615
1 INTRODUCTION
SincethetragedyofRMSTitanic,maritimesafetyhas
become an issue constantly referred to by
internationalorganisations, agencies,insurance
companies, maritime administrations and all those
interested and involved in the sea freight services.
Thesourceliteraturefeaturesnumerouspublications
addressing the issue of maritime safety enforcement
and improvement, accident reports, statistics on the
numberofdangerousoccurrences,tota
llossofvessels
alongwiththecausesoftheloss,andthenumberof
humancasualtiesandpeopleinjuredintheaccidents.
The aim of the article is to present the opinion of
vesselsʹcrewsonthesafetyonboardandinma
ritime
areas, as well as to evaluate existing safety
managementsystems.
Maritime areas are a driving force for the global
economy. Whatever issues limiting the freedom of
movement of vessels, caused by external or internal
factorsi.e.:interferenceofthirdparties(unauthorised
persons), adverse weather conditions, collisions,
technical failures, errors committed by people, or
other failures and events which would generate a
chainof unwantedevents, ma
yleadtoaneconomic
crisisaffectingvariousindustries.
Seasandoceansconstituteastrategicpotentialfor
the European Union, and any disturbances in sea
freightmayleadtoseriouseconomiclossesandeven
to an economic crisis. Therefore, ensuring the wide
understoodsafetyfortheEUshallbeapriority.The
ma
jorityoftheworldʹscommercialports,amounting
to the number of 1,200 are located in the EU.
Moreover, there is a commercial fleet which
constitutes 25% of the worldʹs registered tonnage.
90%of thetra
dewith countriesoutsidetheEU,and
40%ofinternaltradewithintheEUisperformedby
sea. That includes energyproducing raw materials
40%ofoiland15%ofnaturalgas.
Accordingtothedataavailablefromtheaccident
reportsissuedbyEuropeanMaritimeSafetyAgency
in 2015 were reported: nearly 3296ma
rine
The Analysis of the Causes of Emergencies on the
Vessels
A.Mrozowska
PolishNavalAcademy,Gdynia,Poland
ABSTRACT:Thearticlediscussestheresultsofresearchconductedonthevessels,coveringawidespectrumo
f
issuesrelatingtotheexploitationofvesselsofvariousflags,aswellasoperatingsecurityandsafetysystemson
board.Themainaimofthestudywastocollectnumbersofdatadirectlyfromthecrew,forexamples:indicate
bythecrewmarineareaswiththegreatestprobabilityofoccurrenceofcasualtiesandincident
s,tryingtothe
definition the causes of their occurrence, prevention actions used on board and analyses operating safety
systemsusedonthevarioustypeofvessels.Theanalysisofresearchbecamethebasistoidentifystrengthsand
weaknesses areas of the vessel operation. The author proposes a solution to be implemented on boa
rd and
emphasizesmeaningofsafetymanagementsystem.
http://www.transnav.eu
the International Journal
on Marine Navigation
and Safety of Sea Transportation
Volume 11
Number 4
December 2017
DOI:10.12716/1001.11.04.06
616
casualties,1700cargoshipswereinvolvedinmarine
casualties and incidents, 115 fatalities, 976 persons
injured, 36 ships lost [EMSA, 2016] Hence, appear
number of questions in the surveyfor examples:
ʺHaveyoubeenanonboardcrewmemberduringa
collision with another vessel, object (navigation
beacon,berth),
submarinebase?ʺ
2 ANALYSISOFSURVEYSCONDUCTEDAMONG
POLISHCREWS
The participants of the survey were Polish seafarers
working on vessels of various flags, sailing in
international shipping. 67% of the surveyed were
peoplewithover15yearsofexperience,workingon
ships, holding positions of a chief officer, a master,
two of them worked as a deckhand. Extensive
experienceofrespondentsreflected notonlyintheir
longstanding practice, they also had a chance to
acquire their competences on different types of
vessels, i.e.: general cargo vessels, container ships,
bulk carriers, oil tankers, chemical tankers, gas
carriers,carcarriers,ro
ropassengervessels,cruisers,
oilfield vessels, as well as on fishing vessels or
yachts.
2.1 Marinecasualtiesandincidentsmaritime
Marine casualties are always highly distressing
experiences,especiallyforpeople involvedandtheir
families, but also for all those interested in the
situationinthewatersoftheWorldOcean.
83%ofthe
surveyed have not experienced the emergency
situation. Other people had been involved in such
eventsinports, wherethree people hadbeen killed.
None of the above cases featured the sinking of the
vessel, the damaged vessels entered the port, and
thentheshipyard.
The event, considered
to be one of the most
hazardoussituationsthatcanoccuronthevesselisa
fire. If thefireisnoticed on timeand an immediate
fire extinguishing actions are taken,the tragedy can
be averted. The efficient operation of the crew is
ensured throughout regular monthly (or even more
frequent)firedrills consistingofexercises wherethe
crew members practice fighting a simulated fire on
the vessel. As an answer to the survey question
referringtothefireonthevessel,58%ofparticipants
respondedthattheyhaveexperiencedafireontheir
vessel including such situations as: fire
in a cooling
unitofarefrigeratedtruck,fireinthelaundryroom,
fireinan electricpump‐a shortcircuit of electrical
wiring(Figure1).
Noliveshavebeenlostduringtheaforementioned
eventsandthefireswereextinguishedbyfirefighting
measures available on the vessels. In three of those
cases,thefirewasquicklyextinguishedandtherewas
nodamagetothevessel.However,inthecaseoffire
inthecoolingunitoftherefrigeratedtruck,thelosses
weresignificant andthevessel was unfitfor further
operation due to the damage to the electrical
installation, which prevented
the work of such
equipment as i.e.: winch moorings or stern ramps.
The fire was difficult to locate because there were
severaldozensofothervehiclesonthecardeck,and
densesmokepreventedrapidlocationofthesourceof
fire.What madethefire evenmore difficultto spot,
was
thelocationoftheburningunitwhichhadbeen
on the truck instead of next to it. Due to the high
temperature it fell into the trailer and was burning
inside.
Another dangerous event is a man overboard.
Regardless of the time or place of event, such a
situation requires
an immediate search and rescue
operation.42%ofthesurveyedreportedthattheyhad
witnessedamanoverboardsituation(Figure2).
Figure1. Theanswerto the surveyquestion referring to a
fireonthevessel.
Figure2. The answer to the survey question referring to
MOBsituation.
Thosesituationsincludedi.e.:industrialaccidents,
where a crew member fell overboard due to a lift
crane breakdown, notice a man overboard event,
wheretheaffectedpersonhadnotbeenamemberof
therescuingcrew,amanoverboardevent,wherethe
affected person suffered from hypothermia and fell
overboard while
trying to pass from one vessel to
another. Noteworthy was the case of a person who
fell into the water from 12 metres, and being in the
state of shock, swam several dozens of metres to a
nearbystandbyvesselwhosecrewpulledtheaffected
persononboardusinga
safetynet.Duetothefall,the
person had numerous skin injuries and bruises as
well as broken ribs, but after being airborne to the
hospital and receiving the first aid, did not require
617
furtherhospitalization.Therootcauseofthisaccident
wasmostlikelyhasteandroutine.Itshouldbenoted
that the maximum altitude for a safe jump into the
watershouldnotexceed7metresprovidingthatthe
jumpermaintainsaspecificbodyposition(safetytips
forjumpers).Whenthebody
positionisinappropriate
forthejumpintothewater,itcanleadtonumerous
injuriesincludingbackinjury.
Another man overboard situation occurred when
it was noticed that one of the passengers of a roro
passenger vessel sailing in the Baltic Sea, was
reported missing. Most likely the event
occurred in
the central part of the Baltic Sea. The immediate
search and rescue operation was not successful and
themissingpersonnotfound.
Tohaveabiggerpictureofsituationsoccurringin
maritimeareas,oneofthesurveyquestionsrelatedto
search and rescue operations. Two of the surveyed
admitted
participation in such operation, where the
rescuegroupwaslookingforamissinghelicopter.In
both situations the missing helicopters were
transporting offshore rig crews. The missing
helicopter was transporting the crew of an offshore
rigoperatingonanoilfieldlocatedonmaritimeareas
of Angolain the first,and
of Norwayinthe second
situation.Therearerecordsofotheraviationaccidents
involving helicopters.Due to numerous accidents
involving helicopters Super Puma, the European
Aviation Safety Agency issued executive order
groundingcivilhelicoptersAS332L2SuperPumaand
H225LP.Noneofthecreworpassengersoftheabove
mentionedmissinghelicopters
survivedtheaccident.
The inspection of the wrecks of the helicopters
showedthattherewasnochanceforthepeopleinside
to get out of the machine after it hit the water.
Everyone who flies a helicopter is required to
complete evacuation training‐Helicopter under
water escape‐HUET. Evacuation is
possible only
when the helicopter falls on the water surface and
starts sinking slowly, however, it wouldnʹt stand a
chance when it falls into water at high speed, as it
wouldhappeninthecaseofasuddenbreakdownof
the rotor, propeller, or other helicopterʹs loadlifting
elements.

2.2 Operationofsafetymanagement systemsonvessels
Emergency response plan for vessels shall be
developed according to the requirements of
ResolutionIMOA.852(20)asamendedbyResolution
A.1072(28) adopted as at December 4th, 2013. In
addition, pursuant to the ISM Code (International
Safety Management Code), item 1.2.2.2., the ship
Ownerisobligedto:identifyanyhazardoussituation
for vessels, the crew as well as any situation which
maybehazardoustotheenvironment;setinplaceall
appropriate safety measures in the event of the
occurrenceofsuchsituations.Pursuanttoitem1.2.2.3
oftheISM,theshipowneris
obligedtoensuretothe
shipbased and shorebased personnel, continuous
safety management trainings, including preparation
for emergencyoperations,carried out in compliance
withtheprovisionsofsectioneightoftheISMCode
EveryvesselshouldhaveanEmergencyContingency
Planforanypossibleonboardemergencysituations
as
wellasprocedureswhichshouldbeundertakenin
theiroccurrence.
Question No 9 of the survey related to the
implementationofthecontingencyplanforshipboard
emergencies by the crew members. 78% of the crew
membersrespondedthattheplanisuseful,however,
is the competence of the crew that determines
its
properuse,20%statedthattheplaniscompleteand
its contentprovides for efficientemergency
operations, 2% considered that the plan requires
amendmentsandupdates(Figure3).
Figure3.Theanswertothesurveyquestionreferringtothe
implementation of the contingency plan for shipboard
emergencies.
Emergencyproceduresavailableonthevesselare
developed for its personnel to ensure an adequate
crisisresponse.Theproceduresshallbepreparedand
available to the crew in such a way so they can be
appliedatanytimeofemergency.Responses tothis
questionsuggestthatthecrewacceptthe
procedures.
Proper emergency response and implementation of
thoseprocedures,however,isnʹtdeterminedbytheir
provisions but by the knowhow of the crew
members. What it means is that the emergency
procedures available on board cannot foresee and
coverallpossiblehazardoussituations.Letʹstakethe
procedure in
the event of a fire on the vessel as an
example. There could be different types of fire
emergency depending on the source of fire, its
location,thetypeofvesselanditsequipmentinfire
extinguishing systems. First of all, emergency
procedureshavetobeuptodateandavailable
tothe
crewmembers.Thecrewmembersshouldacceptthe
proceduresandbetrainedintheirimplementation.In
order to be useful, the procedures should be
constantlyreviewedandupdated.AskedʺHowoften
do you submit comments to the office/supervisor/
DesignatedPersonAshore,ifyounoticeirregularities
(nonconformities)inemergency
proceduresanddaily
dutiesprocedures?ʺ,78%ofthesurveyedresponded
thattheydoitimmediately,assoonastheynoticethe
nonconformities, 10% of the surveyed submit their
commentsononceayear/once amonth basis, while
12%neversubmitcomments(Figure4).Thesurvey
618
shows that the 12% of surveyed who never submit
feedback were employed as deckhand. Other crew
members holding positions of chief officers and
masters verify the timeliness of the procedures and
givecurrentfeedbackstopersonsresponsibleforthe
updates.
Figure4.Theanswertothesurveyquestionreferringtothe
commentssubmittotheoffice/DPA.
The freightsafetycan be perceived as a complex
systemFigure 5,whoseinteracting elementsare:the
marine environment, the vessel, the cargo and the
crew. These elements are mutually interconnected
and connected with many various external links
which may have a direct or indirect impact on the
operation of the
whole system and the level of
security.
Figure5. Mutual correlation of the system elements in
maritimeareas.
Howevertheweakpointisthefactthatthereisno
onestandardofthedocumentationforeachoperators
in the marine areas. It maybe a cause of
incomprehension and extension operation especially
during search and rescue operation. Thefact is that
the management of vessels was on inadequate level
before
implementationofrequirementsofISMCode.
Therewasnotenoughlinksbetweenvesseloperation
and support form Company. The tragedy at sea
before1996weretheexamples.
The next question related to the operating
procedures contained in the safety management
systemimplemented onthevessel. Accordingto the
internationalrequirements
andregulationsoftheflag
State,everyvessel shallhaveinplaceanoperational,
updatedsafetymanagementsystemwhichshouldbe
subjected to systematic internal and external audits.
The aim of the system is to provide safe working
conditions,reduce leveloffatalitiesandinjured and
protection to the environment and
property. Hence
came the idea of surveying the crews about their
opinion on the subject. 50% of the surveyed
respondedthatsafetymanagementsystems improve
safetyatwork,while38%ofthesurveyedbelievethat
theyareuseful,thoughtheircontentdoesnotextend
to all possible circumstances. 12% of
the surveyed
statedthatproceduresofsafetymanagementsystems
are too long and illegible, therefore, they should be
modifiedtoamoreusableformsuchasi.e.:patterns
ofconduct.
Operation of the safety management system is
described in Safety Management System Manual
guide book. It is a document that contains
a set of
procedures, instructions and guidelines specific for
eachvessel.ThedocumentationoftheSystemwhich
areincorporatedonboardandonShore(Shipowner)
takesthefollowingstructure:
Safety and environmental protection policy‐
established,implementedandcarriedout.
Ship owner’s responsibilities and authority‐
organizational structure, providing resources
for
thesafeoperationofthevessel.
DesignatedPerson Ashore‐coordinator between
the vessel and the shore, taking action in
emergency situations as well as during daily
operation,maintainingcontact24/7.
Masterʹsresponsibilityand authority‐authority
tomakedecisionstoensurethesafetyofthecrew,
protectionof
theenvironment,maintenanceofthe
vessel.
Resources and personnel providing adequately
skilled and trained crew on the vessel and
ensuringadequatesupportfromtheshore.
Development of the vessel manual‐ operating
instructions on the vessel to ensure proper
operation and in compliance withsafety
principles.
Emergency
preparedness‐hazard identification
andthedevelopmentofoperationalproceduresfor
dangeroussituations.
Reporting and analysis of nonconformities,
accidents and hazardous occurrences reporting
andanalysisofevents.
Maintenance of the vessel and its equipment‐
ensuring the conduct of surveys and inspections,
earlydetectionoffaults.
Supervision of the
system documentation
keepingexistingdocumentsuptodate.
Review of the operation of the system‐the
conduct of systematic internal and external
controls verifying the proper operation of the
system Continuous improvement of the system
anditsadaptationtochangingconditions.
While developing this document, the following
important
internal regulations should be taken into
account:typeofshippingoperations,i.e.type/typesof
vessels, character of the management company/ship
owner (size, type, location, organizational structure
etc.), also external requirements identified by:
international organizations, the flag State as well as
local regulations and regulations of classification
societies,shouldbeputinto
consideration.Company
which complies with the requirements shall be
awarded theDocumentof ComplianceDoC (DoC is
619
validfor5yearsandshouldbeconfirmedonannual
basis by the maritime administration appropriate to
thespecific shipmanagemententity),and theSafety
Management Certificate SMC (SMC is valid for 5
years and should be confirmed between 2d and 3d
years by the administration of the flag
State of the
vessel). Absence of valid DoC certificate or its
annulment, due to various factors, such as:
incompatibilities identified during external audits,
lack of awareness, accidents shall result in the
suspensionofoperationofalltheshipsregardlessof
their current location. Absence of valid SMC
certificateshallresult
inthedetentionoftheshipuntil
theissuanceofavalidSMCcertificate.Itisalsoworth
noting that, shall any irregularities occur on the
vessel,theinspectionofthePortStateControlPSC
hasrighttosuspendtheSMCcertificate.Anexample
ofsuchirregularitiescouldbeinappropriate
manning
ofthevessel,accordingtoPrinciplesofSafeManning,
or technical breakdowns, defective navigation
equipment and a number of other irregularities or
negligence.ISM nonconformities have the highest
score (points) and can led to the detention of the
vessel, until the irregularities are removed or the
second inspection at
the next port. In this case, a
numberofmeasuresshouldbeundertakeninorderto
removetheirregularities.
2.3 Causesofthecollisionofvesselsandaccidentsatwork
Accidentsthatoccurinmarineareasandonboardof
vessels constitute the basis for analysis of events.
They aim to
determine the causes of accidents and
implement appropriate prevention measures which
wouldprecluderecurrenceofsuchsituations.
Inresponsetothesurveyquestionaboutthemost
possible causes of collision of vessels, the crew
membersstatedthatin43%itisduetoanerrorofthe
person on watch,
26%, believe that is a sequence of
adverse events, and 14% believe that it is due to a
delayedresponsetothethreat.8%ofsurveyedstated
that unfavourable weather conditions are the cause
collisionofvessels,6%gave thefailureofthedevices
as the cause of collisions, and 3%
said that other
causesmostlyroutinearetoblame(Figure6).
Anexampleofsucheventcanbeacollisionofthe
container ship CORVUS J with the car carrier Baltic
Ace on December 5th 2012, which occurred in the
NorthSea39nauticalmilessouthwestofRotterdam,
inhigh
trafficarea.AsaresultofthecollisionBaltic
Aceheeledoverandsankwithin15minutes;11crew
memberslosttheirlives inthesea,13 wererescued.
ʺIt was found that the most likely cause of the
accident was a mutual misunderstanding of
intentions by the watch keeping
officers. The vast
amount of information available for the watch
keeping officers, while insufficient number of crew
members on both vessels, however, permissible by
the regulations, have also contributed to the
occurrenceoftheaccident.Lossoflifeexperiencedby
so many crew members was inevitable, as the ship,
whosebroadside
wascrushed,hadnotbeendesigned
to survive this kind of eventʺ [StateCommission on
MaritimeAccidentInvestigation,2016].
Figure6 Theanswer tothe surveyed question referring to
themostpossiblecausesofcollisionofthevessel.
DuringthecollisiononthebridgeoftheBalticAce
therewereawatchkeepingofficerandanapprentice,
whileonthebridgeofthecontainershiptherewasa
watch keeping officer. The STCW Convention of 95,
Chapter VIII, section AVIII/2, part 3, provides that:
ʺTheofficerin
chargeofwatchcanbetheonlywatch
keeper during the daytime (taking into account
weathercondition,visibility, heavytrafficetc.)ʺ.The
accident occurred at 6:15pm. Keeping watch by a
single officer without assistance of a crew member
holding Atype permissions,increasestheriskofan
accident.
Aseafarer
ʹsjobcouldbehazardousbydefinition,
regardless of external or internal factors. A possible
accidentcouldoccurwhileperformingdailyactivities
on the vessel, such as: maintenance works, surveys,
inspections, repairs, or any routine operations. The
surveyedcrewswere askedaboutthemaincauseof
accidentsatwork.44%
respondedthatthemaincause
istheroutine,and33%ofsurveyedpointedtowards
the noncompliance with the safety management
systemprocedures,while15%thinkthatthefaultlies
with the lack of abilities and predispositions for the
job, namely, that inept people hold responsible
positionsonvessels(Figure7).

Figure7.Theanswertothesurveyedquestionreferringto
themaincauseofaccidentsatwork.
Everyseafarershallcomplywiththenaturallaws
of the sea, which is truly expressed through the
following words ...ʺThe sea knows no compromise,
its laws are consistently harsh, its strength is huge,
anditsgenerosity isboundless.Ithasmuch togive,
though it requires complete and utter devotion
ʺ
[Voss,1968].
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2.4 Onboardtrainings
Thequestionarisesastowhattodotopreventmarine
accidents, how to improve working conditions,
ensuretheprotectionofthemarineenvironmentand
propertyand,aboveall,howtoincreaseawarenessof
therisks.
To the question relating to onboard trainings,
100% of
all respondents replied that trainings on
board of the vessel improve ability to act in
emergency situation and constitute a practical
preparationofthevesselʹspersonneltoactinastate
ofemergency(Figure8).
Figure8.Theanswertothesurveyedquestionreferringto
the improve ability of the crew to act in emergency
situation?
Theshipowner or managershallensure that the
crewarepreparedtoactinemergencysituationsand
therefore shall organise training and workshops for
thecrewmembers,supervisethecrewskillsanddraw
upreportswhichwouldclearlypresentthestrengths
and the stretches of the crew.Asked whether
regular
trainingsorganised bytheshipmanagement
willimprovethesafetyofthevessel,50%ofthecrew
members respondedʺyesʺ, and that those trainings
constitute an addition to their regular emergency
alarm drills, 40% of the crew also gave a positive
response, admitting that the trainings will improve
the
safetyprovidingthattheyarecarriedoutarebya
professional team focusing on the crewʹs ability to
work in an emergency state, while 10% replied that
those trainings are waste of time and that the crew
membersshallpractice selftrainingsaccordingtothe
emergencyalarmpractice.
Other practices
that can reduce the hazard of an
accident at work are: the Job Safety Analysis and
discussions about a given piece of work, called
ʺToolbox talksʺ, which should be carried out before
the piece of work gets started. 62% of the surveyed
responded that this is a good way
to get ready for
your tasks, and 38% responded that this is a good
way to get ready for your tasks providing that the
tasks are newandnever performed before. None of
thecrewmemberssaidthatthosetoolsareawasteof
time or constitute additional bureaucracy, because
theyarediscussedwhileissuingworkpermits.
Next question referred to the emerging
information about the introduction ofʺunmanned
vesselsʺ, whether the crew believed that electronic
devices can replace men in the future‐90% of
surveyed gave a negative and 10% a positive
response.
Nosophisticateddevicewouldreplacethe
vesselʹs
mannedcrew.Ontheotherhandanunmannedvessel
wouldbeaneasytargetforpiratesandterrorists.
Thelastquestionreferredtotheareasconsidered
as the most dangerous in terms of maritime safety.
Therespondentswereaskedtojustifytheirchoice.
Theanswerswerethefollowing:
In terms of hazard due to the heavy traffic on
maritime watersthesurveyed selected i.e.: traffic
separation schemes, narrow channel, areas with
increasedfishingandtouristactivity,
IntermsofpiracySomalia,HRAandNigeria.
In terms of weather conditions: cyclone areas,
ScottishIslands(currentsand
windsfromdifferent
directions‐navigation in this area requires
additional information primarily from the local
people).
Intermsofheavytrafficandineptlocalseafarers
who do not comply with COLREG Convention‐
theChinaSeas.
In terms of breaching the safety limits‐cargo
overload.
The North Sea‐
in terms of extremely strong