Inmarsat tracks the increase in ship-related incidents during the covid-19 pandemic


A new report has revealed that oil tankers, fishing vessels and bulk carriers were the top three sectors sending distress signals between 2018 and 2021.

Credit: Inmarsat

To determine the key safety issues currently facing the shipping industry, the Future of Maritime Safety 2022 report examines data from Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) calls made to Inmarsat , the world’s leading provider of mobile satellite communications, from 2018 to 2021.

Among the key findings from the Inmarsat data was a sharp increase in GMDSS calls in 2020 at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, which the report said is likely to have been caused by “problems with crew change, rapid turnaround in ports and fatigue on board”.

Discussing the report’s conclusion, Peter Broadhurst, Senior Vice President Safety and Security, Inmarsat Maritime, said: “The Future of Maritime Security report provides insight into security trends from GMDSS data collected between 2018 and 2021 and reveals trends at the local level. and globally. A better understanding of these patterns can help us take proactive steps to prevent such incidents from happening again and help guide us towards a safer future.

“Inmarsat GMDSS data shows the top three sectors with the highest distress calls such as tankers, fishing vessels and bulk carriers, with the lowest incidents occurring in passenger vessels. This data should help us focus our attention and resolve known security issues in these areas.”

Adding context to the comprehensive data analysis, the report features expert opinions from industry representatives and seafarers invited to share their views on the most relevant maritime safety issues and changes that would like to see implemented to remedy this.

Cyrus Moody, Deputy Director of the International Maritime Bureau, discusses the value of communication and collaboration in the fight against piracy. “Protecting our maritime workforce requires constant vigilance and a concerted effort by the international maritime community, working with agencies and governments around the world,” Moody said. “Too often, piracy is out of sight and out of mind.”

In the cruise sector, Rachel Arnold, general manager of the cruise sector, added that “the root cause of most safety problems is cost reduction”, explaining how to minimize the risks for crew and passengers. .

Other contributors include International Maritime Rescue Federation CEO Theresa Crossley, who shares her views on the lessons shipping needs to learn from the Covid-19 pandemic; and Christopher Janus, head of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s Maritime Safety Oversight Branch, who stresses the importance of adopting existing technology solutions to improve ship safety.

In describing a new NGA Source Maritime automated processing system that uses autonomous natural language processing and basic machine learning, Janus noted that “this type of automated system could be considered more broadly by our industry as we move towards the implementation of new S-124 navigational warnings. for electronic charts and efficiently process even more information”.

Establishing a clear link between the global health crisis and a “drastic increase in distress calls over the past three years”, the report suggests that shipping “has not emerged unscathed from the pandemic”. It ends with a call to action, imploring the industry to put “safety at the heart of its operations” and to use “all available solutions to prevent incidents and save lives”.


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