Port of London Authority welcomes four more trainee pilots


Four more experienced mariners have joined the Port of London Authority (PLA), to help the growing trade on the river Thames and ensure navigational safety for vessels visiting the UK’s busiest, joining a 123-strong team of PLA Marine Pilots.

The quartet of new appointees, who this week embarked on an intensive six-month course, are :

Hadyn Clarke started his career at Trinity House, studying at Fleetwood Nautical College. He worked for Disney Cruise Line before moving to Extreme E as Chief Officer. For a long time, Hadyn has aspired to become a PLA Pilot and is looking forward to working in familiar waters.

Ilyes Dali-Ahmed has a seagoing career that spans over a decade, working his way from Cadet to Safety Officer with Marella. He has voyaged around the world, visiting hundreds of destinations, and is looking forward to starting a new chapter with the PLA.

Sergio Panzini, graduated from Istituto Tecnico Nautico Giovanni Caboto, beginning his career on cargo ships as a Cadet. In 2013, he then moved into the cruise industry before completing a world tour in 2017, working his way up to Chief Officer. Pilotage has been a long-term aspiration of his and is now looking forward to being part of the PLA team.

Valerii Velichaiev started his career as a Deck Cadet on bulk carrier fleet, before graduating from Odessa National Maritime Academy in 2015. He worked his way up to Chief Officer and has gained plenty of seagoing experience around the world. Just before the war broke out in Ukraine, his homeland, Valerii gained his Master Unlimited CoC and now looks to fulfil his dream of becoming a pilot, providing his family with a sense of home and security in England.
The PLA pilotage department, currently providing a service level of 99.5%, has seen an 80% reduction in port wide delays since the turn of the year, with the team set to complete close to 11,000 jobs before November.

So far, over 100 simulator training sessions have taken place this year, which has helped 48 PLA Pilots to increase their authorisation limit.

Dave Newbury, PLA Marine Pilotage Manager said: “Expanding our pool of available talent means we will be able to maintain a resilient service for our customers and will also help expand the volume of freight delivered to this country by river. These four new recruits follow the six PLA trainee pilots already successfully appointed in 2023.”