Last year saw the first time no seafarers died aboard UK flagged vessels over 100 gt, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch reported.
Before 2014, UK vessels averaged four deaths per year for the past decade, the MAIB said in its annual report released on 27 July. The MAIB’s records go back 50 years.
In addition, for the fifth consecutive year there were no losses of UK merchant vessels above 100 gt recorded. The last UK flagged merchant vessel lost was recorded in 2009.
The overall accident rate for UK merchant vessels in this size category was unchanged from 2013. The 120 casualties recorded represent a rate of 88 casualties per 1000 vessels on the UK fleet, according to the report.
Of these, 41% were service ships such as dredgers, offshore vessels and tugs, followed by passenger ships (29%) and solid cargo vessels (21%).
The remaining 9% was made up of liquid cargo and commercial recreational ships.
Meanwhile, 142 injuries to crew were recorded. The majority of these happened on the ship’s deck and involved injuries to upper and lower limbs.
The annual report also revealed that in total 59 recommendations were issued during 2014 to 63 addressees, of which 88.8% were accepted compared with 96.7% in 2013.
Among the recommendations were, for instance, one made as a consequence of the grounding of the 1,797 dwt general cargo vessel Danio off Longstone, Farne Islands in March 2013.
The recommendation sought to address seafarer fatigue, which continues to blight vessels trading in the short sea sector, by increasing the numbers of qualified watchkeepers on board such vessels.
Another recommendation was issued to the manufacturer of the ECDIS fitted to the 10,307 dwt chemical tanker Ovit, which ran aground on the Varne Bank in the Dover Strait in September 2013. Issues identified during the investigation related to the incorrect display of safety information and the failure of an alarm function.
However, the manufacturer’s observation that the failure was due to an installation, rather than a design problem has been accepted and this recommendation has been closed, said the report.