An unintended event is a vessel accident. Its severity can range from no vessel damage to total vessel loss, no cargo damage to total cargo loss, and no crew injuries to deaths (Talley, Jin, & Kite-Powell, 2005). Thus, vessel safety regulations and their enforcement are centered on the prevention and mitigation of marine vessel accidents. Accidents involving marine vessels are common in inland and coastal navigation where safety regulations are not strictly enforced. This has serious consequences because such incidents have an impact on the safety of shipping in inland/coastal and inland waterways, particularly in developing countries.

Cases of marine vessel casualties involving personal injury, death, and property/environmental damage have increased in recent years in tandem with increased vessel traffic. associated with oil prospecting activities and other commercial seaborne transportation in Nigeria’s Niger-Delta/coastal regions. For example, statistics (cumulative figures) based on a study conducted by Dogarawa (2012) show that between the years 2000 and 2009, a total of 552 people died as a result of marine vessel and boat capsizing or collision in Nigeria’s inland waters. This figure represents an average fatality rate of about 55 deaths per year in Nigeria’s coastal and inland waterways over the last ten years, excluding vessel and cargo losses. Overloading, excessive speeding, poor attention to weather conditions, abandoned wrecks on navigation channels, incompetence, and inadequate navigational aids are all implicated in some of the investigated cases. Similar cases of marine vessel accidents at sea (and in seaports) have been documented all over the world. Darbra and Casal (2004), for example, conducted a study on 471 cases of marine accidents that occurred in Hong Kong between 1941 and 2002. They discovered that 57% of the accidents occurred while the vessel was at sea and 43% occurred in ports. Various causal factors have been documented; for example, the Maritime Safety Authority of New Zealand claims that between 1995 and 1996, 49% of marine vessel incidents were caused by human factors, 35% by technical factors, and 16% by environmental factors. Similarly, Rothblum (2002) claims that between 75 and 96% of marine vessel casualties are caused in part by some form of pollution.

of human error. According to additional empirical evidence, human error is responsible for 84-88% of tanker accidents, 79% of towing vessel groundings, 89-96% of collisions, 75% of all collisions, and 75% of fires and explosions (Rothblum, 2002).

Similarly, Talley et al. (2005) note that a UK Thomas P&I Club survey of 1,500 insurance claims for shipping accidents around the world between 1987 and 1990 discovered that human error was responsible for 90% of the accidents. Human error was responsible for two-thirds of the accidents involving personal injury claims, such as carelessness or recklessness under commercial pressures, a misplaced sense of overconfidence, or a lack of either knowledge or experience. Rothblum (2002) defines a human factor in this context as one of the following: an incorrect decision, an error in judgment, or an error in judgment.

an incorrectly performed action or an incorrect lack of action (inaction). These statistics are concerning, given the extent to which local and international organizations have taken to improve the standard of shipping and navigation.

International rules and regulations, national regulations of flag states and port states, port regulations, rules of Classification Societies, and insurance company rules govern maritime safety.

Furthermore, contracting governments have ratified a number of conventions, including the International Conventions on Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), Standards for Training and Watch Keeping (STCW), and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). Other conventions include the International Convention on Loadlines (LL) and the Convention on International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea. Sea (COLREG), for example. This regulatory system, which is supported by shipping companies’ Safety Management Systems, serves as a framework for continuous assessment of safety regimes in the global maritime industry. Prior to 1998, the focus of ratified IMO safety conventions was on the vessel, such as its construction and equipment, rather than human actions on board. Following the introduction of the IMO’s International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and Pollution Prevention, the focus shifted from the vessel to human actions on board. This code now requires shipping lines to document their management procedures for detecting and eliminating unsafe human behavior. This shift toward regulating human actions on board a vessel was motivated by the fact that: I most vessels are not designed to regulate human behavior;

Human error causes vessel accidents; (ii) human error is frequently attributed to vessel accident claims; and (iii) changing human behavior is less expensive than redesigning vessels for safety (Talley, et al., 2005).

The key to preventing marine vessel accidents caused by human factors is to identify the types of risk factors and then implement appropriate intervention to keep those factors in check in the future. Many operators undertake such internal efforts, and the IMO and industry trade groups have made significant progress in developing prevention programs that address human factors. However, there is room for improvement in both preventive initiatives and the metrics used to assess their effectiveness. This study’s findings will benefit both

Our understanding of the role of human and other causal factors in marine vessel accidents, and thus support the implementation of prevention measures that effectively target these factors. The study’s objectives are as follows:

i. Determine the frequency of marine vessel accidents on Nigerian waterways.

ii. Identify the risk factors that contribute to marine vessel accidents on Nigerian waterways.

As a result, we propose and test the following hypothesis at = 0.05:

i. Human factors such as safety training, vessel overloading, and speeding are not significant causes of marine vessel accidents.

ii. Environmental factors such as wind, visibility, sea condition, and weather do not play a significant role in marine vessel accidents.

iii. Failure of marine vessel equipment/machinery is not a significant cause of the accident.


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