Piloting and pilotage, in general, are mandatory for every vessel entering or leaving ports and/or navigating through channels, respectively. The work performed by the pilot is called “piloting”, and the work performed in navigation of fiords and channels is called “pilotage”
For the vessels with Chilean flags, piloting and pilotage, in ports or channels, is mandatory, except when its captain has the category of “Exemption of the use of Channel Pilot to Navigate routes”, granted by the National Maritime Authority.
The channel pilots are in Valparaíso and the piloting advisory is requested to the Dirección de Seguridad y Operaciones Marítimas —DIRSOMAR— (Service of Piloting and Pilotage), through a Vessel Agency, and must be requested no less than 72 hours in advance prior to the boarding of the pilots.
Prior to the requirement of a channel pilot vessels coming from foreign ports or high seas, must inform their “pre-arrival”, via Internet on the website http://www.directemar.cl, on the link “Atención a la Nave”.
a) Piloting in the Strait of Magellan
The piloting in the Strait of Magellan is mandatory for all vessels. However, some exceptions apply in the use of channel pilots in the section between the western mouth of the Strait of Magellan and Punta Arenas, as long as the ship is crossing from ocean to ocean and that it hasn’t navigated or it is navigating, before or after this section, in Chilean waters, as well as arrived in ports of the Republic.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, and considering the ecologic frailty of marine parks and conservation areas in the surroundings, it is highly recommended to request pilot services for the section mentioned above, especially when it comes to chemical, gas or oil tankers, as well as passenger vessels and those ships whose crew do not speak Spanish and/or English.
b) Navigation through the Paso Tortuoso
The captains of the vessels and commanders of tankers that navigate through the Paso Tortuoso – with or without the assistance of channel pilots – must adopt the following precautions:
1) Inform the corresponding Station of Maritime Traffic Control —Port Captaincy in Punta Arenas or Faro Félix—, the estimated time that the vessel will navigate through the Paso Tortuoso.
2) Be in permanent alert in the international safety frequencies VHF. Channel 16 and channel 70. Channel 16 broadcasts a safety message, in Spanish first and English after, one hour before arriving to the Cabo Crosstide, informing: name of the vessel, position at the moment, crossing direction, estimated time of the crossing. This information must be repeated every 15 minutes until the crossing is finished.
3) Navigate maintaining starboard side of the channel, whenever possible and without sacrificing safety.
4) Give priority to the transit of super vessels such as VLCC ships, or larger than 200 meters in length, informed by the safety signals of the Maritime Authority.
5) Keep navigation lights on at all times.
6) Consider instructions and recommendations from the Course of the Chilean Coasts, Volume IV, “Estrecho de Magallanes y Aguas Adyacentes”.
c) Stations for Pilots transfers: the vessels that navigate the Strait of Magellan from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, will board pilots at the transfer station of bahía Posesión (52° 22',5 S; 69° 02',0 W).
Those vessels that navigate the Strait of Magellan from the Pacific to the Atlantic, will board pilots at the transfer station of:
-Ancud (41° 48',6 S; 73° 50',4 W) o
-Laitec (43° 15',8 S; 73° 38',4 W).
It has been decided that any vessel carrying a foreign flag and comes from the Antarctic or Atlantic and must head , through Beagle Channel, to the Strait of Magellan or to a Chilean port, or vice versa, will board or disembark, while navigating, channel pilots to begin and finish the pilotage in the following transfer stations:
1) Vessels coming from or going to the Antarctic Continent. Area in Paso Richmond delimited by the following geographic coordinates:
Lat. 55° 07’ 30" S, Long. 66° 34’ 00" W.
Lat. 55° 07’ 30" S, Long. 66° 32’ 10" W.
Lat. 55° 08’ 30" S, Long. 66° 32’ 10" W.
Lat. 55° 08’ 30" S, Long. 66° 34’ 00" W
2) Vessels coming from or going to the Atlantic Ocean. Area in Channel Beagle delimited by the following geographic coordinates:
Lat. 55° 20’ 30" S, Long. 66° 41’ 45" W.
Lat. 55° 20’ 30" S, Long. 66° 40’ 00" W.
Lat. 55° 21’ 30" S, Long. 66° 40’ 00" W.
Lat. 55° 21’ 30" S, Long. 66° 41’ 45" W.
3) Likewise, the following Pilot Transfer Station has been established, in case of bad weather, complementing the station mentioned in the previous paragraph:
Rada Picton area, located South and 3 cables of the Islote Reparo, delimited by the following geographic coordinates:
Lat. 55° 03’ 20" S, Long. 66° 48’ 06" W.
Lat. 55° 03’ 20" S, Long. 66° 49’ 50" W.
Lat. 55° 04’ 20" S, Long. 66° 49’ 50" W.
Lat. 55° 04’ 20" S, Long. 66° 48’ 06" W.
4) Vessels coming from or going to the Antarctic Continent; or coming from or going to the Pacific Ocean. Point located in:
Lat. 55° 56’ 44" S, Long. 67°12’ 30" W.