Much that is constructive can be achieved from analysis of death investigations that have failed to achieve desirable outcomes in terms of learning lessons about risks to health and safety and in terms of gaining an understanding as to how further tragedies can be avoided. This article reviews an "inquest" into the sinking in 1628 of the pride of the Swedish Navy, the Vasa, and the factors that led to the inquest failing to come to grips with the various design, building, oversight, subcontracting, communication, and co-ordination flaws that contributed to the vessel being foreseeably unstable and thus unseaworthy. It argues that Reason's Swiss cheese analysis of systemic contributions to risk and modern principles of Anglo-Australasian-Canadian death investigation shed light on how a better investigation of the tragedy that cost 30 lives and a disastrous loss of a vessel of unparalleled cost to the Kingdom of Sweden could have led to more useful insights into the multifactorial causes of the sinking of the Vasa than were yielded by the inquest.
Part of a crew on a Norwegian naval ship was exposed to the radar waves for approximately 7 min from an American destroyer during an incident at sea in August 2012. Information about the exposure was not given by the navy. This is a description of what happened with the crew on board after this event. 14 persons had been on the ship bridge or outside on the deck during the exposure and the rest of the crew had been inside the ship. 27 persons were examined at a hospital 6-8 months after the event, as they had developeda large number of symptoms from different organ systems. They were very worried about all types of possible adverse health effects due to the incident. All were examined by an occupational physician and anophthalmologist, by an interview, clinical examinations and blood tests at the hospital. The interview of the personnel revealed that they had not experienced any major heating during the episode. Their symptoms developed days or weeks after the radar exposure. They had no objective signs of adverse health effects at the examination related to the incident. Long-term health effect from the exposure is highly unlikely. The development of different symptoms after the incident was probably due to the fear of possible health consequences. Better routines for such incidents at sea should be developed to avoid this type of anxiety.
Institute of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsoe, Tromsoe, Norway; Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital North Norway, Tromsoe, Norway. Olga.Shiryaeva@uit.no
Trawler fishermen and merchant seafarers have tough working conditions. While workers in both occupations are exposed to a challenging environment, trawler fishermen are also engaged in onboard fish processing, which is considered to be additional exposure. The aim of the present study was to characterize respiratory health status in both groups of seamen.
In total 127 trawler fishermen and 118 merchant seafarers were enrolled during their regular medical health examinations. The study protocol comprised a standardized questionnaire, lung function test and measurements of fractional nitric oxide concentrations (FE(NO) ) in exhaled air.
Doctor-diagnosed asthma was reported only by trawler fishermen (3.9%, P?
The risk of oil spills is an ongoing societal concern. Whereas several decision support systems exist for predicting the fate and drift of spilled oil, there is a lack of accurate models for assessing the amount of oil spilled and its temporal evolution. In order to close this gap, this paper presents an online platform for the fast assessment of tanker grounding accidents in terms of structural damage and time-dependent amount of spilled cargo oil. The simulation platform consists of the definition of accidental scenarios; the assessment of the grounding damage and the prediction of the time-dependent oil spill size. The performance of this integrated online simulation environment is exemplified through illustrative case studies representing two plausible accidental grounding scenarios in the Gulf of Finland: one resulting in oil spill of about 50?t, while in the other the inner hull remained intact and no spill occurred.
Vessel slowdown may be an alternative mitigation option in regions where re-routing shipping corridors to avoid important marine mammal habitat is not possible. We investigated the potential relief in masking in marine mammals and fish from a 10 knot speed reduction of container and cruise ships. The mitigation effect from slower vessels was not equal between ambient sound conditions, species or vessel-type. Under quiet ambient conditions, a speed reduction from 25 to 15 knots resulted in smaller listening space reductions by 16-23%, 10-18%, 1-2%, 5-8% and 8% respectively for belugas, bowheads, bearded seals, ringed seals, and fish, depending on vessel-type. However, under noisy conditions, those savings were between 9 and 19% more, depending on the species. This was due to the differences in species' hearing sensitivities and the low ambient sound levels measured in the study region. Vessel slowdown could be an effective mitigation strategy for reducing masking.
Maritime occupational accidents can be determined by several factors, among which human characteristics play a crucial role. Worker's safety behaviour depends on individual physical and mental characteristics as well as on his/her social and cultural background. The aim of this study is to investigate the frequency of workplace injuries in the Danish merchant fleet in the period 2010-2012, and to characterise its nationality dependence.
Occupational injuries data reported from ships registered in the Danish International Ship Register to the Danish Maritime Authority were collected. Publicly available employment data were used to calculate the cumulative incidence rates for Danish, non-Danish European Union (EU) and non-EU employees working on non-passenger ships. Crude injury rates and rates adjusted for occupational status were statistically compared.
The majority of accidents happened to Danish and non-EU workers on non-passenger ships. The injury rate varied around 70 per 1000 among Danish seafarers, while the rate for non-Danish employees was about 30 per 1000. Crude and adjusted relative risk was found significantly lower for EU (0.33-0.46;0.26-0.39) and for non-EU (0.41-0.53; 0.54-0.65) workers compared to Danish seafarers. The difference decreased, but remained significant in most cases for serious injuries.
Occupational injury rates show considerable nationality differences as reported from non-passenger ships registered under the Danish flag. The differences can only be partly explained by varying reporting practices. The findings confirm the results of previous studies and point out the need for effective interventions in the high-risk groups.
The Russian nuclear submarine K-27 suffered a loss of coolant accident in 1968 and with nuclear fuel in both reactors it was scuttled in 1981 in the outer part of Stepovogo Bay located on the eastern coast of Novaya Zemlya. The inventory of spent nuclear fuel on board the submarine is of concern because it represents a potential source of radioactive contamination of the Kara Sea and a criticality accident with potential for long-range atmospheric transport of radioactive particles cannot be ruled out. To address these concerns and to provide a better basis for evaluating possible radiological impacts of potential releases in case a salvage operation is initiated, we assessed the atmospheric transport of radionuclides and deposition in Norway from a hypothetical criticality accident on board the K-27. To achieve this, a long term (33 years) meteorological database has been prepared and used for selection of the worst case meteorological scenarios for each of three selected locations of the potential accident. Next, the dispersion model SNAP was run with the source term for the worst-case accident scenario and selected meteorological scenarios. The results showed predictions to be very sensitive to the estimation of the source term for the worst-case accident and especially to the sizes and densities of released radioactive particles. The results indicated that a large area of Norway could be affected, but that the deposition in Northern Norway would be considerably higher than in other areas of the country. The simulations showed that deposition from the worst-case scenario of a hypothetical K-27 accident would be at least two orders of magnitude lower than the deposition observed in Norway following the Chernobyl accident.
Seismic surveys increasingly operate in deeper Arctic waters with propagation conditions and marine mammal fauna different from the better-studied temperate, or shallow-water, regions. Using 31 calibrated sound recorders, we quantified noise contributions from four concurrent seismic surveys in Baffin Bay, Greenland, to estimate their potential impacts on marine mammals. The impact was cumulative as the noise level rose in response to the onset of each survey: on a minute-by-minute scale the sound-exposure-levels varied by up to 70?dB (20?dB on average), depending on range to the seismic vessel, local bathymetry effects and interference patterns, representing a significant change in the auditory scene for marine mammals. Airgun pulse energy did not decrease to ambient before arrival of the next pulse leaving very little low-frequency masking-free time. Overall, the measured values matched well with pre-season-modeling, emphasizing the importance of noise-modeling in impact assessments, if responses of focal marine mammals are known.
The growth of maritime oil transportation in the Gulf of Finland (GoF), North-Eastern Baltic Sea, increases environmental risks by increasing the probability of oil accidents. By integrating the work of a multidisciplinary research team and information from several sources, we have developed a probabilistic risk assessment application that considers the likely future development of maritime traffic and oil transportation in the area and the resulting risk of environmental pollution. This metamodel is used to compare the effects of two preventative management actions on the tanker collision probabilities and the consequent risk. The resulting risk is evaluated from four different perspectives. Bayesian networks enable large amounts of information about causalities to be integrated and utilized in probabilistic inference. Compared with the baseline period of 2007-2008, the worst-case scenario is that the risk level increases 4-fold by the year 2015. The management measures are evaluated and found to decrease the risk by 4-13%, but the utility gained by their joint implementation would be less than the sum of their independent effects. In addition to the results concerning the varying risk levels, the application provides interesting information about the relationships between the different elements of the system.