When is a pilot compulsory?
Compulsory pilotage applies to the following vessels in public fairways within Finnish waters and the part of the Saimaa Canal leased by Finland that are designated as fairways requiring pilotage:
- A vessel, vessel combination or tug-towage combination, which is carrying oil, liquefied gas, noxious liquid substances or dangerous goods in solid form in bulk or INF cargo;
- A vessel or vessel combination operating in Finnish territorial waters, which has a maximum length that exceeds 70 metres or a maximum width that exceeds 14 metres;
- One of the following navigating the Saimaa Canal or Saimaa waterways:
a) A vessel or vessel combination, which has a maximum length of more than 35 metres;
b) A tug-towage combination in which the length of the object being towed is more than 35 metres and towage is performed for purposes other than timber floating;
- A foreign government ship with a maximum length of more than 15 metres.
Compulsory pilotage does not apply to the following
- A vessel owned by the Finnish government;
- An icebreaker being used, on the basis of agreement, to provide icebreaker assistance as intended by the Act on the Ice Classes of Ships and Icebreaker Assistance;
- A ferry forming the extension of a public road and a vessel that is used solely in commuter traffic referred to in Section 5 of the Act on the Promotion of Overall Development in the Archipelago (494/1981) or similar traffic in the Province of Åland;
- A Russian vessel when navigating only the part of the Saimaa Canal leased by Finland;
- A tug-towage combination when it is not carrying oil, liquefied gas, noxious liquid substances or dangerous goods in solid form in bulk or INF cargo;
a) a tug and tug-towage combination, which has a combined maximum length of 70 metres; or
b) a tug with a maximum length of 50 metres towing an object that is a maximum of 110 metres, and the tug is equipped with a Class A AIS transponder, intended for professional use, which can be used to convey that towage is in progress.
The following vessels are exempt from compulsory pilotage
- A vessel that is subject to compulsory pilotage based on its size, but to whose shipmaster the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom has granted:
a) A Pilotage Exemption Certificate for the vessel and fairway in question; or
b) An exemption for the vessel and fairway or specific waterways in question;
- A tanker with a maximum length of 90 metres or a maximum width of 14 metres and to whose shipmaster and first mate the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom has granted a Pilotage Exemption Certificate for the vessel and fairway in question and which:
a) is carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) in bulk; or
b) has a double hull and is transporting a bulk load of light or low-sulphur fuel oil
- A vessel, vessel combination, tug and tug-towage combination operating in internal traffic in Saimaa waterways and in the Finnish area of the Saimaa Canal, if not carrying a load such as that specified in paragraph 1
- A vessel that has been granted an exception by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom.
The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom can decide, for justified safety or environmental protection purposes, that a named shipmaster or certain vessel must use pilotage services.
Shipmasters of vessels arriving to the VTS areas specified in the Vessel Traffic Service Act (Alusliikennepalvelulaki 623/2005) must notify the VTS centre if they are using the exemption from compulsory pilotage and, if so, they must provide the relevant exemption number.