Inmarsat Maritime Safety Report Urges Data Sharing to Prevent Incidents

The 2024 edition of the Future of Maritime Safety Report from Inmarsat Maritime, a Viasat company, reveals a 7.6% decrease in Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) distress calls in 2023 compared to the previous year. Despite this decline, there were still 788 distress calls, close to the six-year average of 799 calls per year. This statistic underscores the ongoing challenges in maritime safety and the need for significant improvements.

The report indicates that the maritime industry is starting to overcome operational challenges linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, such as limited inspections and disrupted maintenance schedules. However, new safety risks associated with future fuels and the industry’s transition to more sustainable practices, along with escalating geopolitical tensions, require intensified efforts to mitigate preventable safety issues.

The Future of Maritime Safety report not only provides a snapshot of current safety metrics but also serves as a call to action for the maritime industry to embrace data sharing and collaborative problem-solving. This is crucial as the industry navigates significant changes, including the transition to greener propulsion technologies.

The report suggests that concerns regarding data pooling related to confidentiality or reputational damage could be addressed by anonymizing casualty and incident data. It recommends establishing a list of standard data points to monitor and report, including casualties and incidents, injuries or deaths at sea, and near misses. It also endorses trend analysis to support the development of safety measures, emphasizing the importance of developing risk treatments for well-known and recurring issues.

Peter Broadhurst, Senior Vice President, Safety and Regulatory, Inmarsat Maritime, stated: “By harnessing the power of anonymized safety data, we can identify trends, develop specific mitigation measures, and enhance the overall safety of our ships and crews.” He highlighted the critical role of technology in these efforts, noting that “modern technology offers unprecedented opportunities to improve safety through better data analysis and sharing.”

“Although progress has been made, shipping continues to experience significant casualty rates,” commented Broadhurst. “We collect vast amounts of safety data, yet the current siloed-working model hinders our ability to fully leverage the actionable insights available to us. By pooling data, we can create a more holistic and objective view of maritime safety to inform performance improvements and ultimately reduce the occurrence of preventable safety incidents to save lives at sea.”

Inmarsat invites maritime professionals, policymakers, and stakeholders to read the full report to better understand the dynamics of maritime safety and to join the collective effort to safeguard our seas.

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