How many Accidents happen at Sea
Establishing accurate and comprehensive figures on the number of lives lost at sea has been notoriously difficult for a number of well-known reasons. Statistics usually include the deaths of passengers, leading to distortions when one incident may involve large loss of life.
Much also depends on the degree of compliance by flag states with IMO requirements on reporting serious casualties which include those involving loss of life, although the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) does legally require each state to cause an inquiry and cooperate in investigations.
The IMO Marine Casualties and Incidents database contains information collected on ship casualties from investigation reports received at IMO, and from factual data collected from various sources, although the data can’t be guaranteed.
During the 12-month period 2015-2016, figures show 206 cases of which 86% were deemed very serious or serious. These figures show an increasing improvement on the previous periods where total reported cases on the database showed 310 for 2014/15, 393 for 2013/14 and 433 for 2012/13. Whilst this provides an encouraging picture of improved health and safety at sea, it is not a predictor of trends and may not include all incidents.
Each of these cases represents the vessels rather than the total the volume of individual casualties from each ship. However, as an indicator, in 2012 the IMO Secretariat counted 1051 lives lost, compared with 1095 in 2011, 1501 in 2010, 2395 in 2009 and 1942 in 2008.
The numbers are improving.