Port Hedland Pilots promote the IMO’s mandate for complete berth to berth Passage Planning, as outlined in the International Chamber of Shipping’s Bridge Procedure’s Guide. In order to assist mariners in their application of these principles Port Hedland Pilots provide the following guidance and resources. Please note that Port Hedland Pilots, and the Pilbara Ports Authority expect ship’s calling at Port Hedland to have been furnished with official, up to date charts Aus 53, 52 & 54, as well all other required documentation for proper planning of a passage into, and out of, the port.

If the vessel has fully operational IMO type approved ECDIS (Dual System) then requirements for paper charts may be waived by the Harbour Master upon submission of the ‘type’ approved certificate (There is no requirement for vessels that have already been granted a waiver to resubmit their ‘type’ approved certificate).

Information regarding up to date charts and corrections can be found at: http://www.hydro.gov.au

Waypoint Data

The following table contains waypoints for entry into the harbour via Beacon 30/31, Beacon 26, Beacon 15/16 and departure via the Main Shipping Channel.

Port Hedland Pilots provide this information as advice only and suggest that any person utilising the provided information verify it’s accuracy and conduct a proper and full planning of their passage through pilotage waters.

The routes established by these waypoints may differ during pilotage operations according to the conducting Pilots requirements. Where this is the case, the conducting Pilot will inform the Bridge Team of the Pilots intention during the Master-Pilot Exchange. Where the Bridge Team is in doubt, please consult with the conducting Pilot.

Arrival: Inbound Via Bcn 30-31

Waypoint NameLatitudeLongitudeRadius (m)
PBG20 10.000'S118 33.000'E0
Goldsworthy Approach20 12.202'S118 33.000'E1852
Bcn 30-3120 14.636'S118 34.149'E0
Bcn 36-3720 16.586'S118 35.072'E0
Spoil Bank Bend20 17.544'S118 35.525'E2500
Hunt Pt20 18.344'S118 34.623'E0

Arrival: Inbound Via Bcn 26-28

Waypoint NameLatitudeLongitudeRadius (m)
PBG20 10.000'S118 33.000'E0
Spoil Ground Buoy20 12.600'S118 33.000'E1852
Bcn 2620 13.638'S118 33.195'E1852
Bcn 30-3120 14.636'S118 34.149'E1852
Bcn 36-3720 16.586'S118 35.072'E0
Spoil Bank Bend20 17.544'S118 35.525'E2500
Hunt Pt20 18.344'S118 34.623'E0

Arrival: Inbound Via Bcn 15-16

Waypoint NameLatitudeLongitudeRadius (m)
PBG +2NM20 08.000'S118 33.000'E0
Foxtrot 220 09.300'S118 33.000'E1852
Channel Entry Bcn 14-1620 09.495'S118 30.040'E750
Bcn 15-1620 10.349'S118 30.548'E0
Bcn 19-2020 11.737'S118 31.374'E1852
Bcn 30-3120 14.636'S118 34.149'E0
Bcn 36-3720 16.586'S118 35.072'E0
Spoil Bank Bend20 17.544'S118 35.525'E2500
Hunt Pt20 18.344'S118 34.623'E0

Departure: Outbound Via Main Shipping Channel

Waypoint NameLatitudeLongitudeRadius (m)
Hunt Point20 18.344'S118 34.623'E0
Spoil Bank20 17.544'S118 35.525'E2500
Bcn 36-3720 16.586'S118 35.072'E0
Bcn 30-3120 14.636'S118 34.149'E1852
Bcn 19-2020 11.737'S118 31.374'E1852
Bcn 15-1620 10.366'S118 30.558'E0
Bcn C11-C1220 08.023'S118 29.164'E0
Bcn C9-C1020 06.427'S118 28.214'E1852
Bcn C820 04.619'S118 25.566'E0
Bcn C720 04.326'S118 25.135'E1852
Bcn C620 03.810'S118 25.106'E0
Bcn C3-C420 02.260'S118 25.018'E1852
Bcn C1-C219 59.557'S118 26.295'E0
Final Reporting Point19 56.799'S118 27.597'E0

Tide Required For Entry

Pilotage Passage Plans


The following information is applicable to all Arrival and Departure Pilotage operations in Port Hedland.
Port Hedland Pilots provide the following information as advice only to Master’s and Ship’s crews.
While all care is taken to maintain the accuracy and validity of the following information, any person navigating within the Port should take all possible precautions applicable to the prevailing circumstances and conditions, and adhere to all appropriate International, National and Local requirements, law’s and codes.

  • Port Hedland Pilots promote a smoke free workplace and request that ALL ship’s crew refrain from smoking within the wheelhouse whilst a vessel is under Pilotage.
  • Port Hedland Pilots request that all bridge team members and officers monitor and confirm all helm and engine orders and the vessel’s position at all times.
  • Port Hedland Pilots request that any doubts and errors are immediately brought to the Pilot’s attention.
  • The port’s channels are very narrow and require consistent, accurate steering for safe passage.
  • Port Hedland Pilots request that prior to arrival and/or departure, accurate berthing and sailing drafts are passed to the Pilbara Ports Authority (via your ship’s agent).

Prior to Pilot Boarding

Test all equipment and machinery before the Pilot boards to ensure that it is all in working order. This includes:

  • Main engine ahead & astern
  • Steering in all modes including Non Follow Up
  • Have 2 motors running
  • All Navigation equipment including Radars, Echo Sounder & ECDIS (if fitted) running
  • Whistle operational and tested in Forward and Aft positions
  • Gyro error determined
  • Covers removed from bridge wing repeaters, controls and instruments
  • Main engine and rudder indicators, in all positions, are to be checked. At night, these indicators are to be adequately illuminated.
  • Bridge front windows to be cleaned (fresh water washed) of salt spray or cargo residues.

Anchors are to be made ready for emergency release with lashings removed, on the brake and out of gear. For safety, the chain stopper bars (guillotines) are to remain in the closed position.

    1. All cape size vessels are to have their outboard (non wharf side) gangway rigged at deck level, ready for quick deployment when all fast. Port Hedland VTS will inform the vessel which side alongside.
    2. Port Hedland VTS will inform all other vessels if they are required to rig a gangway.
    3. Gangways are to be rigged and ready prior to the vessel departing the anchorage. Due to the danger posed to crew members working over water, gangway preparation while underway is to be avoided.
    4. The gangway is to be:
      • In good condition
      • Safe
      • Clean & free of grease
      • With the lower platform set at the correct angle for a lowered gangway
      • Safety nets, where fitted, are not to interfere with gangway operation
Mooring Lines

The Pilbara Port Authority require that all mooring lines be in good condition. Spliced or damaged mooring lines are not acceptable and will be rejected.

Moorings lines should be prepared on deck prior to berthing. Have heaving lines available in case the use of a shore messengers is required. Shore messengers will generally be required when high water prevents a lines boat from moving under a wharf or in cases where the spring lines a required to cross over an intermediate dolphin.


Arriving vessels are to monitor VHF Ch 12 at all times. Additionally, when Pilot Transfer operations are occurring, VHF Ch 8 is also to be monitored.

VHF Working Channels:

Port Hedland VTS12
Helicopter & Pilot Launch8
Pilot Working Channels09, 10, 13, 15, 68, 72, 74

Ships are not to use these frequencies for ship to ship communications or for internal working.

Berthing Drafts

Please ensure that Port Hedland VTS has the vessel’s correct berthing drafts. If the vessel changes its berthing drafts at anytime, Port Hedland VTS must be informed. Drafts can be sent to Port Hedland VTS via the ship’s agent, or directly using VHF Ch 12

Pilot Boarding

Please see details under the Pilot Transfer section of this page

Bridge Team Conduct

Bridge Resource Management

In accordance with STCW ’95 Sect A VIII/2 Part 3-1:49 & 50 & ISM Code:

“The bridge team is to continuously monitor that the ship’s progress is proceeding according to the agreed passage plan and immediately bring to the attention of the Pilot any unscheduled deviations or non standard operation procedures.”

Port Hedland Pilots promote the use of Bridge Resource Management, closed loop communication and request the cooperation of all ship’s crew members in the planning, execution, monitoring and appraisal of all Pilotage operations. To this end ships Masters are directed towards the AMSA document, Marine Notice 11/2016.

AMSA Marine Notices can be found here.

Bridge Team Responsibilities
  1. The Master has the conduct ('con') of the vessel until formally taken over by the Pilot. The presence of a Pilot on board your vessel, or a Pilot on the bridge, does not imply that the Pilot has the legal conduct or control of your vessel. The control of the ship rests with the Master until a formal agreement has been reached between the Master and the Pilot; usually after the Master/Pilot exchange (MPX) has been completed.
  2. The Pilot will not take the ‘con’ of the vessel until the Master/Pilot Exchange has been completed. The Pilot will officially request the ‘con’ from the Master once the Pilot is happy that all is in order.
  3. The ship’s Master always has legal responsibility for their vessel. The pilot’s presence on the bridge is as part of the navigation team and does not relieve the captain of his or her legal responsibilities for overall navigation, conduct and control of his vessel.
  4. It is the Pilot’s expectation that they will work with a competent, professional and well-rested bridge team that is suitable to work together with the Pilot, for the safe navigation of the vessel and for the successful completion of the pilotage.
  5. Port Hedland Pilots promote a smoke free workplace (as required by Australian law) and request that ALL ship’s crew refrain from smoking within the wheelhouse whilst a vessel is under Pilotage.
  6. If the Master is aware of, or suspects any deficiency in the crew or equipment, then the Pilot must be informed immediately.
  7. The fact that the Pilot is on the bridge does not release the Master from his legal duty to monitor the vessel’s progress.
  8. Port Hedland Pilots acknowledge that despite an extremely rigorous training program, Pilots may make errors. However, there is no tolerance for errors that result in accidents, personal injury or oil pollution. Therefore, Port Hedland Pilots insist that the Master and OOW (the bridge team) work with the Pilot to provide suitable backup and cross checks for the Pilot, so that the pilotage can be executed with the highest levels of safety.
  9. The Pilot expects that the following tasks be carried out by the bridge team, during the pilotage:
    • The Master & OOW are to check that the Pilot is requesting the correct helm and/or course.
    • The Master & OOW are to check that every helm order is correctly carried out.
    • The Master & OOW are to check that the main engine order is followed correctly, and that the engine responds accordingly.
    • The Master & OOW are to continuously check that the vessel is in the correct position, according to the passage plan as agreed to by the Master and the Pilot.
    • The Pilot is to be informed immediately if the helm, main engine or vessel’s position is not correct.
    • If the bridge team become uncertain as to the intentions of the Pilot or are concerned for the safety of the vessel, they must inform the Pilot of their uncertainty or concern.
    • The Pilot must be informed if clearing distances (forward or aft) of the vessel, when swinging, are less than expected.
    • The Pilot may deem it necessary to have the steering flat manned during the channel transit. 
    • The Pilot will request the OOW to inform the Pilot when the vessel is a specified distance from all course alterations. 

Harbour Towage Operations

Port Hedland harbour is equipped with a number of powerful and highly manoeuvrable tugs. The larger of these tugs is capable of exerting bollard pulls of 85t. While conducting Indirect Towage Operations, tonnages in excess of 100t may be generated.

It is very important, therefore, that vessel towing fittings are in a sound condition and properly marked with their maximum Safe Working Loads. Accurate diagrams of the vessels mooring arrangements are to be made available on the Bridge for the Pilots reference.

Handling Tow Lines
    1. Messenger or heaving lines sent to tugs must never be fitted with additional weights. Only towage approved line weights may be used.
    1. While making fast and letting go tug towlines, rope stoppers shall be used to prevent the tow line from slipping while the tow line eye is being secured. Under no circumstances are vessels crew to stand on the tugs tow line. Tug tow lines are heavy and severe injury may result when body parts are used to take their weight.

    1. Do not drop towlines or messenger lines when casting off tugs. Tow lines are to be controlled by using the messenger line, turned around the bitts.

  1. The Officer in charge is to maintain constant visual contact with both the winch operator on board the vessel and the tug. If, at anytime, there exists a danger of entanglement in the messenger line, the Officer is to clearly signal 'Stop' to the tug crew.
  2. While tow lines are fast, all crew members are to remain well clear of the lines. Tow lines may suddenly come under high tension and can result in severe or fatal injury to those nearby in case of tow line failure.




Port Authority Weather Data


Helicopter Transfer

Port Hedland Pilots request that the vessel assess their ability to receive pilot transfers by helicopter. Appropriate checklists and documentation can be obtained via the ship’s agent or from the Pilbara Ports Authority website. Please see links below:

  1. Have the firefighting party and equipment rigged and ready in a safe position at least 1 hatch clear of the helicopter landing hatch.
  2. Have a highly visible (illuminated at night) large windsock rigged in a position well clear of the landing hatch. The windsock should be at a suitable height so as to provide a clear indication of relative wind. At night have all deck and accommodation lights on.
  3. Keep all crew out of the flight path of the helicopter. The helicopter will land & take off into the wind.
  4. For ships with cranes, have the relative wind as close as possible to 90&deg to port/starboard (on the beam).
  5. No crew are to approach the helicopter when it is on deck. The Pilot is able to find their way clear of the hatch and does not require assistance until they are well clear of the helicopter area.
  6. No crew members are to walk on the deck surrounding the helicopter hatch while the helicopter is approaching, transferring pilot or departing.
  7. Have all obstructions on and around the hatch painted in a high visibility colour (white or yellow).
  8. Have safe & convenient access available from the hatch lid to the deck. This cannot be behind the landed helicopter (i.e. not on downwind side of hatch).
  9. Be aware of the following relevant publications:

Pilot Launch Transfer

Pilots will board inbound vessels at the designated Pilot Boarding Ground or at a location advised by Port Hedland VTS.

Vessels are to provide an excellent lee (shelter) for pilot boarding with a vessel speed between 6-8 knots.

Vessels should maintain a listening watch on VHF Channel 12 and 08 for instructions from the Pilot Launch.

Vessel Masters attention is drawn to the International Chamber of Shipping guidance to ensure that their vessel pilot boarding arrangements are in compliance with SOLAS requirements:

Attention is also drawn to the following Australian Regulations outlined in Marine Notice 19/2015:


Port Hedland Pilots require that when conducting pilot transfers by Pilot Launch, a pilot ladder be rigged as follows:

  • On the lee side;
  • 2m above the water line;
  • With two man ropes;
  • A heaving line for Pilot’s bag;
  • Well illuminated at night;
  • Tested by a Ship's Officer;
  • When combination arrangements are in use, the accommodation ladder shall be secured to the ship's side.

Failure to meet the above requirements may result in the pilot being unable to safely board the vessel and may delay a vessels arrival into the Port.

Port Hedland Pilots require that pilot ladders be rigged in accordance with IMO/IMPA Guidelines. Please see below for guidance:



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