Many cases of maritime accidents have been reported in recent years and the rising number is expected to continue. These accidents include collisions among vessels, on a dock, fires at sea or at the port involving cruise ships, cargo ships and oil tankers. Basically, maritime accidents include any incident that occur at sea, on any waterway and on watercraft whether involving vessels or people who are either working on a ship, on board a ship as passengers or taking part in a water sports.
A 2008 report from Det Norske Veritas confirms an increase in serious maritime accidents in several segments of the shipping industry resulting in a rise in the cost of repair. About 60 percent of the accidents is attributed to collisions, groundings and contacts involving international commercial vessels. A DNV maritime expert, Dr. Torkel Soma, pointed out that the figures only show that a ship's risk of getting into a serious accident has doubled today compared to 2003.
Among the major factors that contribute to these maritime accidents, Dr. Soma said, are the pressure on ship crews as a result of the shipping boom and demand for new ships, lack of crew and officers due to faster promotion and introduction of new technology. The fast turnover of officers and shortage of crews around the world have somehow adversely led to a decrease in the level of experience while the use of new technology has made ship operations more complex.
Despite the factors outlined, human error still remains the top reason behind most navigational accidents that occur at sea. Experts stress that advanced technology and complying with manuals do not guarantee that errors will be eliminated. To this issue, they point out that a focus on improving human resources and developing their safety skills is crucial. This not only pertains to the ship officers and crews but as well as the management staff including the company directors down to the rank and file.
In the United States, the U.S. Coast Guard in its research also found that collision between two marine vessels is the most common type of maritime accident. More than 1,000 collisions of this kind occur each year in the country. The National Safe Boating Council, for its part, reveals that more than 759 people get killed each year due to maritime accidents.
These statistics are indeed alarming. But while accidents are not intentional, people who suffer injuries of any kind as a result of being involved in sea mishaps not of their own doing can file claims right after the incident. Cruise ship passengers or crews of non-passenger ships have the right to file lawsuits if they feel they were not able to fully enjoy the benefits promised to them while on board.
Should you be in this situation, you can always approach a maritime lawyer who can assist you in filing the proper case against the shipping company that have caused you injury. Cases involving sea accidents are best handled by maritime lawyers who are knowledgeable on the international maritime law and right the ways to seek compensation for their clients.