Industry needs a marine investigation code

A marine investigation code needs to be created that will would accelerate and simplify the process of managing a marine casualty, according to Captain Jon Walker Regional Director of Asia & Australia LOC IUMI Professional Partner at

In the latest newsletter from IUMI, Walker said that local jurisdictions were often unprepared, lacking in understanding and unwilling to cooperate, thus lengthening the investigation process and having a negative impact on the environment, the vessel’s crew and/or the damaged ship. Walker said that problems arose when a local authority did not know the limit of its jurisdiction, and assumed authority of a casualty when they had no right so to do. He said that there had been too many examples of where the recovery of a grounded or damaged vessel had continued for many years, where the investigative and wreck removal process was flawed, or where the master ended up in jail or otherwise detained.

Walker believed this issue could be addressed through a marine investigation code, driven by the IMO. This code would compel sovereign states to clarify their jurisdictions with their governments prior to any incident. This in turn would mean that, in the immediate aftermath of an incident, first responders would know who to deal with and what were the limits of their authority. He said that a marine investigation code “could establish transparent, consistent procedures across national borders ensuring the best response from all parties”. Responders would be able to coordinate with an authority that understood the maritime sector and the implications of a shipping casualty.