BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 907
                                                                  Page  1


          ASSEMBLY THIRD READING
          AB 907 (Ma)
          As Amended  April 14, 2011
          Majority vote 

           TRANSPORTATION      11-0        APPROPRIATIONS      17-0        
           
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          |Ayes:|Bonnie Lowenthal,         |Ayes:|Fuentes, Harkey,          |
          |     |Achadjian, Blumenfield,   |     |Blumenfield, Bradford,    |
          |     |Bonilla, Buchanan, Eng,   |     |Charles Calderon, Campos, |
          |     |Furutani, Galgiani,       |     |Davis, Donnelly, Gatto,   |
          |     |Logue, Miller, Portantino |     |Hall, Hill, Lara,         |
          |     |                          |     |Mitchell, Nielsen, Smyth, |
          |     |                          |     |Solorio, Wagner           |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
           SUMMARY  :  Establishes new procedures for the reporting of ladder 
          or hoist equipment safety issues.  Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Authorizes a port agent to review the initial report of a 
            suspected ladder or hoist safety standard violation, and any 
            information gathered as part of the preliminary investigation. 
             If the port agent, at his or her discretion, concludes that 
            the ladder or hoist presents a potential danger to future 
            users, he/she is required to report the suspected safety 
            standard violation to organizations of pilots in expected next 
            ports of call, and authorizes the reporting to any national or 
            international organization concerned with pilot ladder or 
            pilot hoist safety.  

          2)Deletes obsolete references to inland pilots.  

          3)Deletes obsolete rate increase provisions.  

           EXISTING LAW  :  

          1)Establishes the Board of Pilot Commissioners (Board) for the 
            Bays of San Francisco, San Pablo, Suisun, and Monterey, to 
            license and regulate maritime pilots who guide vessels 
            entering or leaving those bays.  The seven members of the 
            Board are appointed by the Governor with the consent of the 
            Senate.  Prescribes pilotage rates for vessels and requires 
            vessels to pay a specified rate of bar pilotage through the 
            Golden Gate Bridge and into or out of the bays of San 








                                                                  AB 907
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            Francisco, San Pablo, Suisun, and Monterey, as well as the 
            inland ports of West Sacramento and Stockton.  

          2)Imposes a surcharge on pilotage fees to be deposited in the 
            Board's Special Fund and used to support the Board.  Imposes 
            other surcharges for pilot trainee programs, licensed pilots 
            continuing education programs, maintaining pilot boats, and 
            for pilot pension plans.  Requires the Board to adopt 
            standards and a training program for pilots and pilot trainees 
            and requires that any surcharge money collected be deposited 
            in separate and specific trainee and pilot funds.  

          3)Requires the Board, whenever suspected safety standard 
            violations concerning pilot hoists, pilot ladders, or the 
            proper rigging of pilot hoists or pilot ladders are reported, 
            to assign an investigator to personally inspect the equipment 
            for its compliance with specified safety standards.  

          4)Establishes a process for the reporting of unsafe equipment 
            and safety incidences.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations 
          Committee, negligible state costs, if any.  

           COMMENTS  :  Bar pilots and inland pilots are responsible for 
          steering an arriving vessel through the Golden Gate Bridge of 
          San Francisco Bay, the bay waters, and adjoining navigable 
          waters, which include San Pablo Bay, Monterey Bay, Suisun Bay, 
          the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, and its tributaries.  
          When a vessel approaches the "SF" buoy 12 miles west of the 
          Golden Gate Bridge, a bar pilot boards the ship and takes 
          navigational control.  It becomes the bar pilot's responsibility 
          to guide the ship to its berth.  The bar pilots provide service 
          to all types of vessels, from 100-foot tugs to 1,000-foot 
          supertankers.  The bar pilots move more than 9,000 vessels a 
          year, working closely with shipping agencies, tug companies, and 
          the United States Coast Guard (USCG) to deliver cargo and 
          passengers safely and on time.  Their scope of services is 
          unique in that it includes bar, bay, and inland river pilotage.  
          Inland pilots serve the tributaries of the bay; however, the 
          last inland pilot recently retired and thus references to them 
          are proposed for deletion.  

          Vessels navigating in and around San Francisco Bay require a 








                                                                  AB 907
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          ship captain that has local knowledge of the water, shores, 
          currents, tides and winds to safely pilot the ships across the 
          bar and into the bay.  Because bar pilots are required to 
          commandeer a vessel into and out of the bay, they are oftentimes 
          required to climb from their transport boat onto the vessel 
          during choppy currents using a pilot ladder and hoist.  In some 
          situations, the equipment is not in a state of good repair.  

          Current law requires the Executive Director of the Board or a 
          commission investigator to inspect pilot ladders and hoists for 
          compliance with the relevant safety standards of the USCG and 
          the International Maritime Organization.  If, in the preliminary 
          report, the equipment is found to be in violation, or likely 
          violation, of safety standards, the Executive Director must 
          immediately alert the USCG.  A written report must be submitted 
          to the incident review committee of the Board, which must remain 
          confidential until it is reported to the Board.  The committee 
          must then report its findings and recommendations to the Board.  


          According to the author, the problem is that the investigation, 
          findings, and recommendations relative to an unsafe ladder or 
          hoist are unlikely to be completed before the vessel with the 
          unsafe ladder passes on to future ports of call.  This puts the 
          safety of the pilots servicing those future ports at risk.  

          Under current law, the USCG has no responsibility to inform the 
          next port of the reported safety issue.  This bill will protect 
          pilots at other ports by requiring the port agent to report 
          suspected safety standard violations related to a pilot ladder 
          or hoist equipment to the pilot organizations at the next 
          expected port of call.  

           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Ed Imai / TRANS. / (916) 319-2093 


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