Analysis of aframax tanker incidents and accidents in the period 1978 – 2003

On 26 and 27 January 2006 the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) held in London its third conference on the subject of 'Learning from Marine Incidents'.  

Dr Nikos Mikelis, representing INTERTANKO, presented the paper 'Casualty Analysis of Tankers' on behalf of his co-authors: Professor Apostolos Papanikolaou and Mrs Eleftheria Eliopoulou of the Ship Design Laboratory of the National Technical University of Athens, Dr Seref Aksu of the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow and Mrs Severine Delautre of Bureau Veritas in Paris. 

The paper summarises some results from the second year of the three-year European Commission part-funded project POP&C (Pollution Prevention & Control) providing an analysis of recorded aframax tanker incidents and accidents in the period 1978 - 2003.  

The analysis consists of a review of incident/accident information and identification of trends such as:

  • variation of accident rates per ship-year for all accidents as well as for each major accident category (collision, contact, grounding, non-accidental structural failure, fire, and explosion);  
  • the environmental and operational conditions at the time of incidents/accidents (en-route, loading/unloading, manoeuvring, at port, etc);  
  • the severity of accidents in terms of loss of lives/injuries, environmental pollution and loss of property (minor, major repairs or total loss).  

Trends with respect to the impact of ship design were also investigated (double hull and non-double hull). The analysis indicates that the adopted index of pollution when considering accidents involving double hull tankers was significantly lower compared to the index for non-double hull tankers.  

Finally, the paper looks at the needs of the industry and of the regulators for marine accident data for the purposes of risk assessment (it considers for example the need for data of the Formal Safety Assessment methodology as employed by IMO). The paper suggests that the marine incident/accident databases which have evolved over the years were never designed with the application of risk assessment in mind, and therefore suffer from a number of serious limitations which make their usage in engineering projects very problematic. As part of this discussion the authors made specific recommendations for the improvement of the taxonomy (coding) of marine accident data. 

Click here to view the paper 'Casualty Analysis of Tankers'. 

Contact: Dragos Rauta