UK MAIB Annual Report 2022 published

UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) published its annual report for 2022, reporting that the branch received 1,263 reports of marine casualties and marine incidents involving UK vessels worldwide or other nations’ vessels in UK waters and commenced 16 investigations.

Merchant Vessels

The deaths of three stevedores on board the Isle of Man registered bulk carrier Berge Mawson in the middle of the year was a stark reminder that the industry still has much work to do to mitigate the hazards posed by noxious atmospheres. The human drive to assist someone in danger is powerful, which is why so often a second person succumbs to the noxious atmosphere before realisation dawns, access is controlled and a properly equipped rescue starts. On this occasion, three stevedores had entered the space before access control was restored. This is not the first time in recent years that stevedores have been caught out in this fashion.

The investigation into the engine room fire on board the roll on/roll-of ferry Finnmaster commenced in late 2021 and continued throughout 2022. Fortunately, no lives were lost in the accident, but the investigation has identified multiple failures of critical safety systems. Of particular concern was the failure of the CO2 fixed firefighting system to fully discharge, which prompted the branch to issue Safety Bulletin 1/2022 warning of the risk that pilot hose couplings might not allow the passage of gas.

Following industry feedback, 2022 saw the branch call for reports of pilot boarding accidents and incidents of noncompliant boarding arrangements. Subsequent checking with industry indicates that the branch captured about 50% of the variously reported incidents, which has enabled an initial analysis of the issues to be conducted.

Commercial fishing vessels

2021 was a particularly bad year for fatalities in the commercial fishing industry, but although still tragic, three fatalities were recorded in 2022. The data indicates that the accident rate for boats of less than 15m length overall was much lower acrossthe board than in previous years.

There is a huge amount of effort going into safety campaigns and education, from the online messaging of the Home and Dry campaign to the immersive experience of the environmental pool training events where fishers get to experience falling in without a personal flotation device.

Conversely, the number of larger fishing vessels – 15m to 24m and over 24m registered length – is the highest it has been since 2015. The nature of the accidents tells its own story, but more generally we are seeing an increase in the number of collisions, groundings and flood-related founderings among the larger vessels. Of particular note has been the number of recent flooding incidents that can be attributed to trawl doors striking and penetrating the underside of the hull during hauling. With crews focused on recovering the fishing gear, flooding has often been well advanced before it was discovered, leaving crews little time to react.

In 2022, the MAIB made 38 recommendations to 21 separate recipients, of which 36 (94.7%) were accepted and half of those already implemented. One recommendation was partially accepted, and one recommendation was rejected. While this is an excellent acceptance rate, and a significant improvement on last year, it is disappointing that a number of recipients of older recommendations were unable to provide a target date for their implementation.

Download the report in full: 2022 Marine Accident Recommendations and Statistics

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