Accidents at Sea - Update on Reporting Requirements

Recent changes have been made by the MAIB (Marine Accident Investigation Branch) relating to who must report accidents on board vessels. 


The skipper of any ship must notify the MAIB of any marine casualty or marine incident if the ship is within UK waters and carrying passengers to / from the UK, or
the marine casualty or marine incident occurs within the jurisdiction of a UK harbour master.  Also, the ship’s owner must notify the MAIB of any marine casualty or marine incident, unless he is satisfied that the skipper or senior surviving officer has made the report.


The duty to notify does not apply to recreational craft hired on a bareboat basis, or commercial craft or boats under  8 metres length overall that are operating in a harbour or on an inland waterway, which are not carrying passengers unless the marine casualty involves an explosion, fire, or capsize of a power driven vessel, or results in death, serious injury or severe pollution.The master / skipper of a UK ship must notify the MAIB of any marine casualty or marine incident.

Qualifying accidents would include;

  • The death of or serious injury to a person
  • The loss of a person from a ship
  • The loss, presumed loss or abandonment of a ship
  • Material damage to a ship
  • The ship being unfit to proceed, or requires flag state approval or a condition of class before it may proceed
  • At sea, a breakdown of the ship, requiring towage
  • The stranding or disabling of a ship, or the involvement of a ship in a collision
  • Material damage to marine infrastructure external of a ship that could seriously endanger the safety of the ship, another ship or any individual
  • Pollution, caused by damage to a ship or ships


Other events might also be reportable such as the unintended light grounding on mud or a fire or near miss nearly causing a collision would be reportable. Accidents that resulted in minor injuries that might have been more severe should also be reported.

For further details contact the MAIB here.