South East Wales

Marine pilots to be trained in 'unique' south Wales waters

Ship

The "unique" waters off south Wales could play a major role in addressing a predicted global shortage of marine pilots, it has been said.

Associated British Ports (ABP) has launched a new apprenticeship scheme in Newport, Barry and Cardiff.

It believes numbers are falling and there will be a global shortage of 125,000 qualified personnel by 2025.

Marine pilots manoeuvre ships through congested and dangerous areas and complete berthing at ports.

The "huge tidal range" off the south Wales coast is "unique", according to ABP's instructors, and the perfect place for practising piloting a large vessel.

"Already it's a big issue and it's one that's going to grow," said operations manager for south Wales, Rod Lewis.

"The shipping industry is a global industry, [but] the actual pool of people is getting smaller."

ABP employs 18 marine pilots in south Wales and has recently taken on three apprentices, who will take five years to qualify.

One of them, Kym Hughes, said: "Initially looking at a ship that sort of size of course you are going to be daunted by it, but it will soon come naturally to you.

"You start off on relatively small ones and work up to the very biggest, but initially the daunting nature of it is exciting."

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