Absence of IMO Shipping Casualty Reports a Matter of Concern

Press Release
Wednesday, May 08, 2013

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) joins with International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) submit a complaint to IMO.

The joint submission to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) comments on the apparent failure of some flag states to submit maritime casualty reports to IMO, which is a requirement under several international maritime conventions, including the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS).

ICS and ITF hope that governments will give consideration to this important issue at the next meeting of the IMO Maritime Safety Committee in June.

In accordance with SOLAS regulation I/21, maritime administrations undertake to conduct investigations into any casualty occurring on ships under their flag, and to supply IMO with pertinent information concerning the findings of such investigations.
As with other guidelines adopted by IMO, this is meant to include incidents defined as being a "very serious marine casualty" involving the total loss of the ship, a death, or severe damage to the environment.

“The lack of investigation and accident reports hinders the development of appropriate measures by IMO to address the cause of serious incidents in which seafarers may have lost their lives.” said ITF’s acting general secretary, Stephen Cotton. “It also frustrates efforts by ship operators to learn from the reports and to amend or develop new procedures, or implement other measures to prevent or mitigate similar future incidents.” says ICS secretary general, Peter Hinchliffe.

ICS and ITF have therefore suggested that further consideration be given by IMO to what constitutes “a very serious marine casualty” and the extent to which flag states should retain the latitude which they currently enjoy when determining whether the results of any investigation should be submitted to IMO.

As a first step, they have recommended that, in consultation with ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organization), IMO might consider whether any lessons might be learnt from the approach taken towards the submission and dissemination of accident reports within the aviation industry.

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