Former Leeuwin captain joins Bunbury Port as newest pilot

Shannon VerhagenSouth Western Times
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Captain Sarah Robinson is training up to be the newest pilot at the Bunbury Port.
Camera IconCaptain Sarah Robinson is training up to be the newest pilot at the Bunbury Port. Credit: Shannon Verhagen

After spending two decades travelling the world on ships, captain Sarah Robinson has docked in Bunbury for an exciting new chapter in her career.

The Wales-born master mariner is the latest marine pilot to join the team at the Bunbury Port and will swap sailing the Leeuwin – which she captained for the past 11.5 years – for piloting ships weighing thousands of tonnes.

After returning to college to get the extra qualifications, she started her pilot training three weeks ago, getting to know the geography of the port, the size of the ships and how they manoeuvre.

I’ve been looking to do this job for quite a few years now. It’s been a long time in the making so I’m eager to get into it and get involved.

Captain Robinson

Harbour master and senior marine pilot Les Turner said Capt. Robinson stood out among almost 200 applicants for her work ethic, knowledge and training background.

Captain Sarah Robinson is training up to be Bunbury Port's newest pilot.
Camera IconCaptain Sarah Robinson is training up to be Bunbury Port's newest pilot. Credit: Shannon Verhagen

And once qualified, she will be in the thick of it, launching the pilot boats, climbing on board ships entering and exiting the port and working with the crews to guide them in and out of the port safely.

If we’re talking a ship that’s going out through that channel that weighs about 90,000 tonnes, there’s a lot of ship to move and a lot of ship to control, so it’s quite a bit of responsibility.

Captain Turner

“But you’re not doing it by yourself, you’re doing it with the master and the crew and they’re all working with the pilot to make sure we get the ship and protect the environment and the port’s infrastructure.”

Capt. Turner said it was a high pressure role and was confident Capt. Robinson would make a great addition to the marine pilot team.

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