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Port of London Authority welcomes four more Pilots to meet increasing demand

Four Pilots have joined the Port of London Authority (PLA)’s 123-strong team of Pilots, as the demand for pilotage services in the UK’s busiest port continues to grow.

L-R: Patrick Kelly, Daniel Tolley, James Terry, Declan Farren

With the new fourth berth at London Gateway expected to be completed in early summer this year, significant growth of trade is expected on the river increasing demand on our vital service.

In 2023, the PLA achieved a 99.6 per cent pilotage service level for customers, during which our pilots guided 13,707 vessels along the river and estuary.

Embarking on a comprehensive training programme, which will equip them for the unique challenges of navigating the Thames, are:

  • Patrick Kelly started his seagoing career as a Trinity House Cadet, before joining Princess Cruises as Third Officer, progressing to Second Officer. Patrick joined Stena Line in 2020 as Chief Officer and was subsequently promoted to Captain.
  • Daniel Tolley began as a Cadet at Warsash Maritime Academy and has worked on Maersk container ships throughout his career. Eventually Daniel progressed to Chief Officer on the largest ships in the Maersk fleet.
  • James Terry started at Thomson Cruises as a Cadet and, aside from year gaining experience in towage with Svitzer, James has spent his whole career at Thomson/Marella Cruises, working his way up to Staff Captain.
  • Declan Farren, who studied at Fleetwood Nautical College, began his career at sea with Princess Cruises. He then moved to Virgin Voyages, working his way up to Safety Officer.

Dave Newbury, the PLA’s Marine Pilotage Manager said:

“Marine Pilots board vessels in all weathers 24/7, 365 days a year, with vessels carrying everything from food, fuel and vehicles, to building materials and aggregate. Guiding these ships to and from their berths within the river Thames demands a high level of specialised training, skill and navigational awareness.

“Expanding our pool of available talent means we will be able to remain resilient and will also help increase the volume of freight delivered to this country via the river Thames.”