to anchor them there in the Stream between Dawes' Point and Fort Macquarie.
6. The Council were not at the present. time prepared to adopt the suggestion that a Licensed Powder Boat should be established, but I am desired to say that. this proposal can be brought forward on a future occasion, should the convenience of the shipping require such a measure.
7. The Council did not consider it expedient to enter upon a revision of the pilotage laws during the present session of the Legislative Council, and therefore I am to inform. you that in deciding upon the remainder of the suggestions respecting the regulations of the pilotage business, which are made in your report, they could only advise the adoption of those which can be carried out in the present state of the law. Under the advice of the Council it is intended to appoint a Board, to be called " The Pilot Board for Port. Jackson," and its duties will, in the first instance, be as follows:
1. To make rules and regulations for the examination of candidates for the situation of pilot.
2. To report to the Governor whether candidates for the situation of pilots have or have not proved to be qualified, and which is the best qualified is the event of there being more than one competent candidate at the same time.
3. To make rules and regulations for all matters connected with the discipline and government of pilots, subject to the approval of his Excellency the Governor.
4. To enquire into all matters of complaint against plots, or breaches of regulation, and to report their decision for the Governor's approval.
8. His Excellency, with the Councils recommendation, approves of the adoption of the rule, that a pilot after having taken charge, of a vessel, and got her under weigh for the purpose of taking her to sea at the request of the master, shall not be allowed to leave the vessel without the master's written permission, provided that the master consents to pay him at the rate of ten shillings a day for any detention of longer duration than twenty-four hours.
9. The Council having advised the introduction into the Legislative Council during, the present session; of a bill to allow vessels, after having been cleared outwards at Sydney, to anchor at Watson's Bay ; a bill for this object is in course of preparation, and in the event of its being passed, a Customs' officer will be stationed there for the protection of the revenue.
10. In connexion with the subjects which have been brought under their consideration by your letter, the Council suggested that the Port Master should be instructed to inspect frequently the boats and boats' crews of the pilots, and to report monthly the state of efficiency in which he may find them, that officer has therefore been instructed accordingly.
I have, &c..
E. Deas Thomson
The Collector of Customs,
Chairman of the Board for the Regulation of Sea-going Steam and other Vessels.
SG & SGTL Vol 7, p. 190 ; 13 July 1850.
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