Annual overview of marine casualties and incidents

The just-published European Maritime Safety Agency’s (EMSA) annual overview of marine casualties and incidents noted that during 2016 there were 106 reported fatalities, 957 persons injured, 26 ships lost and 123 investigations launched.

There were 3,145 marine casualties and incidents in 2016. EMSA said that, since 2014, the number of reported accidents seemed to have stabilized at around 3,200 occurrences per year. While the number of very serious and serious marine casualties and incidents remained at levels similar to previous years, a limited but continuing increase of less serious accidents reported had been observed, EMSA said. The report claimed that some underreporting of marine casualties and incidents appeared still to exist, although there had been continuous improvement since the implementation of the relevant EU legislation in 2011.

Over the period 2011-2016, half of the casualties were of a navigational nature, such as contacts, grounding/stranding or collision. Amongst occupational accidents, 40% were attributed to slipping, stumbling and falling of persons.

Human error represented 60% of accidents, while 71% of accidents were linked to shipboard operations as a contributing factor. Of all casualties, 42% took place in port areas. The number of ships lost had reduced by 50% since 2014.

In 2016 the number of cargo ships involved in marine casualties and incidents fell to 1,400. A significant decrease of fatalities was noted in 2016, reaching the lowest level since 2012.

There was a decrease in the number of fishing vessels lost in 2016, but a significant increase in the number of fatalities and injuries.

During the period 2011 to 2016 the number of fatalities on board passenger ships was dominated by the Costa Concordia in 2012 (32 fatalities and 17 injured) and the Norman Atlantic in 2014 (11 fatalities and 31 injured). But since 2014 a continuous decrease of fatalities and injuries had become evident.

There was a reduction of service ships lost and a fall in the number of fatalities and injuries.

From 2011 to 2016, EU States’ investigative bodies launched 869 investigations, with 695 reports being published. Among the 1,300 safety recommendations issued, 28% related to operational practices, in particular safe working practices. Half of the safety recommendations were addressed to shipping companies and the rate of positive responses was about 66%.