European Maritime Safety Agency Tallies 3,145 Marine Casualties and Incidents in 2016

city of rotterdam ship collision
Damage to the City of Rotterdam after colliding with the Danish-flagged Primula Seaways on the River Humber on December, 3, 2015. Photo: MAIB

The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has released its annual overview of marine casualties and incidents involving European-registered ships for the year 2016, showing there were 106 reported fatalities, 957 persons injured, 26 ships lost and 123 investigations launched during the year.

In total, EU Member States reported 3,145 marine casualties and incidents in 2016. Since 2014, the EMSA notes in their report that the number of reported accidents seems 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 was noted. However, some underreporting of marine casualties and incidents appears still to exist, although there has been continuous improvement since the implementation of the relevant EU legislation in 2011. Estimates indicate that under-reporting relates mostly to the less serious casualties and incidents,” the annual overview report stated.

EMSA began tracking incidents and casualties in 2011 with the launch of the European Marine Casualty Information Platform (EMCIP). Since then, the total number reported in EMCIP has reached 16,500.

“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 erroneous action represented 60% of accidental events and 71% of accidental events were linked to shipboard operations as a contributing factor. Of all casualties, 42% took place in port areas. The number of ships lost has reduced by 50% since 2014,” according to the report.

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

Despite a decrease in the number of fishing vessels lost in 2016, however, a significant increase of fatalities and injuries was noted in the sector. 

During the period 2011 – 2016, the number of fatalities on board passenger ships is dominated by the Costa Concordia (32 fatalities and 17 injured persons in 2012) and the Norman Atlantic (11 fatalities and 31 injured persons in 2014), However, since 2014, a continuous decrease of fatalities and injuries is evident, according to the report.

Across the period 2011 – 2016, EU States’ investigative bodies have launched 869 investigations and 695 reports have been 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%.

You can read the full EMSA report HERE. 

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