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Pilots are officially the best.

LIVERPOOL'S pilots are now playing in the world premier league of maritime services.

It is the first English pilot service to be awarded the International Standard for Pilots Services (ISPO).

The citation was presented by David Lloyd, of Lloyd's Register, the famous leading maritime accreditation agency, to Iolo Thomas, chairman of Liverpool Pilots.

The award was made at a special VIP event at Liverpool town hall yesterday.

Guests of honour included the Lord Mayor, Cllr Frank Prendergast, who was earlier shown the pilot's own training simulator in Birkenhead and given a river tour on the service's newest motor launch Skewer.

Other guests present were Louise Ellman, Riverside MP and chair of the parliamentary transport select committee, and Gary Hodgson, Peel Ports Mersey chief executive.

Eric van Dijk, president of the Dutch Pilot Organisation, also attended.

Rotterdam pilots began the ISPO award.

Mr van Dijk said: "This means that Liverpool is now playing in the world premiership of pilotage. It is all about quality.

"I first came to Liverpool as a deck officer on the Dutch Shell tanker Acuila 35 years ago and always felt very comfortable and safe in the hands of Liverpool pilots."

Mr Thomas added: "This award means Liverpool is of the highest international standing, which makes me very proud."

Liverpool has one of the UK's biggest pilot services with 48 pilots and three trainees.


TOP CLASS: Eric van Dijk, left, David Lloyd, Iolo Thomas and Lord Mayor Cllr Frank Prendergast at the town hall
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 4, 2012
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