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Half of Swedish Club's hull and machinery claims caused by crew error, says report

Half of Swedish Club's hull and machinery claims caused by crew error, says report
A report from the Swedish Club shows that 50% of the value its hull and machinery insurance claims from 2004 to 2013 relate to collisions, contacts and groundings caused by "poor lookout or lack of situational awareness".

Groundings made up 24% of the total claim costs, while collisions comprised 22% and contacts - where vessels hit stationary objects, such as berths - were 6%. The group found that human error was "likely to continue" as the main culprit in the vast majority of cases, with poor lookout, lack of situational awareness and complacency cited as major issues.

"Many of the navigational claims happened because procedures were ignored and the people involved did not communicate with one another effectively," the club explained.

As might be expected, 70% of collisions occurred in congested waters, rising to 80% when coastal waters were included. "Most vessels will be at greatest risk when approaching or leaving port," Swedish Club concluded.

Collisions and contact casualty claims larger than $10,000 largely implicated container vessels, at 192 and 180 respectively between 2004 and 2013, while groundings more often involved bulk carriers, at 133.

There was evidence to indicate that some of the problems may have been the result of under-manning, and the Swedish Club said: "Some of the casualties happened because crew members deviated from procedures, didn't discuss what was happening or one person made a disastrous mistake. This is why there should be multiple officers on the bridge during critical operations so one person's mistake can be detected and rectified."

"Being able to identify the reasons for navigational claims is invaluable for masters and shipowners," said Lars Malm, director of strategic business development & client relationship at The Swedish Club. "This report shows that most claims can be prevented by simply ensuring that all crew follow proper procedures and consult with each other before making major decisions."