North-Western Basin Branch News

Celebrations marking St Petersburg pilot service foundation

On July 6, the North-Western Basin Branch took part in a solemn event – ceremony of laying a wreath to the stepping stone on the Smolensky Cemetery in memory of the 309th anniversary of the creation of Emperor Peter the Great St Petersburg Pilots Society.

The solemn ceremony involved representatives of the North-Western Basin Branch and other pilot organizations of St Petersburg, veterans of the pilot service: Wilhelm Ivanov, Yuri Utusikov and Vladimir Chiryatyev, as well as new generation of pilot dynasties.

The St Petersburg pilot service emerged in 1709 simultaneously with the foundation of the city. By order of Emperor Peter the Great pilots were sought out among the most experienced residents of the Neva embouchure, the coastline of the Gulf of Finland, Novaya Ladoga, Lodeynoye Pole and Shlisselburg, who were well-grounded in navigation.

Since its creation the pilot service has been subordinated first to the Navy, then to the Admiralty Board, which supervised the roadstead and the fairway, records of commercial vessels calling at ports and leaving them, the amount of monetary allowances to pilots and establishing payment for pilotage.

The first regulatory instrument for pilots – the Instruction – was developed by Rear Admiral Kornelius Croys in 1710. The Instruction established pilots’ rights and obligations, administrative subordination to a senior pilot and obligatory corporative accommodation.

The first Regulation on Pilot Crew of St Petersburg Port was approved in 1836.

In May 1884 the organization was named as the St Petersburg Pilots Society.

The issues related to pilotage and its legislative framework were finally settled in 1890 when materials for the General Regulations on Russian Sea Pilots had been prepared.

Following the results of the 1896 reform the first private Statute of Association of the St Petersburg Pilots Society published.

In April 1909 the St Petersburg Pilots Society marked the 200th anniversary with great dignity and respect. The Society got the honorary right to be referred to as “Emperor Peter the Great St Petersburg Pilots Society”.