The latest Annual Report has been published by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) which sets outs all accidents and incidents reporting involving UK flagged vessels or within UK territorial waters.
Whilst incident numbers for merchant vessels remained relatively low compared to the previous 5 years there was a significant peak in incidents for recreational vessels over the summer months when compared to the last 5 years. This appears to be a further impact of the COVID restrictions, with people being unable to go abroad they have sought domestic holidays and inexperienced people have been out on the water - just shy of 100 casualties & incidents were reported in August alone.
In good news there has been a very high level of acceptance of MAIB recommendations in 2020, with over 90% of recommendations being accepted. These recommendations range from owners needing to review and update their drug and alcohol policy, following the death of a crew member who fell through a hatch, through to container terminals being instructed to weigh containers prior to loading following the loss of containers in rough weather.
There have been no losses of merchant vessels >100GT reported to the MAIB in 2020 and the UK fleet size is now 1,242, an increase from the previous year with an additional 313 vessels being added to the fleet. There have also been no deaths of merchant vessel crew in 2020.
The majority of casualties have been collisions, groundings or machinery failures, many of which have been attributed in some way to human error. The report serves as an important reminder to Owners to ensure their crew have regular assessments to ensure any areas for improvement are identified and dealt with promptly in addition to performing regular reviews of the procedures in place within their fleet.