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The future of maritime safety

Maritime

What does the future hold for safety at sea and how should the industry adapt to prevent serious accidents from occurring and ultimately, save lives?

Any vessel at sea can be exposed to many dangers, from severe weather conditions to equipment failure, piracy, and unpredictable circumstances such as the recent Covid-19 pandemic and crew change crisis, resulting in exhausted crew members.  

Our latest research showcases three years of Inmarsat Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) vessel distress call data, providing unique insights into some of today’s trends, highlighting the need for a strong collaborative industry approach and cultural change to focus minds on true areas for concern and develop a vision for shipping’s future.

With the commercial vessel fleet growing by 4.1 per cent in 2019, the report logs 834 distress calls made by Inmarsat GMDSS service users in 2020, compared to 761 in the previous year. In capturing the broadly stable relationship between ships in service and distress call numbers, the report nonetheless highlights specific areas for attention. 

The report also establishes significant trends that merit close scrutiny by all stakeholders and offers a powerful example of the potential for analytics and new technology to provide the basis for a data-driven and more proactive safety to prevent serious accidents in the future.

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Key highlights

  • Includes the analysis of 3-years of aggregated distress data
  • Highlights a need for strong industry collaboration and technology support to prevent incidents and protect seafarers
  • Tankers and fishing vessels ranked highest in distress call numbers
  • Outlines Inmarsat’s position on safety modernisation and the future of proactive data-driven safety services

Key Findings

With a year on year increase in distress calls between Nov and Dec, climate change and the impact of extreme weather conditions are a growing cause for concern in the maritime sector 

Fishing vessels consistently rank in the top two vessel types for distress calls over the three-year period, as fleets deal with the growing challenge of bad weather caused by climate change 

Distress calls spiked in East Asia as Covid-19 unfolded in 2020

“We believe that the creation of an online anonymised data lake of safety information will allow us to identify weak spots and solutions, allocate resources and measure progress towards enhanced safety,” 

Peter Broadhurst, Senior Vice President of Safety & Security, Inmarsat Maritime

The report also includes opinion pieces from key industry thought leaders: -

  • Kitack Lim, International Maritime Organization
  • Guy Platten, International Chamber of Shipping
  • Ashok Srinivasan, BIMCO
  • Kuba Szymanski, International Ship Managers' Association
  • Stuart Edmonston, UK P&I Club