Avoiding Collisions at Sea

This project has two main aims: one concerns recently identified skill gaps relating also to recent accidents (e.g. Costa Concordia), and the other refers to identified problems in the application of current collision regulations (COLREGs, 1972). Project ACTs also includes collisions with fixed objects (Grounding).

A review of accidents has identified the need:

  1. for the development of new skills,
  2. an urgent review of COLREGs.

For instance, a case law by MARS and MAIB (UK accident agencies) indicates that many of the basic principles of collision avoidance are improperly applied. It is also a common practice to use VHF Radio in collision avoidance procedures, although such radio communications are not part of the COLREGs.

A study of the reports reveals that 85% of all accidents are either directly initiated by human error or are associated with human error by means of inappropriate human response. This is in line with the findings of a recent paper that 80% of accidents at sea are caused by human error. A paper notes that mistakes are usually made not because of deficient or inadequate regulations, but because the regulations and standards that do exist are often ignored. The IMO MSC clearly indicates that the causes of many of the accidents at sea are due to deficiencies in maritime education and training of seafarers or disregard for current standards and regulations. Another paper reports that most common accidents and incidents are collisions. The outcome of this latter study has recently been validated. Several recommendations have been led to the identification of skill gaps.

The work summarised above has led to several proposed improvements to existing Maritime Education and Training (MET) programmes. The review of accidents in the projects identified above has also led to a list of potential new skills and jobs. The proposed project intends to test and transfer several new skills into existing MET programmes and common methods and systems for their deliveries.

The partnership is composed of major maritime centres in several EU countries, with two partners having been involved in the M’AIDER and SOS projects; most partners have considerable Leonardo experience. They have been involved in several successful Leonardo maritime and e-learning projects at sectoral level, involving companies, maritime organisations and social partners in VET. The main tangible outcome is an online and novel learning and assessment platform facilitating inclusion of the identified new skills in existing maritime programmes and the correct application of COLREGs, which is expected to lead to a reduction in the number of accidents at sea. The project impact will be substantial as it concerns the training of all navigation cadets and officers/ratings already working in the sector.

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