Avoidable Accidents at Sea

5 January 2017


Every year, all too many seafarers injure themselves or die by slipping, tripping, or falling while undertaking a routine task on board a ship. The sea is a dangerous place, and in the first nine months of this year, 79 seafarers serving on Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) flagged vessels suffered a serious injury, with seven ultimately fatal. Many of these incidents occurred while working aloft or over-the-side. One death or injury is one too many, and International Registries, Inc. (IRI) works closely with the RMI Maritime Administrator and shipowners to identify trends across the RMI fleet.

Presenting his findings to shipowners and other industry stakeholders attending the Marshall Islands Quality Council (MIQC) meeting in London this November, Rob Lorigan, Senior Vice President, Quality Assurance & Investigations, IRI Reston, said that many of these accidents were completely avoidable and all involved Safety Management System procedures not being followed.

“Simple tasks can be deadly and accidents can happen to anyone, regardless of rank or position,” said Rob Lorigan. “Complacency and failure to assess risks can be fatal. However, with increasing stress on crews and quick turnarounds expected, it is vital that all pause, stop, and think before undertaking a potentially risky action.”

The RMI Maritime Administrator continues to remind ship managers and senior officers to set an example, and to encourage all seafarers to be aware of potential risks and think about how to mitigate these risks, even when routine.