The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has released its 2017 report on marine casualties, and the accident count is on the rise. During 2016, the agency recorded 3,145 casualties resulting in 106 deaths, 957 injuries and 26 total losses.

The review is concentrated on accidents involving foreign and domestic shipping in European waters – especially in the busy English Channel and the North Sea – but it also includes casualty figures from EU-flagged ships all over the globe. The total number of reported incidents last year was up by a third relative to the same period five years ago, and it may be higher due to under-reporting. However, the proportion of very serious casualties has remained relatively static at about three percent, and the number of ships lost has fallen by half relative to 2011. In addition, the number of multiple-vessel incidents (including collisions) remains a relatively small portion of the total.

In 2016, as in years past, most accidents involved cargo ships (about 40 percent) or passenger ships (20 percent). The most common kind of casualty was loss of control, followed by contact and collision. Navigational casualties made up about half of the total, and about 60 percent of the accidents in which EMSA was able to determine a root cause were due to “human erroneous action.”

A relatively small minority of ships accounted for a significant portion of the total casualty count. About a quarter of all 11,700 ships reviewed over the five year period were in more than one casualty, and about 10 percent were involved in three casualties or more (above).

EMSA also looked at occupational accidents like slips, falls, fires, electrical faults, and other personal injury. Slips and falls made up about 40 percent of the total (and half of occupational fatalities), followed by injuries caused by body movements and accidents involving machinery or cargo handling equipment.

The full report is available at EMSA’s website


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