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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: January 14, 2015 09:53 AM
From: Senator Thomas J. McGarrigle
To: All Senate members
Subject: Limited Liability for State Licensed Maritime Pilots
I plan to reintroduce SB 1451 from 2013 that will establish limited liability for maritime pilots licensed by the Navigation Commission for the Delaware River and its Navigable Tributaries. A licensed pilot or apprentice providing piloting services will not be liable for more than $5000 for damage or loss caused by their error, omission, fault or neglect in the performance of their services. The limitation will not apply to damage or loss that arises because of willful misconduct or reckless disregard for safety on the part of a pilot or apprentice. Additionally, the legislation will not exempt a vessel or its owner or operator from liability for damage or loss caused by the vessel.

Currently, ten of the twenty-four coastal states have some form of statutory mechanism to limit or allocate the civil liability of licensed maritime pilots. These statutory provisions limiting or allocating liability for pilot negligence: (1) are common and important components of a state’s comprehensive pilotage regulatory system; (2) are economically efficient; (3) do not eliminate a third party’s ability to recover damages resulting from pilot negligence; and (4) are not a disincentive to professionalism in pilot performance.

The purpose of this legislation is to stimulate and preserve maritime commerce on the pilotage grounds of the Commonwealth by maintaining efficient, cost effective commercial traffic to and from our ports. This is essential to the economic viability of the Commonwealth’s maritime commerce and serves the public interests.

Introduced as SB606