The policy of sustainable development, limited
possibilities of expanding the road and railway
infrastructure at the back of seaports in Poland cause
that with the increase of port turnover, problems with
their servicing increase. Therefore, the inland
waterway transport, environmentally friendly and not
requiring additional areas, is being included to
support sea ports with a distribution of its loads.
Inland waterways are not loaded with congestion,
they have large capacity reserves, and the large
capacity of the fleet and its mass allow for quick
discharge of congestion in ports. One large sea ship
can be served by 60 river vessels (225 trains and 9,000
cars), which additionally allows to increase the
transhipment efficiency. [Król'17]
The development of the Szczecin-Świnoujście and
Gdańsk ports makes it possible to observe increasing
pressure to raise the river class of the Oder and
Vistula, so that both rivers can be actively involved in
handling cargo delivered to the two largest seaports
in Poland. Thanks to such activities, it would be
possible to transfer a large part of logistics streams
from existing means of road and rail transport to river
transport vehicles. This is in line with the adopted
European Union transport policy, which assumes that
by the year 2030 30% of freight transported at
distances greater than 300 km should be delivered by
rail or water transport, and by 2050 - more than 50%
[White Paper] . This provision of the White Paper
aims to facilitate the development of ecologically
effective transport corridors. In connection with this,
it is planned to connect the most important seaports
with rail and river transport [Christowa'18].
The choice of inland waterway transport as an
alternative to road transport results from three
characteristics of this mode of transport:
lower energy intensity - water transport is the
most energy efficient form of transport. Diesel
consumption by inland waterway transport for
every 100 tonne-kilometres is lower than for other
The Analysis of Offenses in Inland Navigation in Poland
E. Skupień, A. Tubis & M. Rydlewski
Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, Wrocław, Poland
ABSTRACT: The article presents an analysis of offenses in inland navigation in 2013-2017, based on the number
and reasons for issuing fines by Offices of Inland Navigation in Poland. In the investigated period, in Poland,
over 1,300 fines were issued on the basis of five articles of the Act of 21st of December 2000 on Inland
Navigation. Based on the collected data, the most common reasons for punishing crews of inland vessels were
determined and the impact of these offenses on the safety of inland navigation in Poland was identified. In
addition, recommendations for changes in the classification of offenses were presented due to the too wide
spectrum of individual articles, which adversely affects the ability to interpret the most common offenses and
makes it difficult to assess the causes and effects of their occurrence.
the International Journal
on Marine Navigation
and Safety of Sea Transportation
Volume 13
Number 1
March 2019
DOI: 10.12716/1001.13.01.15
forms of transport, such as rail or car
lower emissions - according to German and EU
data, the external costs of inland water transport is
many times less than for other forms of transport.
The external cost of transport using inland
waterways for 1000 tonne-km is 19 euro less
compared to the same transport by road
[Wojewódzka-Król‘14] and
a higher level of transport safety.
This third aspect is of particular importance in the
research carried out by the authors, because it is
safety that is considered as one of the key parameters
describing the quality of transport [Rolbiecki'15].
Since inland waterway transport is perceived as one
of the safest transport systems, it is assumed that the
increase in its use in transport of cargoes may play a
special role in the process of improving the security of
transport in whole supply chains. This is due to the
fact that the number of registered accidents and
breakdowns in this mode of transport is much smaller
than the others, which positively affects the
assessment of the safety of transport operations.
Transport safety is concerned with the protection of
life and goods through regulation, supervision and
technology development of all forms of transportation
[Marquez’14]. In the safety analysis relating to
waterway transport, it has been concluded that the
boat is a major factor, also finding that passenger
boats like barges, tugs and tankers, are the vessels
that produce the greatest consequences when an
accident occurs; likewise, the risk in navigation
increases significantly caused by external factors such
as bad weather and waterway conditions [Zhang et
Due to the fact that inland waterway transport takes
place in limited area, in order to ensure its proper
functioning, it is important to define safe navigation
conditions within the entire inland waterway
transport system. For this reason, safety is described
by the following function [Łozowicka'15]:
,, , ,
ii iii
fDPHSI (1)
B – safety indicator for inland navigation,
i waterway parameters,
i – inland port parameters,
i – inland vehicles parameters,
i – hydro-meteorological conditions parameters,
i – traffic intensity parameters.
As it can be seen, the safety of transport in inland
navigation depends on a number of independent
variables, which are factors affecting the relations
between inland vessels and waterways, on which they
navigate. Research conducted by Kaup and
Łozowicka [Kaup'16] indicate that the most frequent
events on inland vessels include: technical failures,
fires and collisions with other vessels or infrastructure
facilities. Due to the parameters of waterways and
navigation in restricted waters, inland vessels are
exposed to grounding and close contact with other
vessels. For this reason, one of the basic factors that
have a major impact on the safety of navigation on
limited waters are the prevailing hydrometeorological
conditions and the intensity and intensity of traffic in
a given place and time [Łozowicka'15].
Another factor that can cause accidents on inland
waterways are the parameters of waterways (e.g.
length, width, depth) and the occurrence of numerous
hydrotechnical objects on them, including canals,
weirs, locks, slipways or water stages. They constitute
a potential source of danger in the event of their
malfunction or improper operation. Infrastructure
objects located above the waterway (e.g. high voltage
lines, pipelines), should also be maintained in a good
technical condition, because in the case of even
unfavourable weather conditions they may pose a
potential threat to the units passing under them
[Kaup'15]. Still other factors causing accidents are the
technical condition and parameters of inland vessels,
which are largely determined by the date and place of
their production [Łozowicka'15].
At the same time, studies on water transport
systems indicate that the cause of accidents are most
often [Neumann'18]:
accidents reason by unmeant human failure,
accidents reason intentionally by man,
accidents due to technical failures,
accidents due to poor weather.
In order to increase the level of safety in the
existing transport systems, telematics solutions are
being implemented more and more often. The
inclusion of inland waterway transport into
integrated transport chains, as recommended by the
European Commission, also requires the use of
telematics solutions to optimize and improve the
processes of cargo and passenger transport [Kaup'14].
These systems, through the combination of IT and
technical tools, are designed to effectively use the
existing in a given place and time linear and point
infrastructure of inland waterway transport. Also in
Poland, the RIS (River Information System) system
was introduced. The basic task of this system is to
create an interoperable, intelligent traffic and
transport management system, in order to optimize
existing transport capacity, increase the level of
inland waterway transport safety and improve
interaction with other modes of transport [Report'13].
The functioning of this solution is to ensure the
improvement of navigational safety on inland
waterways [Kaup'14].
Including inland waterway transport into
functioning supply chains, however, means
generating increased traffic on inland waterways.
This will significantly affect the parameters of water
traffic intensity, which are one of the elements
affecting the presented safety indicator. The intensity
of traffic is associated with an increase in the
requirements for the crew, in the aspect of
maintaining adequate caution in inland waterway
traffic and limiting dangerous behaviour. The state
should, therefore, ensure appropriate conditions for
carrying out the transport, guaranteeing proper
behaviour of crew members serving river vessels. One
of the tools that can be used are appropriately
formulated legal provisions that explicitly determine
possible offenses together with the penalties assigned
to them. As experience from the road transport
system shows, the amount of these penalties
significantly affects the respect of applicable laws
While navigating on rivers, ships and their crew can
undergo the inspection by Office of Inland
Navigation, on which area they navigate. The
inspection can be routine or caused by delation,
suspicious behaviour or as a consequence of an
In Poland regulations on traffic on inland
waterways are gathered in Act of 21st of December
2000 on Inland Navigation [Act’00]. This Act regulates
matters related to sailing in inland waters recognized
as navigable under the provisions of the Water Law
[Water’17]. In specific the act sets out:
administration authorities and their competences;
conditions of navigation;
rules for keeping an administrative registers;
safety requirements;
rules for the classification and maintenance of
inland waterways;
proceedings in the event of an accident; and
penal provisions.
In terms of the Act on Inland Navigation, directors
of Offices of Inland Waterways in Poland are to
adjudicate about guilt in an accident and inspectors of
this offices are entitled to give a mandate for offences.
Fine penalties are granted for offenses under
articles 58-62 of section 9 Act on Inland Navigation
The article 58 says: Who:
1 performs the carriage of loads contrary to the transport
documents or without a proof of payment for the
contribution to the Inland Navigation Fund,
2 performs carriage by a foreign ship not in accordance
with the provisions of international agreements or
transport permits,
3 sail in a foreign ship without a required permit,
4 does not fulfil the obligation to submit a registration
5 performs commercial transport of goods by ship with
load capacity greater than 200t without meeting the
professional ability requirement,
6 destroys, damages, moves or uses nautical signs for
mooring or dragging ships,
7 makes it impossible or difficult for inspectors of offices of
inland waterways to carry out their tasks,
is subject to a fine.
The article 59 says: Who opposes the obligation of:
1 entry of the ship into the register,
2 measurement of the ship,
3 immediately notify about the occurrence of a shipping
4 providing assistance in rescue operations,
is subject to a fine.
The article 60 says: Who navigates a ship without a
valid ship security document or a one-time travel permit is
subject to a fine.
The article 61 says: Who:
1 navigates a ship or occupies a position of a ship's crew
member without having an appropriate qualification
2 being a member of the ship's crew, does not have a
document confirming health conditions appropriate to
the position,
being a member of the ship's crew, does not have a
nautical work book,
is subject to a fine.
The article 62 says: Who goes against the regulations
1 traffic and signalling on inland waterways,
2 marking, equipment and documents of ships,
3 conditions of traffic and docking of ships on the
navigable route and in ports,
4 the composition of the ship's crew and working time
5 transport of hazardous materials by ships,
6 pilotage on inland waterways,
7 sanitary conditions on ships,
8 safety and work hygiene conditions on ships,
9 environmental protection,
is subject to a fine.
POLAND 2013-2017
Since 1st of October 2018, in Poland there were 8
offices of inland navigation (now there are 3). They
had their offices in: Bydgoszcz, Gdańsk, Giżycko,
Kędzierzyn-Koźle, Kraków, Szczecin, Warszawa and
Based on mandates given by inspectors of offices
of inland navigation in Poland in the years ‘13-‘17,
authors of this paper undertook a probe of estimation
a security status on Polish inland waterways.
The goal of this research was to point out the most
common reasons for punishing the crews of inland
vessels and the impact of these offenses on the safety
of inland navigation in Poland. It appears to be
difficult to fulfill because the cause of given mandate
is always described with a number of an article of the
Act (without further details), and mandates are often
granted for more than one offence.
Figure 1 presents numbers of mandates given by
Polish Offices of Inland Navigation in the years 2013-
2017. The number of mandates given by specific
Offices of Inland Navigation is correlated with an
area of operating. Gdansk and Szczecin operate on
estuary of big rivers and in the area of seaports.
Wroclaw has most of Polish canalized river sections
under its jurisdiction. And Gizycko is responsible for
Masurian Lake District, where many tourists sail. As a
consequence – this four offices give over 75% of all
mandated on Polish inland waterways. The other four
offices gives less than 10% of all mandates each.
Figure 1. Share of mandates given by offices of inland
navigation in the years 2013-2017
Figure 2. Number of mandates given by offices of inland
navigation in Poland in the years 2013-2017
Number of mandates given by particular offices of
inland navigation over 5 analyzed years differ, as it
can be seen on figure 2. It was caused by different
duration of navigation season on area of offices
jurisdiction – caused by e.g. navigation conditions
and closing/opening waterway sections due to
renovation of hydrotechnical equipment.
To refer to the safety of inland navigation in
Poland, types of offenses connected to ships traffic are
important. Figure 3 shows distribution of the given
mandates due to the reason (by articles of the Act).
The results of the carried out research shows that
over 60% of mandates were given as a result of
violation of article 62, and less than 5% of them were
about the article 58.
Figure 3. Distribution of mandates given by offices of inland
navigation in the years 2013-2017 due to the reason
Figure 4. Distribution of reason of giving mandates by
particular offices of inland navigation in the years 2013-2017
Figure 5. Share of particular offices in the given mandates
by the reasons
At the same time most of offices (5 of 8) gave more
than half of all mandates due to article 62 (figure 4).
Most of mandates were given with a similar share by
all of offices. Only mandates given due to the article
58 were mostly (over 70%) given by office of Szczecin
(figure 5).
As the mandates are given for offences described
by whole article of the Act, the authors tried to find a
general rule for each of them or at least shorten the
definition. The article 58 concerns mostly navigating
contrary to the transport documents; destroying
nautical signs and making it difficult for inspectors to
work. The article 59 concerns ships documents and
acting in the event of accident. The article 60 is short
itself and concerns navigating without security
document or a permit. The article 61 concerns crew
documents. The article 62 concerns traffic regulations;
ships equipment, crews working conditions and
environmental protection.
Previously it was indicated that over 60% of all
offences concerns article 62. That is the most extensive
article and concerns many problems, but is the only
one article concerning traffic on waterways. It may be
assumed that the traffic is the reason of most of the
offences. Therefor it would be strongly recommended
to extend the traffic issue and make the regulations
more specific in this field.
Nearly 20% of all mandates are given due to the
crew documents.
Smaller offices (Warszawa, Krakow, Kedzierzyn-
Kozle and Bydgoszcz) also give about 20% penalties
for lack of navigating permission.
Problem of ships documents is divers in all of
Office of Inland Navigation in Szczecin also marks
a problem with navigating contrary to the transport
documents; destroying nautical signs and making it
difficult for inspectors to work. The problem with
transport documents may be partly caused by the fact
that this office has under its jurisdiction international
waterway – border Oder.
The Act on Inland Navigation concerns many
important issues, one of them are offences in
navigating on Polish inland waterways. The
regulations included in 4 articles may be divided into
6 main groups - concerning:
1 ships documents,
2 crew documents,
3 ships equipment and crew composition,
4 traffic regulations,
5 acting in case of accident, making work of
inspectors harder, destroying nautical signs and
6 other.
Unfortunately this 4 articles and 6 pointed groups
do not match. All of this issues are mixed in articles
what makes it difficult to interpret.
The case of (1) ships documents appear in 3 of this
articles, (2) crew documents in 2 articles, (3) ships
equipment and crew composition is a part of a 1
article, similar to (4) traffic regulations, which could
be a subject of one extended article. (5) Acting in case
of accident, making work of inspectors harder,
destroying nautical signs are spread out in 3 articles,
instead of being in one.
The lack of clear order in the list of offences make
it hard to interpret for safety research but also for
inspectors and the punished. Dividing the offences in
a clear way could be helpful also for analyzing by
Central Statistical Office and other analyzes
conducted by researchers to improve conditions of
navigating on Polish inland waterways.
During investigated 5 years, Polish offices of
inland navigation registered 1386 mandates, which
makes over 277 mandates per year. In the year 2017
Polish inland waterway ships transported over 75
thousand tkm [CSO’18] which gives 3,7 mandates for
each 1 thousand tkm. Taking into account the fact,
that ships has a great load (ships exploited on Polish
waterways has on average 500ton capacity) - Polish
inland ships crews gets mandates quite often
(approximately once at every 150km of
transportation). This leads to the conclusion that in
spite not very clear regulations, inspectors of offices
of inland navigation in Poland work quite effective.
On the basis of conducted investigation, the authors
made some recommendations for changes in the
classification of offenses due to the too wide spectrum
of individual articles, which adversely affects the
ability to interpret the most common offenses and
makes it difficult to assess the causes and effects of
their occurrence. Nevertheless it is noticeable that
most mandates are connected to traffic offences which
has a direct impact on navigation safety.
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