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Ship Accidents Report in the Baltic Sea 2012

HELCOM issues report on ship accidents in the Baltic Sea 2012

Total number of accidents in the Baltic Sea has been slightly increasing

A new HELCOM report focusing on the shipping accidents in 2012 in the Baltic Sea area as well as for the longer term data series for 2004-2012 has been published.

The annual report compiled by the HELCOM Secretariat is based on the national reports of the 2012 shipping accidents by all HELCOM member countries, including all the Baltic Sea coastal states: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russian Federation and Sweden.

According to the reports from the HELCOM members, 149 ship accidents occurred in the Baltic Sea area in 2012. The total number of accidents in the Baltic Sea has been slightly increasing in the last three years.

Based on the ship movement statistics provided by the regional HELCOM Automated Identification Network (AIS) network, the overall ship traffic in 2012 stayed approximately at the same level as in 2011, an increase from the lower traffic levels in 2009 and 2010. Other findings of the report state that in 2012 there were no reported collisions in the Gulf of Finland and the human element was the main cause of all accidents in the region.

Annual reports on shipping accidents in the whole Baltic Sea area have been compiled by HELCOM since 2000. According to the agreed procedure all accidents are reported irrespectively if there was pollution or not.

The compiled information includes accidents which involved tankers over 150 gross tonnage and/or other ships over 400 GT, both in territorial seas or EEZ of the HELCOM Contracting Party. Accident types cover i.a. groundings, collisions (striking or being struck by another ship), contacts with fixed or floating objects, pollution accidents (e.g. during fuel transfer) and other types of accidents like fires and explosions, machinery damage and capsizing.

A more detailed categorization of the location of the accidents – open sea, port approach and port - was introduced for the reporting in 2012. Most accidents occurred close to shore 44% in port and 14% in port approach.

Types of accidents

Due to modification of the reporting format in 2012, the new category “contact”, as a type of accident, was included in the reporting, defined as striking any fixed or floating object other than ships or underwater objects (wrecks etc.). In previous reports “collisions” accounted for both collisions with ships and objects. In order to retain comparability both “collision” and “contact” accidents will be referred to as “collisions” in following text.

Collisions (contact 22% and collisions 10%) and groundings or strandings (hereafter referred to only as groundings) accounted for an equal share (31%) of the accidents in 2012. Also other types of accidents, like fires and explosions, machinery damage and capsizing in total made up 31% of all accidents in 2012 while pollution accidents (accidental pollution events) accounted for 7%.

The share of collision and grounding accidents in 2012 was somewhat lower in 2012 than the average share of collisions and groundings in 2004-2012 (35% and 37% respectively). The share of other accidents was somewhat higher in 2012 compared to the average for 2004-2012 (24%).

Types of vessels involved in the accidents

Cargo vessels were the most common type of ships involved in accidents in 2012 accounting for 48% of all vessels. Passenger vessels were involved in 24% of all reported accidents and tankers were involved in 13% of the accidents. Other unspecified types of vessels were involved in 15% of all accidents in 2012.

As tankers are the major issue of concern, a map on accidents involving tankers in 2004-2012 is presented in. Of the 21 tankers involved in accidents in 2012, two were reported as single hulled and ten were double hulled. Data on hull type was not available for 43% of the accidents involving tankers.

Source and Image Credit: HELCOM

Source :

Full Report :
Available on HELCOM server , click to open pdf file.


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