A PORT of London Authority pilot has died in an accident while boarding the cargo ship Sunmi.
The tragic incident occurred on Wednesday shortly after 6pm in Gravesend Reach as the pilot was boarding the ship which was bound for Spain.
A statement from the the Port of London Authority confirming the incident says that "PLA teams on duty, the emergency services and the RNLI did all they could subsequent to the accident, but tragically the pilot passed away."
PLA chief executive, Robin Mortimer, commented:
“Our deepest condolences are with our colleagues’ family and friends at this very difficult time. We have been in touch with the family and are offering whatever support we can.”
The UK Maritime Pilots' Association identified the victim as being Gordon Coates. Their chairman John Pearn said in a statement:
"I am sure you will join with me and the UKMPA Executive Committee in passing on our sincere condolences. Our thoughts are very much with his family, friends and colleagues at the Port of London Authority during this tragic time."
Sunmi returned to Tilbury following the accident which is being investigated by the PLA and the Marine Accident Investigation Branch.
Sunmi and the PLA pilot cutter Patrol pictured yesterday, a day after the accident.