Australian shipping occurrence statistics 2005 to 2010


There were a total of 546 marine occurrences reported to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau from 2005 to 2010. There were significant decreases in reported occurrences in 2008 and 2010; however, the number of serious incidents remained fairly constant for the duration of the period. The number of accidents has decreased from eight each year from 2005 to 2007 to three each year from 2008 to 2010, which reflects the decrease in fatal accidents and people missing during the second half of the period. Injuries sustained were mainly to one person in each occurrence; however, there were occasional occurrences where more than one person was injured.

The West Australian and Queensland coasts had the most marine occurrences, followed by New South Wales and Victoria. More than half of occurrences in the Northern Territory occurred at sea, and Tasmania and Victoria had about 75 and 70 percent of occurrences while at berth or within harbours.

The most common time period for marine occurrences was between 8 am and 11 am, however, another slight rise in occurrences is observed between 1am and 7 am.

Most occurrences involved one vessel, however there were 43 occurrences where 2 vessels were involved, and one 3-vessel occurrence between a barge in tow with a tug and an offshore support vessel in 2010. The number of occurrences involving Australian vessels has decreased over the time period, and a slight increase was observed for occurrences involving foreign registered vessels.

The main vessels involved were bulk carriers and cargo vessels, which also had the highest number of injuries recorded, and close to one in four reported occurrences resulting in serious or fatal injuries. Typical injuries sustained were falls from height, being hit from falling or swinging objects, and burns from explosions, flame bursts or hot fuel oil.

The most common type of occurrence involved damage to the ship or equipment followed by serious injury and equipment failure. Equipment failure, fires and explosions were associated with the highest number of fatal and serious injuries. Cargo vessels, bulk carriers and tankers were the most common vessels involved in pollution occurrences, making up 22 out of 25 vessels with this occurrence type. The majority of pollution occurrences involved the venting of gases into the atmosphere, or small amounts of dangerous goods or oil leaking.

Type: Statistical Publication
Investigation number: MR-2011-003
Publication date: 22 August 2011
ISBN: 978-1-74251-197-9
Last update 07 April 2014
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