Pilot boarded the vessel at CHANGJIANKOU. Vessel proceeded under pilotage without incident till almost 0.8 Nm off V/L’s intended berth. Master noted that Pilot was fairly agitated & nervous.
On reaching the intended berth, ship was informed to wait approximately 0.5 Nm South off the berth to allow two vessels that were ready to sail to cast off and turn around to proceed South through the river.
The already agitated pilot started communicating directly with the two vessels who had embarked pilots, one of whose dialect was not clearly understood by this ship’s pilot.
Due to misunderstanding between this ship’s pilot and the pilot of the second sailing vessel which initially communicated that they would turn / swing around and pass this vessel port to port, with this ship facing North and the berths on the port side, eventually due to the existing strong current of around 4 Knots, with an ebbing tide, this ship found itself off to Port and closer to berth than intended, making the passing off port to port with the sailing vessel almost impossible.
Eventually this ship ended up approximately 150m of the berth and too close for comfort with the sailing vessel, after she cast off and the current catching her. To stop our headway of 1.5-2.0 knots and was forced to drop both anchors to avoid running into the sailing vessel, who by this time had started making slight headway away from us and finally ended up passing us stbd to stbd against what was initially planned.
Fortunately, this ship had a near miss with the CPA/ Distance between V/L’s down to approximately 70 mtrs. It was later understood to be the communication issue between the two pilots, also because of the attitude and panicky behavior of the pilot on board this ship, which clouded his judgement and efficiency.
It was the Master’s decision to drop two anchors, that saved the collision between the ships. Operations were delayed by more than 1 hour to enable picking up of two anchors before berthing.
This is to highlight the importance of prudent planning and subsequent communication of ship plan and contingency measures, when necessary to all concerned parties, especially among the bridge team.