As from 1.1.92, whilst pilots still remain under the control of the Coastguard Pilotage Deparment (Dirección del Servicio de Practicaje y Pilotaje, Prefectura Naval Argentina) as per decree 2694/91, the now act in a private capacity, offering their services to the shipowner, either individually or in association with others. The shipowner therefore is now free to employ any pilot he may care to choose.
Pilotage is compulsory for all foreign vessels in all zones (rivers, streams, passes, estuaries, channels, ports) and licensed pilots must be employed. Argentine flag ships and foreign flag ships belonging to Argentine Shipowners (Under decree 1772/91) must also comply, although they can opt for certain exemptions which are mentioned below. In all zones the following exemptions apply as to compulsory employment of pilots.
Ships and convoys belonging to the Argentine Navy or Coastguard.
Ships, convoys and dregders under foreign flag, that due to international treaties may sail without a local Pilot or with a foreign one.
Non propelled integrated river convoys under any tow system provided drafts of the component units do not exceed limiting exemption lengths and draughts.
Argentine dredgers, dump barges, buoyage tending craft, without limits to draft and/or length.
Argentine vessels (or foreign vessels covered by decree 1772/91) under command of an argentine Master who must have made 12 entrances and 12 departures during the previous 24 months.
Vessels involved in scientific investigation, technical or others tasks, subject to the criteria of the Coastguard.
River convoys under Argentine flag, provided their overall length and draft do not surpass exemption limits.
Within ports, provided a ship is to only shift alongside berth with its own lines, without use of tugs or own propulsion and subject to the authorization from the coastguard provided there is no risk towards themselves and third parties.
In between Zona Común and the nearby lightening zone only Argentine flag vessels are exempted from taking on a Pilot.
All vessels exempted from carrying a Pilot, may request their services if so desired, and are thus to comply with all regulations of this service.
Pilotage zones are divided between rivers, sea Approaches and ports as follows:
River Plate: This zone is delimited towards the East by an imaginary line joining Punta Rasa, Argentina, and the Recalada Lightship, thereon towards Punta del Este, Uruguay.