The UK’s Marine Accidents Investigation Branch (MAIB) has published its annual report for 2022 detailing the major incidents and concerns for the year, including the 1,263 marine casualties and incidents recorded for UK vessels and UK waters.

While the MAIB recorded over 250 fewer casualties and incidents compared to 2021, Chief Inspector Captain Andrew Moll still highlighted issues such as the higher number of larger fishing vessels that were lost and the deaths of three stevedores on the Berge Mawson. 

In his opening statement for the report, Moll said: “It was a challenging year but the branch remained focused on improving safety at sea and kept up its usual output of safety investigation reports, safety digests and safety bulletins.” 

Moll also spoke on the recommendations made by the MAIB in 2022, revealing that roughly 95% of the 38 recommendations given by the organisation had been accepted by their recipients and half of those had already been implemented. 

However, Moll also added: “While this is an excellent acceptance rate and a significant improvement on last year, it is disappointing that a number of recipients of older recommendations were unable to provide a target date for their implementation.” 

Looking at the overall data for incidents reported to the MAIB, 747 were included in the scope of the statistical review with the vast majority (513) being classed as marine incidents, while 13 were classed as very serious, an increase on the ten listed in 2021.

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While the total number of incidents was the second highest reported since 2018, MAIB also recorded a five-year low number of investigations started and the second lowest number involving loss of life. 

October saw the highest number of incidents that sparked an investigation with a total of six, including one into the uncontrolled turn of the powerboat Awesome off Tortola in the British Virgin Islands which resulted in multiple injuries and the loss of two lives.

Another major investigation into the three deaths aboard the Isle of Man-registered bulk carrier Berge Mawson, while loading coal in Indonesia, found three stevedores encountered a noxious atmosphere in the cargo hold. 

In response to the incident, Moll repeated the importance of ensuring that comprehensive safety briefs are conducted before working cargo and that crew take full ownership of access control, saying: “This is not the first time in recent years that stevedores have been caught out in this fashion.” 

That incident also came only four months after the UK government introduced legislation seeking to better protect seafarers working in enclosed spaces including requiring safety measures such as the provision of atmospheric testing equipment.