Under Decree 188/19, which was published in the Official Gazette, the Argentinian Government has exempted ships from the pilot requirement during entrance and exit maneuvers in Ports Buenos Aires, Bahia Blanca and La Plata and rivers Paraná and Uruguay.
To be exempted under the amended pilot regulations, the vessels must fly under the Argentinian flag and not exceed 140 meters length and have a draft of up to 6.10 meters (20 feet).
Before this amendment was introduced, domestic and foreign vessels were required to bring a pilot to enter and moor at Ports Buenos Aires, La Plata and Bahia Blanca and rivers Paraná and Uruguay.
Groups of barges tied up together (convoys) and pushed by a tug have also been excepted from the pilot requirement.
The government explained that the amendment will result in an advantage as it will reduce the costs of operation for the argentine fleet and it improve its competitiveness in the market.
Many years went by since the last time the pilot services regulations were amended. Even though this service is meant to be public, it is provided by private professionals. As from 1992 pilots act grouped in private pilotage companies, offering their services directly to shipowners/agents, even though they still remain under the control of the Coastguard Pilotage and Seafarers Department (Departamento de Practicaje y Persona Embarcado, Prefectuara Naval Argentina).
Pilotage is compulsory for all foreign vessels in all zones (rivers, streams, passes, estuaries, channels, ports) and licensed pilots must be employed.
It is expected that national pilot entities comment on the subject soon.
Information in this newsletter was obtained from the Argentine Official Gazette, Decree No 188/2019 from March 12, 2019, and https://www.infobae.com/politica/2019/03/13/para-reducir-costos-el-gobierno-introdujo-cambios-en-la-regulacion-de-la-navegacion/.