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a seafarers enters an enclosed space on board a ship

File Photo. Photo courtesy InterManager

InterManager Calls Out Shipping Industry for Under-Reporting Enclosed Space Deaths

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1787
May 30, 2022

Industry trade group InterManager is calling out the shipping industry for its “inadequate” reporting of serious and fatal accidents following the death of two workers in an enclosed space onboard a ship.

InterManager is an international association representing ship and crew managers involved in managing more than 5,000 ships and over 250,000 seafarers.

“Another two workers have died this month. They were two shore workers who apparently ‘entered the wrong space’ on a cargo ship and paid the ultimate price for their mistake,” said Captain Kuba Szymanski, Secretary General of InterManager.

InterManager has been tracking incidents involving enclosed spaces since 1999, during which time enclosed spaces claimed the lives of 104 seafarers and 51 shore workers. But Captain Szymanski fears these figures could be much higher than reported and says he believes there is under-reporting by shipping authorities.

“The shipping industry is very slow in reporting accidents in enclosed spaces, as it also is with lifeboat incidents. Accident reports take ages even for Flag States rated as ‘excellent’. The IMO’s Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS)  database is largely being ignored by Flag States,” said Captain Szymanski.

According to Captain Szymanski and InterManager, only 26% of enclosed space accidents were reported through GISIS, meaning 74% of accident go un-reported.

“By not reporting accidents the shipping industry is not giving people the chance to properly investigate, understand and learn from them. This is potentially putting the lives of more seafarers and port workers in danger,” said Captain Szymanski.

He’s now urging the shipping industry to work harder to address the root causes of enclosed space accidents, which InterManager has identified are particularly due to ship design, time pressure on workers, and contradicting and confusing regulations.

InterManager is currently working with the members of the Human Element Industry Group (HEIG) to identify the biggest risk factors and potential solutions to minimise deaths and injuries in enclosed spaces.

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