'Intolerable rate of fatalities'
Nautilus, the trade union that represents 24,000 maritime professionals at sea and ashore, has said that there are many shipping accidents where no independent investigation ever takes place, reports are never published, trends never identified and lessons never learned".
‘What an atrocious state of affairs, and no wonder this is an industry that labours under an image problem,’ said Nautilus Secretary Allan Graveson at the first Marine Accident Prevention & Investigation conference in London.
‘Some Flag States will argue that they do not have the resources for adequate investigations,’ Graveson continued in a scathing attack. Pointing out that many Registries were being run 'in what is little more than an offshore bank', Graveson asked delegates, ‘In such cases, should States be allowed to register ships? I think not. If you are a Flag State you have to discharge the responsibilities that come with the often very attractive income that registration generates. Those that fail to discharge these responsibilities must be named and shamed, and ultimately stripped of their status as a Flag State.’
Nautilus says that casualties due to fatigue, in lifeboat drills and during enclosed space entry are on the rise and that even the best Registries are sometimes of improper investigation and analysis. Graveson said, “There is a need for investigations to go beyond the immediate causes of an incident and wide-ranging recommendations that not only prevent the same incident but similar incidents where associated factors have a potential adverse influence. Above all, there should be decisive regulatory action. The latter is difficult to achieve in an international environment where some Flag States are dependent upon revenues from shipping and are reluctant to be seen as pressing for what are frequently referred to as ‘burdens’ on the industry for fear of scaring away ship owners from their Registry".
“There is still a considerable way to go in an industry that has, and continues to accept, a rate of losses and fatalities that other sectors of industry would find intolerable,” Graveson concluded.