An investigation is now underway after a Port of London Authority pilot was killed while boarding a ship at Gravesend Reach on the River Thames.

The Port of London Authority (PLA) has confirmed that one of its pilots has died while boarding a cargo ship in Gravesend Reach in Kent.

The ship pilot has been named by the United Kingdom Maritime Pilots’ Association (UKMPA) as Gordon Coates.

On the UKMPA website, the association’s chairman, John Pearn, wrote: “It is with great sadness that I must inform you that one of our colleagues, Gordon Coates, a London Pilot, was involved in an incident whilst boarding a vessel in the Thames on Wednesday evening. Sadly he passed away shortly afterwards.”

“I am sure you will join with me and the UKMPA Executive Committee in passing on our sincere condolences. Our thoughts are very much with his family, friends and colleagues at the Port of London Authority during this tragic time,” added Pearn.

Coates sustained serious injuries while boarding the cargo ship, Sunmi at around 6.10pm on 5 October, 2016.

Despite efforts by the emergency services to save him, he subsequently died.

Both the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) and the PLA have begun an investigation into the fatal accident.

No details about the nature of the accident have been released.

The PLA has issued a statement about the incident.

“The Port of London Authority (PLA) has confirmed that last night (Wednesday, 5 October 2016) at around 6.10 pm one of its pilots was involved in an accident while boarding a ship, Sunmi, in Gravesend Reach,” said the statement.

“PLA teams on duty, the emergency services and the RNLI did all they could subsequent to the accident, but tragically the pilot passed away,” it said.

The chief executive of PLA, Robin Mortimer, said: “Our deepest condolences are with our colleagues’ family and friends at this very difficult time.

“We have been in touch with the family and are offering whatever support we can,” he concluded.

The Sunmi is a 1993-built cargo ship, registered in Nassau in The Bahamas. It is operated by the Norwegian firm Misje Rederi.