Maritime accidents decrease in 2022

Over the past eight years, more than half of reported maritime casualties and incidents have occurred in inland waters, followed by territorial waters and open waters.

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In 2022, maritime safety took center stage as a beacon of hope, with a significant drop in maritime incidents and accidents. The annual report from the European Maritime Safety Agency paints a picture of a year characterized by positive trends, highlighting the reduction or stabilization of several key accident-related indicators.

A total of 2,510 maritime incidents and accidents were reported in 2022. This represents a noteworthy decrease of 182 incidents when compared to 2021, and an 84-incident reduction compared to the previous year.

Looking at the larger picture, from 2014 to 2022, the cumulative count of reported maritime incidents and accidents stood at 23,814, with an annual average of 2,646. This figure indicates that the reported number of incidents and accidents in 2022 was 5.1% below the annual average, marking significant progress in maritime safety.

Furthermore, it is worth noting that 2022 witnessed a reduction in the number of vessels involved in maritime incidents and accidents. The total count for the year was 2,701, indicating 212 fewer vessels affected compared to 2021 and 94 fewer than in 2020. This decreasing trend applied not only to cargo vessels but also to fishing vessels, underlining a growing commitment to safer operations.

Maritime Incidents From 2014 to 2022, a notable pattern emerged in the distribution of incidents across different types of waters. More than half of the reported maritime incidents and accidents occurred in inland waters. These were followed by incidents in territorial waters and open waters, reflecting the diverse nature of the maritime industry.

Diving deeper into specific geographical regions, EU waters in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean accounted for a significant share of maritime incidents, with an average of 22.4% and 18.0%, respectively. Notably, passenger ship-related incidents were more prevalent in EU waters in the Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea.

The report also highlighted the importance of focusing on safety measures for the crew and passengers. While continuous improvements have been made, 2022 still saw 604 lives lost in 405 maritime incidents. This trend followed a decline until 2017 when 45 fatalities were recorded, but there was an increase in 2019 to 67 fatalities, followed by another continuous decrease to 38 in 2022.

In 2022, the majority of the victims (65.8%) were crew members, with the main incidents leading to fatalities being slips, trips, and falls in the case of individual incidents, while fires or explosions were predominant in vessel-related incidents.

Additionally, the report highlighted the various challenges faced by vessels. In 2022, six vessels were lost, 524 experienced breakdowns, 180 were deemed unfit for navigation, 603 required assistance onshore, 330 needed towing, and 17 were abandoned. A total of 296 search and rescue operations were conducted to ensure the safety of crew members and passengers.

The maritime industry’s collective efforts to enhance safety standards have led to a significant reduction in incidents and accidents, and the commitment to protecting lives and the environment remains at the forefront of this progress. As we look to the future, the lessons learned in 2022 will continue to drive advancements in maritime safety and further secure the maritime industry’s place as a reliable and secure mode of transportation.

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