The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has published its Annual Report for 2020.
The Annual Report includes statistics on accidents to UK ships and seafarers worldwide, and to foreign flag vessels and their crews in UK waters.
The Annual Report also contains an overview of the work of the MAIB, details of reports published and contains analysis of the safety recommendations issued during the year and the status of outstanding recommendations from previous years.
During 2020 MAIB:
- received notification of 1217 marine accidents and incidents involving 1307 vessels.
- commenced 19 investigations, 10 of which involved loss of life.
- published 20 investigation reports, two safety digests and two safety bulletins during the year.
- made 42 recommendations (24 were issued in 2019), with an acceptance rate of 92.9% (up from 83.9% in 2019). Two recommendations were partially accepted, none were withdrawn, and one was rejected.
- two commercial fishermen lost their lives compared with five in 2019 and six in 2018. Regrettably, six commercial fishermen have lost their lives so far in 2021, so the low figure for 2020 cannot be viewed as marking a significant improvement in fishing safety.
Said Captain Andrew Moll, Chief Inspector or Marine Accidents:
“In 2020, the MAIB published two investigation reports into the collapse of container stacks on large container ships. There have been more accidents involving large losses of containers since, and more general concerns about large container vessels were already being raised before Ever Given grounded in the Suez Canal earlier this year. There is no doubt that accidents involving Ultra Large Container vessels will continue to receive intense focus, but it is too early to say what common themes might emerge from accident investigations and whether these could have wider implications for the sector.
“On paper, 2020 was a safer year for the UK fishing industry, with only one accident (Joanna C) resulting in fatalities. Regrettably, six commercial fishermen’s lives have been lost already in 2021, meaning that eight commercial fishermen have lost their lives in the 6 month period November to May. While the investigations are ongoing, the indications are that five lives were lost as a result of small fishing vessels capsizing or foundering quickly.
“The accidents involving leisure and recreational craft that the Branch is investigating are quite varied, but two themes are worth mentioning. As the tragic accident onboard the motor cruiser Diversion demonstrated, lives are still being lost due to carbon monoxide poisoning. There can be many sources of carbon monoxide on a cruising vessel, including the main engines, generators, heaters and cooking appliances. Owners of craft with enclosed accommodation spaces are strongly advised to fit a carbon monoxide alarm suitable for use in the marine environment, and to test it regularly.
“Two accidents involving Personal Watercraft (PWC) and Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) show how vulnerable passengers are to injury when these craft collide or hit stationary objects while travelling at high speed. The collision between a PWC and RIB Rib Tickler, and the RIB Seadogz’s collision with a navigation buoy are still under investigation, but both accidents resulted in fatalities that could have been avoided had a better lookout been kept and larger passing distances maintained.”