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Tuesday, September 25, 2018


The Swedish Club has concluded that attitudes and behaviour are the core issue behind ship collisions forming the majority of hull and machinery (h&m) claims at the high-cost end of the scale. Navigating and ship handling skills are not the problem, nor are rules and regulations, it says. Rules and regulations are in place even if they are not always followed. 

At the same time, INTERCARGO has analysed the bulk carrier industry collisions and groundings for 2003 and 2004 and has found that significant groundings (with damage or consequential loss) occur almost equally to top-drawer owners and to owners defined by port state control, fleet age, flag, P&I insurance etc as being lower down the scale of reliability. Moreover the fact that half the no-loss groundings are soft groundings in waterways also points to the human element as being the main reason for incidents in this bulker collision and grounding analysis, says INTERCARGO, with training the key to reducing claims. 

The Swedish Club finds that while machinery claims are more frequent overall, the majority (12 out of 18) of h&m claims at the high-cost end of the scale are collisions. Of the twelve claims, five involved container ships, three bulk carriers, two tankers, one reefer ship and one passenger ship. 

But the coincidence of common factors in all twelve collisions is remarkable. All twelve occurred during hours of darkness, when, says the Gothenburg-based P&I and H&M insurance specialist, people misjudge situations, with some claiming to have been caught by surprise. 

However eleven out of twelve occurred with experienced people on the bridge, indicating, says the Club, that experience, age, navigating and ship handling skills offer no guarantee for a safe passage. 

Less surprisingly, the same number occurred as a consequence of individual or organisational factors.  

Six out of twelve occurred in the open sea, with complacency, a false sense of security and subsequent reduced vigilance as contributing factors. In fact five out of twelve occurred when there was a pilot on board – something that does occur in difficult areas. However, the Club believes that even with a pilot on board, lack of briefings, planning and communication causes dangerous situations.  

Only three of the twelve occurred in very poor visibility where extra attention, caution and use of resources were required. 

Contact: Bill Box