Insights From Panama Maritime Authority’s Analysis Of Maritime Incidents


  • The Panama Maritime Authority has conducted a comprehensive analysis of maritime incidents and casualties spanning 2020-2023.
  • This analysis sheds light on prevalent incident types, causal factors, vessel involvement, and crew-related statistics, highlighting areas for enhanced safety measures within the maritime industry.

The Panama Maritime Authority recently released crucial insights derived from an in-depth examination of maritime incidents and casualties occurring between 2020 and 2023. This analysis aimed to identify patterns, trends, and areas requiring improvement in safety management within the maritime sector.

Incident Types

During the specified period, the analysis revealed that the top three incident types were:

  • Collision: Accounting for a significant portion of maritime incidents, collisions pose substantial risks to vessel safety and crew welfare.
  • Occupational Accidents: Instances of injuries and accidents occurring onboard vessels were prevalent, emphasizing the importance of crew safety protocols.
  • Main Engine Failures: Engine malfunctions and failures were identified as contributing factors to maritime incidents, underscoring the significance of vessel maintenance and machinery reliability.

Causal Factors

The analysis identified the following top three causal factors contributing to maritime incidents during 2021-2023:

  • Inadequate Maintenance: Insufficient maintenance practices were linked to a significant number of incidents, highlighting the importance of regular upkeep and inspections.
  • Inadequate Risk Assessment: Failures in assessing and mitigating potential risks were found to be contributing factors, emphasizing the need for thorough risk management protocols.
  • Inadequate Bridge Management: Issues related to bridge management and navigation procedures were identified as causal factors, necessitating improvements in bridge operations and oversight.

Vessel Types

Bulk carriers emerged as the most frequently involved vessel type, accounting for 49% of marine incidents and casualties. General cargo ships followed at 29%, with container ships representing 22% of the total cases. This distribution highlights the varied risks and challenges faced by different vessel categories within the maritime industry.

Crew Injuries and Fatalities

The analysis revealed alarming statistics regarding crew injuries, fatalities, and illnesses:

  • Injuries: 327 crew members sustained injuries during the analyzed period, emphasizing the occupational hazards associated with maritime operations.
  • Fatalities: Tragically, 220 crew members lost their lives in maritime incidents, with causes ranging from natural deaths to occupational accidents and onboard fires.
  • Missing Crew: The analysis reported 127 cases of crew members reported missing, indicating the grave consequences of maritime accidents on crew welfare and safety.
  • Illnesses: Additionally, 117 crew members fell ill during the analyzed period, highlighting the importance of onboard health and medical facilities.

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Source: Safety4sea