Improved reporting results in maritime operations since 1995
The Coast Guard Office of Investigations and Casualty Analysis prepared a safety report showing a decline in reportable maritime incidents. From 2016 to 2017, there was a 24% decline in towing vessel incidents. In 2016, there were 1,231 reportable towing vessel incidents, compared to 934 in 2017.
These statistics are tracked year to year “to identify trends and areas in which AWO (American Waterways Operators) and the Coast Guard can work together to enhance safety and environmental protection in the tugboat, towboat and barge industry.” The decrease is at least partially due to the fact that the reporting body clarified the reporting requirements. According to the graph, there are far fewer high and medium severity incidents than low severity. Additionally, the most significant decrease has been in low severity reportable incidents. From 2014-2017 the report “showed a 45% reduction in all marine casualties reported to the Coast Guard.” Further, in that same time span, there has been a 48% percent decrease in towing vessel incidents.
Crew Member Injuries and Oil Spills
2017 saw an 11% decrease in onboard crew member injuries from 2016. There was also a 20% decrease in “most significant” injuries. In 2017, only six of the 13 reported deaths were “directly related to towing vessel operations.” Since 1995, overall incidents reported have decreased significantly. In 2017, 84,319 gallons of oil spilled due to 49 barge pollution incidents. By contrast, 2016 saw less than half the amount; 32,202 gallons spilled that year. Although oil spilled from tanks increased from 2016 to 2017, “both years were still significantly lower than 2014 and 2015.” Overall, an increased focus in safety measures and clarified reporting parameters have resulted in positive reporting results.