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Port of Rotterdam. Sotkc Photo: Ali A Suliman /

Port of Rotterdam. Sotkc Photo: Ali A Suliman /

European Marine Safety Agency Reveals Positive Trend in Maritime Safety

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 926
October 30, 2023

The European Marine Safety Agency has released its Annual Overview of Marine Casualties and Incidents, revealing a significant reduction in the number of marine accidents in 2022. According to the report, there were 2,510 marine casualties and incidents reported, marking a decrease of 182 compared to 2021 and 84 compared to 2020.

The report focuses on marine casualties and incidents involving ships flying the flag of EU Member States, occurring within their territorial sea or internal waters, or with substantial interests of EU Member States. It gathers data from the EU database for maritime incidents, known as EMCIP (European Marine Casualty Information Platform).

After a decrease in overall traffic numbers in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic increased in 2021 and reached pre-pandemic levels in 2022, with the resumption of cruise ships and ferries activities. However, despite the increase in traffic, the number of reported casualties and incidents in 2022 was 5.1% below the annual average and the average before the pandemic.

The report also highlights the positive trend observed in various accident indicators. The total number of ships involved in marine casualties and incidents in 2022 decreased compared to the previous years, particularly in cargo ships and fishing vessels. Moreover, the number of very serious marine casualties continued to decline, with a significant reduction in 2022.

In 2022, there were significant improvements in ship incidents compared to previous years. Six ships were lost, 524 ships were damaged, 180 ships were unfit to proceed, 603 required shore assistance, 330 required towing, 17 were abandoned, and there were 296 Search and Rescue (SAR) operations.

Since 2019, there has been a significant decrease in reported pollution, particularly in air pollution and pollution caused by cargo, resulting in a reduction of total pollution in 2022.

In terms of geographical locations, the majority of reported marine casualties and incidents occurred in inland EU waters, followed by the territorial sea and open sea. The highest number of occurrences took place in EU waters in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea.

Regarding safety investigations, the report indicates a decrease in the number of launched investigations in 2022 compared to the previous years. Similarly, the number of lives lost in marine casualties decreased, reaching the lowest value in the period under consideration.

The report emphasizes the significant role of the human element in accidents, with human action and behavior contributing to the majority of investigated marine casualties and incidents. It also mentions the issuance of safety recommendations, with a substantial portion addressing ship-related procedures.

From 2014 to 2022, there were 6,781 injuries in 5,941 marine casualties and incidents, averaging 753 injuries per year. In 2022, there were 597 injuries, the lowest number in the entire period. Crew members accounted for 83.8% of the injured in 2022 and 84.4% from 2014 to 2022.

Overall, the reduction in marine accidents reported in 2022 is a positive development, reflecting improved safety measures and a better understanding of risk factors.

Read: EMSA’s Annual Overview of Marine Casualties and Incidents 2023

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