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Port Of Auckland’s Newest Marine Pilot Raising The Bar

Published: Thu 16 May 2024 02:57 PM
When Edwin Ng isn't piloting ships through the Waitematā Harbour, he's making waves in international powerlifting competitions.
Ed has been competing in powerlifting for a decade and despite his busy schedule as a Port of Auckland marine pilot, his dedication to powerlifting is rock solid.Ed with some of his powerlifting medals (Photo Supplied)
"The training demands a lot of time and energy, especially with shift work," Ed says. "But powerlifting is more than just competition. It's about the discipline, dedication, and the sense of achievement I gain from each session and successful lift."
His most recent success was at the International Powerlifting Federation’s World Classic & Equipped Masters Powerlifting Championships in Mongolia last year, where he won two silvers and a bronze.
Ed's true passion is ship handling which stems from his time as a seafarer. Starting as a deck cadet on a container ship at 17, he gradually climbed the ranks, earning his masters licence aged 32. He joined Port of Auckland 11 years ago after relocating from Singapore to New Zealand with his husband and has recently obtained his marine pilot’s license.
"During my seafaring days, I was always fascinated by pilots and their job," he says.
Ships exceeding 500 gross tonnage entering the Port of Auckland require a marine pilot. Pilots undergo intensive training and have expert local knowledge of the channel depths, currents and navigational hazards. They board a moving ship from a pilot boat and help it navigate into port. It is a dangerous and demanding job with pilots working round-the-clock and in all weather conditions. The Port of Auckland marine pilot team plays a crucial role in the port’s daily operations.
“Every job is very challenging and there is no margin for error,” says Ed. “Each ship handles differently due to its unique design, size, propulsion system, and response to environmental factors such as wind, currents and waves. Handling these vessels requires utmost precision and adaptability. Even a slight miscalculation or misjudgment can have significant consequences.
"Ship handling is akin to an art form – never static, always evolving," he says. "It's unlike anything I've experienced before, but rigorous training has equipped me to tackle diverse challenges with confidence and precision."
It is only when a ship is securely docked that Ed can relax. "Once we're safely in port, I transition into a tour guide role, informing the captain and crew about local amenities."
Focus, discipline and dedication are all qualities Ed uses both on and off the water.

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