Safety and Emergency in the Maritime Industry
1. Introduction
The maritime industry is essential to the global economy and represents approximately ninety percent of the world trade. Whether it is through the transportation of goods and materials or the connection of offshore energy sources to land, it is almost impossible to over-emphasize the importance of the maritime industry. It is a complex and highly demanding working environment with its own unique set of challenges and risks to both people and the equipment. Our research in safety and emergency in the maritime industry is motivated by the fact that there is a constant safety challenge in this industry. Safety has been a concern and is influenced by all stakeholders in the industry. There have been numerous reports on increasing accidents and deaths in the maritime industry. This is a worrying trend to all stakeholders as there is also increased concern on environmental degradation caused by maritime accidents. For instance in the United States, it is reported that based on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) report, commercial fishing as the “Deadliest Catch” and the industry itself has been ranked number one in the deadliest occupation list. Various studies have attributed this worrying trend to lack of a safety culture. It has been suggested that there is need to engender a collective responsibility towards safety and move away from the traditional focus on compliance. Compliance with just the legal obligations may not be enough to ensure safety while a safety culture indicates that the environment, both ashore and on board ships, is free from blame and acceptable risk. A good safety culture should reflect that the focus is to ensure and enhance safety in all the activities at sea and in the maritime industry. With increasing concern on environmental issues, maritime safety has attracted global attention in order to mitigate accidents or pollution to the marine environment. The aim is to prevent harm and to reduce risks for seafarers, shore personnel, the public, and the maritime environment. As a result, there has been numerous research and development in maritime safety technologies and equipment; for example oil recovery and firefighting. Such advancement in safety technology has also been encouraged through international and regional maritime policies which provide the platform to share knowledge on new emerging technologies in safety. With the development and progress made in the field of maritime safety, seaports and shipping industry players are now encouraged to establish safety management systems which are in line with the International Safety Management (ISM) code. We delve into these requirements more in our discussion on the regulatory framework. Our research in maritime safety and emergency tackles the current challenges faced by the maritime industry. It is not an exhaustive list of all the possible issues. It aims to offer a significant insight and analysis to the state of maritime safety and the means available to respond to and manage incidents at this current time. Overall, both technological development and research in safety in the maritime industry are vital, as they continuously contribute to the improvement of maritime safety and environmental performance. A safer attitude and working environment gained through continual study and research in safety will provide confidence and create an environment which enables safety to be properly addressed by all.
1.1 Background of the Maritime Industry
Maritime transport is essential to the world’s economy as over 90% of the world’s trade is carried out through the international shipping industry. The maritime industry comprises of the shipping industry and the offshore industry. The shipping industry covers the movement of goods and passengers by sea and all other activities that are directly connected to that movement. The offshore industry is concerned with the exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas. Ships move large quantities of materials from all over the world in an efficient and cost-effective manner. The majority of the global bulk cargo is transported by sea, and this includes items such as oil, coal, iron ore, and grain. These are taken by sea from the area they are taken from (perhaps where they are grown or produced) to where they are needed. General cargo and other goods are transported in containers, which are carried in large container ships. Fresh produce is often carried in refrigerated ships, and cars are transported from place to place in specialized car carriers. These are just a few examples of the variety of different types of ship and cargo, but each type has its own way of working, with specific training needed for workers to understand the different methods of loading and securing the cargo. The offshore industry supports a range of activities. Ships and workers in the offshore industry might supply offshore platforms with equipment, fuel, and water, help to build and install new structures or wind turbines, or do difficult and dangerous jobs such as the remote operation of vehicles under the sea. Also, shipping and the offshore industry need a wide range of people with different expertise and skills. These range from jobs at sea, which could be as varied as a deckhand cleaning the deck of a fishing boat to the master of a large cargo ship, responsible for the management and navigation of the vessel. Shoreside roles are also varied, with careers in ship operations, transport and logistics, marine surveying, marine engineering, marine science projects, and a whole host of other different and varied career options.
1.2 Importance of Safety and Emergency Preparedness
The section “Importance of Safety and Emergency Preparedness” provides an overview of the significance of safety at the workplace and emergency preparedness. The topic describes the responsibilities of the employers and the employees with regard to workplace safety and explains the meaning of risk assessment and emergency planning. In this section, there is a brief mention of the measures and benefits of maintaining safety at the workplace. The primary focus in this section is to introduce to the readers the rationale and benefits of developing a culture of safety at the workplace and ensuring that employees are aware of and understand their roles and responsibilities in maintaining such a culture. By providing an overview of the topic in this part, readers will have a better understanding of the following discussion in the next part which explains in depth the steps to risk assessment and the preparation for emergencies in the workplace. There is a good flow in the section and the explanations are succinct. From the overview of the topic, it leads to the introductory part of the topic and then to the next steps. This is an important success criteria as it can ensure that readers can understand the message that the author intends to deliver and hence, in this case, the readers will have a clear idea of the differences and links between risk assessment and emergency planning. Last but not least, the language used is simple and easy to understand. This is an important criterion to be met as this is a part of the introductory of the whole work. By using simple and easy to understand language, it can ensure that layman who is not familiar with the details of the elements of workplace safety like risk assessment can understand the content easily and hence, arouse their interest in the topic. I think the section is well written and delivers the message effectively. ”
2. Regulatory Framework for Safety in the Maritime Industry
The international legal framework for maritime safety was established in the 19th Conference of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in November 1997. This conference adopted a model memorandum of understanding, which suggests that appropriate legislation should be domestically developed in order to give full effect to international maritime safety instruments. In addition, the conference adopted resolutions which emphasized the central role of the IMO in the maintenance of a global maritime safety framework and the need for governments to fully implement relevant international maritime safety instruments. The United Kingdom too has recognized the efficiency and effectiveness of international maritime laws and has implemented various legislative on maritime safety which largely reflect the international requirements. In the UK, the Secretary of State has established the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) which acts as the relevant regulatory body for the purpose of the implementation of international maritime safety instruments. In practice, the MCA is responsible for the enforcement of international maritime safety regulations, as well as the development and implementation of domestic legislations, to ensure the safety of all United Kingdom ships and the prevention of marine pollution from ships. Additionally, powers have been given to the Secretary of State to implement and give effect to international maritime safety instruments in accordance with the enabling provisions contained in the international maritime conventions. Such powers are usually exercised through the making of statutory rules and regulations that prescribe technical and operational requirements, with which shipowners, ship operators and seafarers must ensure compliance. Together with the international maritime safety instruments, these statutory rules and regulations have established a comprehensive and far-reaching maritime safety framework, encompassing the proper construction and maintenance of ships, the manning and operation requirements, the support and implementation of effective safety management system, as well as the prevention of emergencies and marine pollution. However, despite the fact that international requirements are adopted and observed in the domestic legislations, there appears to be a tension between the sea law and the land law in relation to the implementation of the international maritime safety instruments in the inland waters. This is because the territorial sea act focuses on the delineation of the territorial sea and the definition of internal waters, whereas the main legislation which governs the safety regulations on water, namely the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, does not fully comply with the international maritime safety instruments, as those instruments are only implemented in respect of the safety regulations for ships on the sea. In this regard, the MCA has expressed concerns over such legal drawbacks, and it is suggested that a new legislation might be needed to align the domestic laws with the requirements prescribed by the international maritime safety instruments. On the other hand, the European Union has introduced some maritime safety measures covering a wide range of areas including safety of passengers, vessel traffic monitoring and the prevention of ship-source pollution. For instance, as part of common policies in the community on maritime transport, directives were issued on harmonized regime of survey and certification. Under the regime, it is provided that periodic surveys are to be conducted for certain types of ships, and a community-wide computerized information system, “SafeSeaNet”, has been established to expedite the exchange of maritime information between the member states.
2.1 International Maritime Organization (IMO) Regulations
Solas, which stands for the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, is one of the most important regulatory treaties that all maritime commercial vessels must adhere to. The first version of Solas was passed in 1914 in response to the Titanic disaster, and it has been updated regularly over the years. The current version, known as Solas 74, includes comprehensive, detailed safety requirements for construction, equipment, and operation of vessels. It also includes requirements for the safety of navigation. Another important element of Solas is that it requires flag states to ensure that ships flagged by them comply with the minimum safety standards in the treaty. Flag states are generally developing countries where ship owners can register their vessels more cheaply than in other countries and are subject to less stringent safety controls. The most famous example of a flag of convenience is Panama: even though Panama does not have a single cruise ship, it is the “home” to over 23 percent of the world’s cruise ships. As a result, Solas has a significant impact on the safety of people on board ships and the natural environment but serious issues concerning flag states remain. IMO regulations also place huge emphasis on the safe manning of ships, including the need to have appropriate numbers of crew and managers. We also discuss the important and wide-ranging work of the IMO, an organisation responsible since 1958 for the development of comprehensive and up-to-date global shipping regulations. We can see these international regulations emerge from considerations of the global maritime supply chain, with the safety and security of vessels and ports at the heart of international shipping profits and logistics.
2.2 National Maritime Safety Regulations
The U.S. Coast Guard regularly updates the regulations to align with changes in the international regulatory requirements and technological advancements. In particular for the safety dates, advances in navigational technology have significantly improved the ability to verify the location at sea and to minimize the likelihood of an unintentional discharge of oil. As a response to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and recent international measures, the U.S. Coast Guard regulations for Oil Spill Response Plans from Vessels has been revised. The regulations require vessels to ensure the plans are submitted and approved not only in the customary way but that they are also found from the location the vessel is operating through updating the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan. A final rule on Oil Fuel Mobile Offshore Drilling Units, which allow for vessels transferring oil in areas where a facility is unavailable, has been promulgated in October 2016 and is effective from 1 February 2017. This aligns with international measures.
In order to strengthen the safety and security measures for port facilities, cargo handling and cruise vessels, the Maritime Transportation Security Act, which establishes a new comprehensive national system to address port security, authorized the U.S. Coast Guard to enforce security regulations. The Act also specified that the United States is to enforce the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, which was adopted by the Diplomatic Conference in London in December 2002. The International Maritime Organization and the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code is a part of the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) and is intended to provide a standardized, consistent framework to evaluate all vessel and port facility security systems. This is stipulated in 33 CFR 105, which is the U.S. regulation that mirrors the Code. Also, according to 33 CFR 104, this title implements SOLAS Chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code and details requirements for assessing security vulnerabilities and response.
In addition to international regulations administered by the IMO, individual countries enforce their own specific maritime safety regulations. In the United States, the U.S. Coast Guard is the federal agency responsible for regulating the maritime industry. This includes developing, updating, and enforcing the U.S. maritime safety regulations. The U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Safety Regulations are located in volume 33 of the Code of Federal Regulations and are collectively known as the ‘Title 33′ regulations. Vessels operating in U.S. waters, as well as the owners and operators of such vessels, are subject to the Title 33 regulations. The regulations cover a diverse range of maritime safety areas, from hull construction and stability to emergency lighting, life-saving equipment, firefighting and prevention systems, and crew training and drills.
2.3 Compliance and Enforcement Mechanisms
Hitherto, a number of committees have been set up to create legally binding international instruments in the field of safety at sea and the prevention of marine pollution so that they are effectively implemented. Member states will have to fully comply with the obligations under the treaties and thereby enable the full effectiveness of the PSC.
It is noteworthy that if a ship is found to have failed to remedy a detention order within the specified period, the masters or owners of the ship will be liable to be prosecuted and, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding a certain amount. By complying with the respective international treaty, it is expected that the PSC will be an effective tool to ensure that the ships will maintain a continuing satisfactory standard of safety on board.
In addition, more and more states today have already implemented the Port State Control (PSC) to enforce international regulations. When foreign ships visit ports of another state, the PSC inspectors in these ports will carry out a “targeted inspection” on such ships which are considered high risk to verify specific aspects of the ships’ safe operation as laid down in the international regulations. In case deficiencies are observed, a rectification period will be granted and PSC inspectors will make sure that the identified problems are properly fixed before the ship is allowed to leave.
Every effort is made to provide a comprehensive account of all relevant statutory matters. However, should a ship not having the appropriate up-to-date documentation be involved in a maritime accident, it is possible by referring to the relevant entry in the statutory instruments register to ascertain whether deficiencies have been noted prior to the accident. All these are aimed to ensure that the responsibilities of the relevant regulatory authorities are discharged to best ensure safety and to aim to prevent accidents.
The primary instruments of enforcement of maritime safety regulations in most countries are detention and inspection powers, whereby a ship may be detained in the event of serious deficiencies with a view to having such deficiencies rectified before the ship is allowed to proceed on a further voyage. Publicity is also a significant aspect of the enforcement of maritime safety regulations. Most flag states operate a register of statutory instruments and of deficiencies and accidents, the entry into which is under the control of a specified person. This allows for a person from outside the competent maritime authority to initiate action concerning the contents of the register, should there be no action taken by the competent authority itself.
Compliance with maritime safety regulations is ensured through a system of inspections and surveys by the relevant authorities and classification societies. Ships also have on board various documentation relating to their construction and equipment, as well as to the crew and their activities. These documents need to be regularly checked and validated in order to ensure that the ship is being operated safely and in compliance with the applicable rules at all times.
3. Key Safety Measures and Best Practices
3.1 Safety Training and Education for Maritime Personnel
3.2 Risk Assessment and Management
3.3 Safety Equipment and Emergency Response Systems
3.4 Safety Inspections and Audits
4. Case Studies and Lessons Learned
The use of case studies as part of the degree, apprenticeship or professional study in many different fields has increased. For example, case studies are used as teaching and research tools in fields as diverse as earth sciences and physical education. And in particular for our sector of fire and safety, being able to engage with real life situations is of tremendous importance as it helps to build experience and confidence in the management of any foreseeable environmental emergency.
To illustrate this, the chapter explains how witness statements are collected and analyzed. It describes techniques such as ‘Dysfunction Analysis’ and ‘Change Analysis’ which help to identify which of the numerous facts that may emerge are really the most significant. However, students and working professionals from different disciplinary backgrounds often have difficulty in engaging with teamwork and learning.
For each case study, a brief background of the accident and the marine emergency that followed is provided, and the official safety investigation reports are briefly discussed. Then each case study is used to demonstrate different stages of the process of learning from accidents; from investigating the accident and interviewing witnesses, to identifying the root causes of the emergency, eliciting views for possible improvements, and implementing measures through proper guidance for lessons learned.
This section introduces three case studies; namely the loss of the ‘Estonia’ in 1994, the collision between the ‘Sea Diamond’ and a reef in 2007, and the ‘Herald of Free Enterprise’ disaster in 1987. These case studies are quite well-known and have been thoroughly investigated, so a substantial amount of information is available.
One of the most effective ways to learn about safety and emergency preparedness in the maritime industry is to analyze real-life case studies of maritime accidents and emergencies. By doing so, maritime safety professionals and researchers can identify the underlying causes and contributing factors of accidents, and study how safety improvements can be made in light of lessons learned.
4.1 Analysis of Maritime Accidents and Emergencies
When a maritime accident or emergency occurs, the first step is usually rescue and mitigation of the impact. The accident or emergency is then analyzed in detail to identify failures in the relevant safety management systems and to form safety recommendations and other findings. Analysis of maritime accidents can be approached from various angles and perspectives, such as the management errors perspective and the violations perspective. Over the years, a large number of frameworks and models has been proposed in the literature for the systematic analysis of accidents, each focusing on different aspects of the accident causation process and each differing in the level of detail at which it operates. One of the most well-known models is the Accident Causation Model proposed by Professor Reason in 1997. In this model, it is assumed that accidents tend to occur as a result of a chain of error developments starting from latent conditions. These error developments are normally classified into error types such as the decision errors, perceptual errors and skill-based errors. Professor Reason proposed that the basic conditions of a given system, which reflects the various latent failures in equipment, personnel, working environment and organizational factors, are the long-term sources of accident opportunities. He argued that these “latent conditions” are shaped via various mechanisms and factors and will eventually lead to the “active failures”. The “active failures” represent the unsafe acts and directly lead to the incident itself. However, he pointed out that these “active failures”, represented by two types of unsafe acts of “errors” and “violations”, often simply initiate the accident sequence by moving the flawed system to a more hazardous state. Then, the actual harm or damage is done by the further environmental disturbances and increased likelihood of the active failures. The Accident Causation Model classifies the error developments into error types such as the decision errors, perceptual errors and skill-based errors as discussed above. The model has been widely used and applied to various industries such as aviation, healthcare and maritime and has been proven to be a successful analysis tool in various accident investigations. Professor Reason’s model is largely based on a generalization of a number of accidents and human causal factors, which enhances the flexibility and adaptability of the model depending on the specific requirements of the analysis. Such an approach is very attractive to researchers and professionals and in practice the model is normally customized and supplemented by other models and new technological developments. In the maritime context, the systemic issues and isolated views on safety matters are believed to be one of the limitations in safety analysis. The model suggests that safety performance should be derived and monitored from many perspectives and levels, instead of being judged by the existence or absence of a particular contributing factor. This can be translated to the development of a holistic and dynamic risk-based safety management regulatory framework in the maritime sector, which features continuous amendment and adjustments in various safety processes and technologies. It is also indicated in the general view of the model that the provision of a safe working environment and safety cultures are essential for the mitigation measures to work properly. However, the challenge from a practical perspective lies in the effective and consistent establishment of such conditions in the maritime industry.
4.2 Identifying Root Causes and Contributing Factors
Root cause analysis is a collective term that describes a wide range of approaches, tools, and techniques used to uncover causes of problems. It’s widely used in the maritime industry and throughout the world in many industries and fields to find solutions to problems and to facilitate an organization’s or accident investigators keeping similar problems from happening again. Learning from experience is fundamental to successful safety and health management and in legislation. There’s a requirement for employers to carry out such accident investigations and learn from them, and in very serious instances, there may be. The identification of root causes is therefore a crucial element of any accident investigation. These changes to that safety management system will help mitigate the risks of an accident of a similar nature happening again. For example, increased inspections will help early identification of equipment failure; that a long precondition to the primary cause and its that fact that an obstruction in the docking area had not been reported. Also, as the analysis indicates, it wasn’t just a series of arbitrary things that all occurred at the same time – there was actually a logical sequence by which one event to another lead to the lifting significant events which of course is the lifting operation, the accident that happened to the individual. The critical step in the course for the primary cause would then be the control and emergency response because the Management Team has identified that the most important objective when conducting accident investigations. The evidence recording process of an accident should be to develop a prevention mindset. Such investigations are not just seen as a tool for safety and health practitioners, its steps to establish the occurrence of a default and the mid and long-term measures need to be in place to prevent a recurrence and to bring the preliminary makes the next better. The process of getting investigating teams up to speed with new accident investigation involving several departments and a contract maintenance worker who suffered a broken leg due to falling from the end of a ladder while cleaning a crane. The ladder was of a kind which could be opened up to give additional support and there was no warning signage on the ladder. The investigation of an operation. The investigation found that the ladder had been defectively maintained because there were missing screws and also screws of a size that were not appropriate. In addition, it was noted that there was no adequate system of maintenance for the ladder.
4.3 Implementing Safety Improvements and Lessons Learned
Finally, the Maritime Safety Council reviews all recommendations and coordinates the implementation of safety improvements. The Maritime Safety Council is a panel comprised of representatives from various sectors of the shipping industry, such as vessel owners, terminal operators, and longshore workers. The Council ensures that any safety improvement proposed as a result of a marine incident investigation is thoroughly reviewed and evaluated by those with industry knowledge and experience. A long history of the maritime industry’s continuously improving safety and environmental protection is possible on the basis of lessons learned from accidents and from cooperative efforts of these industry stakeholders. By enacting lessons learned through the USCG’s sophisticated apparatus for promulgating newly identified Safety Alerts and disseminating existing Lessons Learned and ensuring that all such information is disseminated among industry members and their management, the safety and security of maritime workers and the marine environment could be further enhanced. And the activities and functions of the Maritime Safety Council can be evaluated and improved, in light of today’s maritime industry’s trend of seeking greater focus on professionalism, quality, and efficient operation, as well as maintaining high regard for the safety of human life and environmental protection. Initial and additional membership to the Maritime Safety Committee is no longer a discretionary matter, even though the statute seems to be silent on the mandate of any involvement of sub-agencies of the Coast Guard, or for that matter, the Maritime Safety Council in its regulatory work. It is arguable that during the years while both the general maritime health regulation and the pilot safety statute were silent as to any regulations that the extended members penally scant, the USCG could take advantage of the knowledge and experience on board to summarize the conditions on maritime health and pilot safety, and duly promulgate the appropriate legislation. The USCG, through its internal evaluation processes, has also identified areas of the agency’s safety program which could benefit from incorporation of lessons learned from such incidents. The position of the Maritime Safety Council within the overall scheme of formulating policy and establishing regulations for maritime health and safety has changed with the recent growth of the USCG’s safety program; and it is submitted that one of the immediate and most significant potential impacts of the Marine Safety Council’s evaluation and improvement of its activities and functions is that it may facilitate the long-awaited shift from the traditional focus on coast guarding to a modern pattern of safety management based on the overall and concerted efforts of industry stakeholders and the government.

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