European Maritime Safety Agency publishes an overview of maritime casualties in 2017

Photo credit: EMSA
Photo credit: EMSA

The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has published its annual review of maritime casualties. It has reported a total of 3,301 incidents through 2017. The report reveals that the number of very serious casualties has continuously decreased since 2014 with 74 reported in 2017. A total of 61 people were injured and 61 ships were lost. During the 2011-2017 period, 405 accidents led to a total of 683 lives lost, which represents a decreasing trend.

The report contains statistics on marine casualties and incidents that: involve ships flying a flag of one of the EU Member States; occur within EU Member States’ territorial sea and internal waters as defined in UNCLOS; or involve other substantial interests of the EU Member States.

Key points
– With 3301 occurrences reported in 2017, the total number of occurrences recorded in EMCIP has grown to over 20,000. This amounts to an average of 3315 casualties per year over the past four years.
– The number of very serious casualties has continuously decreased since 2014 with 74 reported in 2017. A similar improvement was noted for the number of ships lost, with 12 reports as compared with 41 in 2014.
– During the 2011-2017 period, 405 accidents led to a total of 683 lives lost, which represents a significant decrease since 2015. Crew have been the most affected category of victims with 555 fatalities.
– In 2017, there were 1018 injured persons reported. This number has remained relatively steady since 2014, at around 1000 per year. Again, crew represent the main category of persons injured at sea (5,329 during the 2011-2017 period).

Casualties per ship type
– During the 2011-2017 period, general cargo ships were the main category involved (42.5%), followed by passenger ships (22.6%). While the number of cargo ships and service ships stabilised and the number of passenger ships and other ships slightly decreased in 2017, a continued increase was noted in relation to fishing vessels.
– More than 1500 cargo ships were involved in accidents that resulted in 25 fatalities in 2017, the lowest number since the EU legislation is in place.
– With a total of almost 120, fishing vessels remains the category of ship with the highest number of ships lost over the 2011-2017 period. However, the number of fishing vessels lost dropped from 21 to six in two years’ time. – Moreover, there was a decrease from 60 to 13 lives lost in 2017.
– Almost half of the casualties that occurred onboard a passenger vessel involved ferries. While no ships were lost in 2017, the number of fatalities has also continued to decrease with less than five fatalities.
– No service ships were lost in 2017. While the number of fatalities remained identical, fewer injuries were reported.
– 200 ‘other types’ of ships have been involved in a marine accident. Despite the limited number of such ships, this resulted in an increase in fatalities and injuries, mainly on leisure boats with engines or sails.

Casualties per cause
– Half of the casualties were related to issues of a navigational nature, such as contacts, grounding/stranding and collision. As concerns occupational accidents, 40% were attributed to the slipping, stumbling and falling of persons.
– The combination of collision (23.2%) contact (16.3%), and grounding/ stranding (16.6%) shows that navigational casualties represent 53.1% of all casualties with ships. They also represent 37.8% of all occurrences. 11?952 casualties with a ship involve a single casualty event. 2?055 casualties with a ship have more than one casualty event.
– Human error represented 58% of accidental events and 70% of accidental events had shipboard operations as a contributing factor.
– EU Member State investigation bodies have launched 1070 investigations over the 2011-2017 period and almost 900 reports have been published. Among the 2,000 safety recommendations issued, 40% were related to operational practices, and in particular to safe working practices. Half of the safety recommendations were addressed to the shipping companies and the positive response rate was around 50%.

Click for access to the 175-page report

Instagram Posts from the IIMS @iimsmarine