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The Transport Agency regularly publishes information about important events in the sector. This page has a summary of the latest information. The full version of the report can be read at transportstyrelsen.se. 

Accident statistics 2018

The following is an extract from the Transport Agency’s latest compilation of shipping accidents. The statistics refer to 2018 and will be available on the Agency’s website very soon. The accident statistics for 2019 will be published later in the year.

Summary of developments in safety

2018 was a relatively normal year for Swedish shipping. A total of 316 events were reported, of which 57 were near accidents. Of these 57 near accidents, 3 were judged to be near casualties. A further 82 events were classified as casualties and 177 as marine accidents. A marine accident is defined as an accident that arises in connection with the operation of a ship, while a casualty is an event that does not have such origins. In both cases an incident is an event that could have developed into an accident, if it had not been averted in time. In 2018 three people died in shipping: one in a casualty and two in marine accidents. One of the marine accidents was a stevedore who died in conjunction with the unloading of cargo. In the second case an able seamen was crushed to death on the mooring capstan during the departure procedure. The casualty involved a painter who died while working on board a ferry. The apparently large increase in personnel accidents between 2017 and 2018 (32 and 82) is primarily due to changes in reporting sources and procedures at the Transport Agency rather than more casualties in the shipping industry. Another change in 2018 was the introduction of the category near casualties. Such events had previously been categorised as ordinary near accidents. The number of reported near casualties is very low and under-reporting is assumed to be very frequent.

Marine accidents

A marine accident is defined as an accident arising in conjunction with the operation of a ship. Of all the marine accidents reported in 2018, approximately one quarter are due to mechanical breakdowns and approximately one fifth each due to collisions and groundings. The distribution is very similar to that in 2017.

Less serious accidents is the largest category, accounting for more than 85%. Over the five-year period, the figures show relatively small changes: shipwrecks and more serious accidents have continued to decrease slightly – which is positive – while the proportion of less serious accidents has increased slightly. This increase can be interpreted as a sign that the reporting requirements to the Agency are better understood and there is more awareness of the benefits of reporting accidents in the shipping industry.

Technical faults in equipment were the largest cause of accidents in 2018, followed by communication. When comparing 2018 statistics with the previous year, there is a noticeable downturn in the causes of accidents classified as human factors. This is closely in line with a changing assessment of work environment-related events which are increasingly judged to be related to communications, organisation and procedures. This is partly because human factors are considered to be rather imprecise and partly due to a conscious effort to include other aspects, such as the human-technology interface and organisation, in the analysis of maritime events.

Most accidents occur either in port areas or in inner coastal waters, each accounting for approximately 30%. The number of accidents on inner coastal waters has increased by almost ten percentage points since last year. Conversely, the number of accidents reported on lakes, canals, rivers and marked fairways has decreased from 6% and 11% to 3% and 4% respectively of the total number of events.

Casualties

The number of reported casualties has increased significantly compared to previous years. This is primarily due to a change in registration procedures at the Transport Agency rather than a real increase in accidents, as mentioned above. The proportion of personnel injured in accidents varies from year to year, but it is more in line with previous years.

Ongoing investigations concerning civilian shipping by the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority

Very serious marine accident on Rindö

Event: Fatal accident during work with crane on ship

Date: 14/11/2019

Case number: S-190/19

Serious marine accident on the Swedish flagged roro-passenger ship Peter Pan, between Rostock and Travemünde 

Event: Fire and explosion on board

Date: 09/07/2019

Case number: S-98/19

Balticborg – accident on board ro-ro ship Balticborg

Event: Some form of fire or explosion on board

Date: 19/03/2019

Case number: S-40/19

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