Short Staffing Issues and Fatigue Can Lead To Deadly Mistakes

While much publicity has been given recently to the increasing number of accidents in the construction industry in New York, this field may not top the list of most dangerous workplaces. The Guardian claims that the ocean is actually the riskiest place to work, but many shipping accidents are never reported and the dangers are not well-known. Here is a look at the information surrounding the 2,000 maritime workers who are killed each year in the industry.

During the year 2013, 138 “total losses” were reported across the world, not counting fishing boats and other small vessels. This means that around two ships per week were damaged beyond the ability to repair. One analyst stated that more than half of these were sinkings where the ship was at least partially sunk in a “fairly traumatic manner.”

During the year 2013, 69 of the total losses were due to foundering, which means to sink like a stone. Two of the losses were due to machinery failure or damage, while one was reportedly a collision. There were 11 stranded or wrecked ships and 11 that suffered fire explosions.

Despite these numbers, experts claim that the number of losses has been dropping for several years and the shipping industry is safer than it has ever been. The World Shipping Council reported that 2014 saw a drop to only 75 large ships lost around the world. Deep-sea fishing ranks as number one on the list of dangerous boats and commercial seafaring comes in second. As far as the reasons why these ships sink, reports state that human error is the cause of 60 percent of the accidents. Some workers claim that the reason for the continued danger is that ships are often short-staffed and seafarers are fatigued, sometimes leading them to make deadly mistakes. 

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