[Answer] What Accounts for About 85% of All Marine Accidents?


A common interest of all shipping industry stakeholders is safe and accident-free shipping. To reach that goal, one of the most important actions that can be done is to analyze previous marine accidents. 

According to TANZANIA shipping agency corporation (TASAC), human error accounts for 85% of all marine accidents.

Marine accident

Maritime accidents that occur due to natural factors such as a ships being caught in an unexpected storm, unfavorable tides, strong winds etc. are totally beyond human control and also make up rather small part of the causes for maritime accidents.

The causes that top the list like collisions, fires, explosions, ships being lost, tanker accidents etc are all results of human errors in one way or the other. There have been reports of maritime accidents that have occurred solely due to human errors. From small fires that can lead to big explosions to full on collisions, the scale of accidents that can result from human errors is uncomfortably large.

Why human error?

The reason why human errors play such a vital role in marine industry despite of excessive mechanization and technical advancement is that even with everything, marine industry remains a people’s industry. There are machines running on software programmed into a computer but you need a person on that computer to be looking into it. Error on part of that person means the entire chain reaction of errors is put into action ultimately leading to a not-so-good outcome.

Reason of marine accident

The extensive studies looking into human errors and their implications have categorized few reasons that mostly lead to a mistake somewhere, the top most reason being fatigue. The studies have revealed that in most cases, it is an overworked tired and somewhat disoriented crew that fails to make the right decision which maybe as small as pulling the correct lever.

Another of the top reasons for human error is insufficient communication.Where the crew fails to communicate effectively with each other, the risks of maritime accidents increase manifold. Another important reason for human error that is detrimental to marine industry as a whole is insufficient knowledge.

Main reasons for maritime accidents:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Inadequate Communication
  3. Lack of general technical knowledge
  4. Inadequate knowledge of ship’s system
  5. Automation Error
  6. Decision based on incomplete information
  7. Faulty standards and procedures being followed
  8. Poor maintenance
  9. Hazardous Working environment


The window for human error is small if you consider it singly in the bigger picture but this single little window is where the sole of ship lies. Maritime industry depends on its manpower to keep it running smoothly. Hence, even seemingly minor errors by a single person can lead to a series of errors, something marine industry can definitely not afford. As such, it is important that implications of such minor things should be understood.

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Source: marineinsight