Nov 162010

Lifeboat accidents kill more seafarers than Somali pirates

Maritime Accident Casebook has launched the third module in the first international lifeboat safety survey. This module enables shipowners, management companies and operators to participate in the Lifeboat Safety Survey.

This is the first industry-wide effort to collect statistically significant data. The lack of adequate data on the issue was recently commented on by BIMCO, which says: “The fact that no international statistics were available made BIMCO feel that there was a need for more detailed knowledge about accidents with on-load release hooks on lifeboats and the use of fall preventer devices”.

Says Bob Couttie, administrator of Maritime Accident Casebook: “Maritime industry organisations across the board have expressed concern over lifeboat safety issues but that concern has been matched in some quarters by objections to making the very serious changes needed to find human, technical and regulatory solutions in a timely manner.

“Lifeboat accidents are a far greater cause of life of life than piracy off Somalia yet get far less attention.

“The incoming IMO measures regarding on-load release hooks are welcome but it must be born in mind that the introduction and implementation was poorly thought-through and only now, after more than two decades of seafarer deaths is it being corrected. We cannot allow that sort of thing to happen again”.

The first module, aimed at accident investigators will be completed on 30 November and a preliminary report issued in mid-December.

A parallel module, aimed at current and retired seafarers and offshore workers is expected to be complete by mid-2011.

Further modules will be aimed at the insurance sector, especially P&I clubs, training organisations and lifesaving appliance manufacturers and suppliers.

Participation in the survey is confidential and respondents will not be individually identified. “There is certainly a fear of retribution in some quarters so, whether that fear is justified or not, we have to take account of it to reassure participants.”

The survey, which is independently supported, is available on the Maritime Accident Casebook website at

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