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Why Most Ship Casualties Are Mainly Of Human Error And What Are The Human Errors ?

Why Most Ship Casualties Are Mainly Of Human Error And What Are The Human Errors ?

Why Most Ship Casualties Are Mainly Of Human Error And What Are The Human Errors?

Sea transportation has been the major means of transporting cargo and passenger international. Transporting cargo via sea has been found to be the safest way for heavy cargo like Chemical, Oil, bulk cargo and others.

Meanwhile, we can still find some degrees of risk factors facing the sea transportation, and these risks are mainly casue by operators error. On this article, we will observe some example, list of ship operators error and other factors which can result to a big disaster to the ship operation.

As recorded, about 75-96% of marine accidents are caused by human errors and they occurs in these categories of operations and forms ;


• 84-88% mostly tanker accidents

• 79%  towing vessel grounding

• 89-96%  collisions

• 75%  Allison’s

•75% fires and explosions


2017 10 28 20.23.37
Ship Collision

When we talk about human errors, what do we mean?  Human error is mostly described as being one of the followings:


• Improperly performed action

• Incorrect decision

• Improper lack of action

• Incompetent of one’s duty


Probably the better way to explain human error is to provide examples from one real marine casualty’s; “Collision of Argentine freighter M/V Santa Cruz II and U.S. Coast Guard cutter Cuyahoga in the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Potomac River, Maryland, October 20, 1978.”

That collision was an example of human error. According the witness “The cause of the ship casualties was that the commanding officer of the USCGC CUYAHOGA failed to properly identify the navigation lights displayed by the M/V SANTA CRUZ II. As a result he did not comprehend that the vessels were in a meeting situation and altered the CUYAHOGA’s course to port taking his vessel into the path of the SANTA CRUZ II.”


With the above example and some other resent ship casualties you can remember, they are little mistakes that lead to lost of life’s and property.

Sometimes mistakes can also come from the engine department, due to engine failure. All of these issues are cause by ;


• Inadequate professionalism

• Careless of the duty officers ( to identify error)

• Purchase of professional diploma ( without due process)

• Improper maintenance of the PMS.

• Shore base officers Inadequate support to the onboard officers.


It’s very important that officers on board should be regularly checked as required for there duty competency, assist them by providing required requisitions or information for the smooth running of the ship operation.

Photo from the Facebook maritime page. only.

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