Maritime Ship Collision Cases Explored – Causes and Effects

Maritime Ship Collisions

Ship collision is a kind of marine accident that results from a ship crashing into a still or floating object. Ship collision cases can be a ship to ship, ship to floating object, ship to submarine or ship to still structure collisions. We all have heard about the historic accident of the collison of the ship Titanic to an Iceberg. It was a ship to floating object type of collision.

Collision can also be defined as the change in structural properties of a ship as a result of an impact with a solid structure. Ship collision is considered to be the worst of marine accidents as it leads to extreme adverse effects on human and marine life.

The sea route traffic has increased by leaps and bounds and there has also been a sharp increase in the speed levels. This has led to an increase in the probability of ships confronting collision. Also, higher the velocity, greater the damage caused to the ship.

If the ship has high tonnage and is heavely loaded, the effects of collison can be more drastic in nature. Maritime Ship collisions have been the reason for many major sea accidents in the past, apart from other accidents such as ship grounding.

Effects of Ship Collision

The after effects of a ship collision on marine and human life are immeasurable . The ship involved in a collision suffers from heavy structural and stability damage. Apart from the damage to the ship, collision results in the following effects:

  • Collision leads to detrimental environmental effects. If the ship involved in a collision is a tanker or a chemical vessel then there are high chances of the chemical or oil leaking to the sea. Oil spills, both a major and a minor, can lead to untoward conditions for the marine life and also to the near by coastal areas.The huge threat of the harmful cargo leaking to the sea and causing adverse long term consequences to the local communities, is intimidating.
  • Financial loss to both, the ship owner and the nearby local communities is huge.
  • Ship collision renders substantial threat to human life. There has been accidents in past when the ship has sanked within minutes, giving no chance to the people on board to escape.
  • Collision with an offshore structure or a port leads to infrastructure damage and thus cause a heavy blow to human efforts. There has been collisions with bridges and port structures in the past, resulting in heavy financial and efforts loss.

What Causes Collision?

Collision is a result of sheer human error. Amateur maneuvering and loose presence of mind of the master, pilot or navigational officer during the time of maneuvering, is the root cause of any collision. Apart from that, slack or fault in the propulsion system, rudder or any other machinery can lead to a collision. Error or negligence by a shore personnel assisting in maneuvering activity can also be a reason for such mishap.

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