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  • Maritime Safety Strategy Public Consultation Document

    Sea Change Building a New Maritime Safety Culture June 2014 1

    Sea Change Building a new Maritime Safety Culture

    Maritime Safety Strategy Consultation Document

    Contents Section 1. Why is a new Maritime Safety Strategy needed? (page 2) Section 2. What areas will the new Strategy cover? (page 3) Section 3. What factors contribute to maritime fatalities? (page 4) Section 4. What can be done to tackle the key causes of maritime fatalities? (page 11) Section 5. Next steps how to have your say (page 22)

    Irish Maritime Administration

    Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

    June 2014.

  • Maritime Safety Strategy Public Consultation Document

    Sea Change Building a New Maritime Safety Culture June 2014 2

    Section 1. Why is a new Maritime Safety Strategy needed? 1. We are fortunate in Ireland to have an abundance of beautiful coastal and inland waters.

    None of us lives very far from this wonderful resource, and we are familiar with its beauty, riches and potential. Even in the harshest weather, the sea can be enticing to look at. However, despite its attractions, it can be a very hostile and dangerous environment and consequently demands the utmost respect from its users. As a maritime nation, we need to take a fresh look at how we interact with the waters in and around our island in order to build a new culture of maritime safety in our communities and in society generally.

    2. I want to bring a new impetus to improving the safety of all who use water-based craft in

    Ireland whether for work, leisure or transport purposes. We have to learn from past tragedies, both in memory of those who have lost their lives and to safeguard current and future generations. There is a lot of goodwill towards improving safety at sea. Now we need to harness that goodwill and build on it by focusing on the causes of fatalities and by identifying actions to address them.

    3. When maritime casualties arise, the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) investigates

    what occurred and makes safety-related recommendations to me (as Minister), as appropriate. The MCIB reports make distressing reading because the majority of these maritime casualties seem to be avoidable. Most of the fatalities arise in the recreational and fishing sectors. It is all too clear that similar incidents keep occurring and that the same issues arise time and time again. We need a dramatic change in attitudes and practices in order to address this problem. While records show that fewer fatalities arise in the passenger and cargo sectors, we cannot be complacent in that regard as the potential consequences of a major incident could be severe. The MCIB has expressed its support for our renewed efforts as part of this initiative, which I welcome.

    4. I believe that we should aim for zero fatalities in the maritime sector by reducing the risks

    and therefore reducing the number of incidents. This will be the key goal of the new Maritime Safety Strategy, which will set out targets for improving the safety of recreational craft, fishing vessels, passenger vessels and cargo vessels. The core of the new Strategy will be the creation of a new culture of safety in the maritime sector. Although safety is a fundamental responsibility of the owner, master or skipper of a vessel, this Strategy means that anyone who takes to the water in any type of vessel or craft should take personal responsibility for thinking safety first and act accordingly.

    5. This Consultation Document represents our renewed efforts to address safety awareness

    and compliance by setting out some key issues and asking some questions to help to shape the new Maritime Safety Strategy. I invite you to engage with this consultation process and to send your views to the Irish Maritime Administration in my Department. As we strive to improve maritime safety together, my hope is that a wide range of responses will be received and that positive and creative ideas will emerge which will enable us to take further practical actions to save lives in the maritime sector.

    Leo Varadkar T.D.

    Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport June 2014.

  • Maritime Safety Strategy Public Consultation Document

    Sea Change Building a New Maritime Safety Culture June 2014 3

    Section 2. What areas will the new Strategy cover?

    1. The Irish Maritime Administration (IMA) of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

    is preparing a new Maritime Safety Strategy with the overall aim of achieving zero fatalities and reducing the incidents occurring in the maritime sector. The Strategy will focus primarily on creating a culture of safety in the sector, encompassing all types of craft and vessels used for any purpose on Irish coastal or inland waterways, be it work, leisure or transportation.

    2. The core objectives of the Strategy will be to ensure:

    - Actions are targeted at the main causes of casualties in the maritime sector, as identified by Marine Casualty Investigation Board reports and Irish Coast Guard incident management experience;

    - All who use fishing, passenger or cargo vessels In Ireland, or who take to the water in recreational craft, take personal responsibility for their own safety.

    3. Of its nature, maritime safety is a wide-ranging issue, which impacts on a variety of government departments, agencies, bodies, fishers, seafarers, passengers, recreational users, representative groups, industries, volunteer responders and individuals. Efforts are continuing in a number of organisations to improve maritime safety. The IMAs new Maritime Safety Strategy will not aim to re-state or duplicate these efforts, but will take account of them in pursuit of a common goal.

    4. Therefore, it is proposed that the new Maritime Safety Strategy will focus on all of the

    maritime transport activities within the remit of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. It will include initiatives relating to recreational craft, fishing vessels, passenger vessels and cargo vessels.

    5. As part of the preparation of the Strategy, we are undertaking a consultation process that is

    designed to engage a wide range of interested parties. Following the consultation phase, the new Strategy will be drawn up, with a view to publication later this year. The implementation of the Strategy will be monitored, and it is intended that it should be reviewed and updated within a five year period.

  • Maritime Safety Strategy Public Consultation Document

    Sea Change Building a New Maritime Safety Culture June 2014 4

    Section 3. What factors contribute to maritime fatalities? 1. The main drivers for the new Strategy will be based on the information available about the

    number of fatalities, accidents and incidents that occur in the various maritime sectors, and the reasons those events occurred. The chief sources of that information are Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) reports and recommendations, and Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) incident reports. Although unforeseen events can be a factor in any tragic incident, the aim will be to try to minimise such events and to focus on the key causes of maritime fatalities, insofar as they are identified. No two tragic incidents are identical as there may be multiple causes and interconnected factors, but the new Strategy will re-focus our efforts on the recurring themes. As the Strategy evolves, and as it is reviewed periodically, there will be opportunities to target different areas. This new Strategy will be an important starting point for our renewed efforts to improve maritime safety.

    2. The number of maritime fatalities in Ireland, at an average of 12 per year, might appear at

    face value to be low. While it is difficult to make cross-jurisdictional comparisons due to the differences in how statistics are collated, it would appear that Irelands overall maritime safety record compares favourably on an international basis. However, the impact of individual incidents can be high, and where fatalities arise, these are often multiple. Each life lost is devastating for families and communities, and a major cause for concern is the extent to which fatalities might be avoidable. It is important therefore that all of us aim for a target of zero fatalities in relation to recreational craft, fishing vessels, passenger vessels and cargo vessels. Lowering the risk of fatalities occurring is key and, through focusing on preventative measures, the aim is to reduce the level of maritime-related accidents and incidents. The IMAs work1 is focused on addressing maritime safety in those areas which are within the remit of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport2 and it is a testament to this work that the number of deaths is low.

    3. The key objective of the Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) is the reduction in the loss of life on

    Irelands seas and rivers, coastal and remote areas, lakes and waterways. To deliver this, the IRCG has in place best-practice rescue regimes to minimise deaths and incidents in the sector. It also ensures that, where incidents do occur, there is a high level of emergency preparedness and response to rescues and to saving lives. The IRCG manages an excellent marine emergency response service. It saves the lives of many people who were in imminent danger and who would have died but for its intervention.

    1 The Irish Maritime Administration is comprised of the following divisions within the Department of Transport, Tourism

    and Sport: Maritime Safety and Policy Division; Ma