Working with InterManager, Lloyd’s Register (LR) has used its SafetyScanner machine learning technology to identify the main causes of lifeboat accidents. This has revealed that human beings are not the primary cause of such accidents and that 23.8 per cent of accidents were due to issues relating to equipment.

Concerned about lifeboat safety and fatalities caused by lifeboat accidents, trade association for the ship management industry InterManager began gathering statistics several years ago, aiming to identify key risk factors. Having collated figures which date back to 1980, InterManager now has the largest maritime industry database of lifeboat accidents.

LR’s SafetyScanner, an artificial intelligence solution designed to read vast amounts of data and identify common themes, topics and phrases which carry a similarity, has examined the raw, aggregated data from InterManager’s lifeboat accident database.

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Main causes lifeboat accidents

From SafetyScanner, new insights into the main causes, hazards and trends surrounding lifeboat accidents were identified. In addition to human error not being the primary cause and equipment causing almost a quarter of the incidents, it was found that the most common mechanism issues include the release mechanism, davit, and wire/rope. One in every five accidents involved the boat/crew falling into the water and one in every thirteen accidents happened when the lifeboat was in the stowed position.

LR SafetyScanner findings will be used by InterManager during its discussions with maritime industry regulators and the wider shipping industry, as the association works with them to help reduce risks and to prevent fatalities.

‘LR’s SafetyScanner has helped InterManager analyse years of legacy data, not only providing an efficient way of reviewing data but, more importantly, identifying valuable safety insights into the main causes and themes around lifeboat accidents,’ says Elena Prekopova, LR’s Director of Digital Innovation. ‘We hope our findings will enable the wider industry to think differently when it comes to lifeboat safety, so that we can help to reduce the number of lifeboat accidents that occur and ultimately save lives at sea.’

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