Groundbreaking research in maritime safety successfully defended

On 25 January 2007, Sabine Knapp* defended her PhD thesis entitled 'The Econometrics of Maritime Safety: Recommendations to Enhance Safety at Sea'.


The study has already been much discussed in the main stream media as well as being referred to by many maritime authorities. For the first time, port state control data from various regimes and casualty data from three different sources of the same time frame (Jan 1999- Dec 2004) have been combined and analysed.


The analysis reveals, i.a., that about 7% of ships eligible for port state control are estimated to be over-inspected and that about 13% of vessels could benefit from either an improvement in inspections, better targeting only, or a combination of both. Furthermore, it seems that general cargo ships show the highest risk profile while tankers and containers show the lowest. Of particular interest is that tankers are found to be exposed to a significant amount of inspections with a large number of industry-driven inspections being performed.


The committee responsible for assessing the thesis was comprised of various professors specialised in statistics, operations research, law and econometrics and industry experts Brice Martin-Castex, IMO and Richard Schifferli, Paris MoU. They all unanimously agreed that Knapp’s PhD will contribute to a new chapter in research and discussions concerning maritime safety.


The full text of the dissertation can be accessed here.  


*After obtaining her MSc degree from Maine Maritime Academy (USA), Sabine Knapp had a career serving as an internal fleet auditor for a number of the largest cruise lines. She decided to enhance her studies and research at Danube University and Erasmus University. Currently, she is working at the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).


Contact: Chantal Cheung-tam-he