The first issue of the Swedish Transport Agency’s magazine, Sjötendenser (Maritime Trends), came out in the autumn in Swedish. It takes up maritime safety issues in a wider context and with a deeper analysis, among other things. The first issue focused on marine safety work after the Estonia catastrophe. Below is an excerpt. Sjötendenser can be read as a PDF at www.transporstyrelsen.se and www.san-nytt.se.
Estonia and safety culture
The Estonia tragedy put the spotlight on what are called safety culture issues. It is clear that Estonia’s bow door did not comply with the requirements for a collision bulkhead extension, but it seems to have been accepted by the Swedish and Finnish authorities. What this was due to is not possible to ascertain. There is no documentation and no decision on dispensation showing what the intentions were when the bow doors were approved. Another outstanding question is why the sea area for Viking Sally/Estonia was changed in the international passenger ship certificate. There was no decision taken by the Finnish or Estonian authorities that this should be so, but it appears that the restriction just disappeared. The third cultural issue relates to accidents involving bow visors or bow doors. When Estonia’s bow visor fell off it was not the first time a ship had suffered that misfortune. Between 1975 and 1986 there were 16 serious incidents involving bow visors or bow doors on passenger or cargo ships in the Baltic Sea, but it is clear that the safety authorities responsible had not learned from these. There was no systematic analysis or review carried out. It is likely that several of the outstanding questions arise from shortcomings in the area of safety culture. Nowadays, however, safety culture has been improved in the maritime sector and most organisations in this sector are working actively on further improvements.