As the Chief Inspector of the MAIB I am very pleased to be supporting Maritime Safety Week. At the Branch we are all too accustomed to seeing the aftermath of accidents, many of which have had tragic consequences. Our investigations aim to learn the lessons from these events to try and prevent a re-occurrence. However, for the casualties of our investigations, our findings and the lessons learned will have come too late. It is therefore very refreshing to be taking a pause from the reactive nature of our work, to focus more widely on preventing future accidents.
As I highlighted in my Annual Report for 2019, the number of accident reports raised was almost unchanged from the previous year, and nearly two-thirds of MAIB investigations were into accidents that involved loss of life. That is not to say that nothing is being done, as there is lots going on to improve matters. The Fishing Industry Safety Group and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency are collaborating well across a range of areas to improve safety in the commercial fishing industry, and the UK Harbour Masters Association along with Port Skills and Safety have been concentrating on improving safety around our ports and harbours. Most of these initiatives are driving safety improvements from the top down, but I hope that Maritime Safety Week also provides the opportunity for improvements to be made from the bottom up. Across the industry, whether it is reviewing work procedures, servicing equipment or practising emergency responses, making time for safety is time well spent; it will lead to safer ships, reduce the risk to the environment and save lives.