In an extract from the introduction to the latest and second MAIB Safety Digest October 2020, Andrew Moll, Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents said, “This has been a challenging year for us all, and some sectors of the marine industry have been very hard hit by the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
It therefore pains me to say that overall this year there seems to be very little change in the overall rate at which accidents and incidents are occurring. Te need to improve safety is therefore very much with us.
I would like to thank Mike Drake (Director Marine Operations, P&O Cruises, Australia) and Sean Friday (Inspector, MAIB) for the
introductions they have written to the merchant vessel and fishing vessel sections of this edition. I was struck by Mike’s comment that we need to understand the mind-set of the people doing the job before we improve their performance, and Sean’s frustration that investigators so often see similar issues repeated time and time again in tragic accidents. Some years ago I was discussing a conflict with an army intelligence officer, who said to me, “they are losing, but they are not yet ready to stop fighting”. His words made me think about people’s resistance to or, conversely, willingness to change their approach.
This edition’s Recreational Craft section does not have its own introduction as, unfortunately, the contributor had to back out at the last minute. It therefore falls to me to make some observations. The articles for the Recreational Craft section were chosen some weeks ago, and it is a coincidence that in this issue they are all about high-speed craft accidents. Unfortunately, it is likely that the spring 2021 Safety Digest will be similar, due to the high incidence of fatal and serious injury accidents involving RIBs, personal water craft (jetskis) and other high speed craft that have occurred this summer. It would not be right to read too much into this spike. Marine accidents are like buses: you can wait a long time for one and then a number arrive together. However, it could also be that the COVID-19 lockdown earlier this year prevented many leisure boaters from starting the season slowly, cautiously going afloat in late spring to refresh old skills before the good weather arrives. Whatever the reason, I would encourage all leisure boaters to take advantage of the winter months to refresh their knowledge, carry out the inevitable maintenance tasks, and to plan how best to start next year’s boating seasons.”
Capt Andrew Moll
Also available to download is the report published earlier this year MAIB Safety Digest April 2020.