Maritime Disasters: How to Prevent and Control

Ajoy Gonsalves
Ajoy Gonsalves

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) is the United Kingdom's national marine accident investigation agency. They conduct investigations into accidents and incidents in order to make recommendations for the prevention of future similar occurrences, thereby carrying out its statutory duty under section 5(1)(a) of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995. MAIB reports aim to identify safety lessons or other issues which should be brought to the attention of those who operate vessels or regulate their operation in order to reduce risk further in the future. This article will discuss how maritime disasters can be prevented and what steps have been taken so far.

About Maritime Accidents

A maritime accident is an incident that takes place on a boat or ship. This can include accidents that occur while the boat is in transit, as well as those that take place while the boat is docked or moored. Some of the most common types of maritime accidents include collisions, groundings, fires, and explosions.

Despite the safety measures that are in place, maritime accidents continue to occur every year. In fact, according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), there were more than 2,000 reported marine accidents in 2016 alone. This represents an increase of more than 10% from the previous year.

The Maritime Transportation and The Economy

Maritime transportation is the transportation of goods and passengers by water. This can include transportation that takes place on oceans, seas, rivers, and lakes. Maritime transportation is a critical part of the global economy, and it accounts for more than 90% of world trade.

The maritime industry is a vital part of many countries' economies. In fact, the shipping industry employs more than 1.5 million people worldwide, and it accounts for more than $350 billion in annual revenue.

Despite its importance, the maritime industry is also a very dangerous one. Every year, there are dozens of maritime accidents that result in fatalities or serious injuries. Some of the most common causes of maritime accidents include collisions, groundings, fires, among others.

Regarding Maritime Safety

The maritime industry is a vital part of many countries' economies. In fact, the shipping industry employs more than 1.5 million people worldwide, and it accounts for more than $350 billion in annual revenue.

Despite its importance, the maritime industry is also a very dangerous one. Every year, there are dozens of maritime accidents that result in fatalities or serious injuries. Some of the most common causes of maritime accidents include collisions, groundings, fires, and explosions. To help reduce the number of maritime accidents, it is important to understand the factors that contribute to them.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO)

The global maritime industry is constantly evolving, and new technologies and safety measures are being implemented to help prevent maritime accidents. In recent years, there has been a focus on developing new standards for maritime transportation. This includes the development of new regulations and guidelines for vessel design, construction, and operation.

In addition to developing new standards, the IMO (International Maritime Organization) is also working to improve safety education and awareness. This includes initiatives such as the Global Safety Management (GSM) program, which is aimed at helping shipping companies develop and implement effective safety management systems.

The IMO is also working to improve the safety of passengers and crew members. This includes initiatives such as the Safe Manning Convention, which sets minimum crew requirements for different types of vessels. Another initiative is the Safe Stowage Convention, which sets strict requirements for how cargo should be stowed on ships.

Maritime Accidents

Maritime accidents are defined as industrial, marine, or shipping accidents that occur at sea or inland waterways. These incidents can be caused by human behavior or negligence, equipment failure, natural phenomena, or piracy attacks.

The majority of maritime accidents can be attributed to unsafe practices by crew members, poor design of the vessel or its equipment. Accidents mainly result from hazardous navigation conditions, stability issues, bad weather, and collisions with other ships, underwater structures, or floating objects.

Types of maritime accidents include:

  • Ship disasters due to the harsh nature of the ocean
  • A collision between vessels (ships)
  • Collision of ships with docks, harbor structures, or other vessels
  • Groundings of ships on underwater objects
  • Accidents at sea due to extreme weather conditions (fog, hurricane)
  • Oil spills and similar releases of hazardous materials in the water environment
  • Among others

The most famous maritime accidents happened on passenger and cruise ships and oil tankers, but the maritime industry also includes other types of vessels. They range from small boats to large cargo or container ships and tankers carrying millions of barrels of petroleum products, liquefied natural gas, chemicals, and other hazardous materials. Maritime accidents can be caused by collisions with other vessels, icebergs, or groundings on underwater structures, including reefs.

Such accidents may lead to serious pollution of the water or coastal waters with large-scale ecological and environmental damage. Oil spills are particularly dangerous due to their invisibility that resulting in difficulties for crew members trying to avoid collisions at sea.

How can we prevent maritime accidents?

Every year, thousands of people lose their lives as a result of maritime accidents. The main cause is human error and negligence on the part of employees and crew members (crew errors). However, there are technical problems and bad weather conditions that increase the risk of such incidents.

In order to prevent maritime accidents, it is important to strengthen security measures and take action before the occurrence of such incidents. This includes:

  • Using advanced navigational technologies and equipment (e.g. gyrocompass)
  • Setting appropriate routes and ensuring that they comply with international procedures
  • Carrying out regular inspections and assessing the condition of the equipment
  • Tracking the movement of a vessel and monitoring weather conditions via satellite, navigational technology, and other tools
  • Taking action in case of technical problems or equipment failure
  • Ensuring that all crew members are properly trained for their duties on board
  • Checking that vessel documentation complies with international requirements

Additionally, it is important to involve the crew in accident prevention. This will significantly increase their sense of responsibility and attention during work on board.

Lastly, the safety inspection process for ships must be strict and regularly repeated to ensure that all safety measures are complying with current regulations.

What is the example of disaster prevention?

Maritime safety organizations recommend taking preventive action to minimize or prevent the risk of maritime accidents.

  • Crew members should receive detailed and proper training to learn their duties, work with navigational equipment, and perform preventive maintenance on ships and machinery in good time.
  • Navigation rules ensure that all ship navigators know how to operate in hazardous areas (special vessels or cargo), when speed restrictions apply, how to protect sensitive areas (coastal areas, marine parks), and other criteria that may help prevent maritime accidents.
  • Training employees in risk assessment and risk management can be useful when it comes to avoiding dangerous situations like collisions with other ships at sea. This usually requires proper monitoring of the ship's course and its environment (weather, traffic) in addition to taking into account the surrounding weather conditions, when ships are navigating.
  • Technology may help prevent maritime accidents in part, but it is also prone to errors and malfunctions that result in hazardous situations. Maritime safety organizations recommend reliance on high-quality navigation systems (radar, GPS) and proper maintenance of technological equipment used by seamen.

What is prevention in disaster?

Prevention in maritime disasters is the implementation of preventive measures before accidents occur to ensure that they do not happen.

This includes:

  • Using advanced navigational technologies and equipment (e.g. gyrocompass)
  • Setting appropriate routes and ensuring that they comply with international procedures
  • Carrying out regular inspections and assessing the condition of the equipment
  • Tracking the movement of a vessel and monitoring weather conditions via satellite, navigational technology, and other tools
  • Taking action in case of technical problems or equipment failure
  • Ensuring that all crew members are properly trained for their duties on board
  • Checking that vessel documentation complies with international requirements

Additionally, it is important to involve the crew in accident prevention. This will significantly increase their sense of responsibility and attention during work on board.

Lastly, the safety inspection process for ships must be strict and regularly repeated to ensure that all safety measures are complying with current regulations.

What modern technology is available today to reduce or eliminate shipwrecks?

The most common of these is the Automatic Identification System (AIS). AIS sends and receives electronic signals throughout the waterway, notifying nearby vessels when they enter areas where there might be the risk of collision. Similar technology exists in GPS tracking which is also used to safely navigate marine vessels through congested waterways.

Additionally, weather forecasting systems have advanced tremendously with the advent of new technologies that provide real-time updates about global weather patterns. This knowledge can be applied directly to maritime navigation, allowing for safer travel in dangerous conditions such as fog or hurricanes. Wind sensors, thermometers, and barometric pressure gauges can be found on all marine vessels, enabling navigators to make rough weather predictions through a combination of visual, audio, and numerical data.

Other modern technologies that reduce or eliminate shipwrecks include radar, sonar detection, and even "black boxes" which record conversations on the ship's bridge as well as technical information about the vessel itself. GPS locator beacons have been attached to thousands of ships after being lost at sea, providing a much-needed means of tracking down vessels in emergency situations. In fact, seafaring technology has advanced so rapidly over the past few decades that it is now virtually impossible for a large commercial vessel to sink without assistance from manmade problems such as faulty navigation systems or environmental disasters such as tsunamis.

Conclusion

This article has given you some valuable insights into how to ensure that your company's maritime disaster prevention efforts are up-to-date. It is important to keep in mind the different types of modern technology available for preventing accidents, which include AIS systems and GPS tracking devices. However, there may still be instances where technological malfunctions or human error cause an accident regardless of these safeguards.

For this reason, it is also necessary for companies to take other preventative measures such as carrying out regular inspections, teaching crew members about safety procedures onboard, and ensuring vessel documentation complies with international requirements. If you want more information about all the ways your business can reduce its risk of a shipwreck from happening anywhere at any time feel free to contact us today!