The Korea Herald


Last year saw record number of ship accidents

By Kim So-hyun

Published : May 9, 2018 - 16:16

    • Link copied

A record number of ships had accidents at sea last year, with over 90 percent caused by human errors, Korea Coast Guard statistics showed.

Accidents involving 3,160 vessels were reported to 18 maritime police stations across the nation last year, up 11.3 percent from the previous year, according to data posted on the government statistics portal.

The figure is the highest since the Korea Coast Guard began compiling the figures in 1993.

The number of casualties in last year’s ship accidents was also the highest since 2014, when 304 people were killed in the Sewol ferry sinking.

The Sewol ferry on Wednesday, May 9 (Yonhap) The Sewol ferry on Wednesday, May 9 (Yonhap)

The number of ships in distress was 510 in 1993 and remained under 1,000 per year until 2008. After hitting 1,921 in 2009, the figure continued to decline until it rose to 1,418 in 2014 and recorded over 2,000 for the first time with 2,740 in 2015. It exceeded 3,000 for the first time last year.

Machinery damage was the most common type of accident, with 925 vessels, followed by collisions (426), floating objects getting stuck in the propeller (399) and propeller damage (254).

Poor maintenance was the most common cause of accidents, with 1,366 vessels, followed by careless navigation (1,042) and neglect (330).

Only 3.8 percent of the accidents, involving 120 vessels, were caused by bad weather. The remaining 96.2 percent were caused by human errors. About 90 percent of the accidents took place when weather conditions were good.

Accidents involving 1,795 vessels took place in territorial waters, while others took place within the boundaries of harbors (798) or exclusive economic zones (277).

Some 17,336 people were on board the ships that had accidents last year, down 13.9 percent from 2016.

Most of the ships were salvaged. Rescue efforts succeeded for 3,102 ships and 17,228 people last year.

The number of fatalities, however, surged 72.9 percent from a year ago to 83. Twenty-five people went missing in the accidents last year, down 50 percent from 2016.

By Kim So-hyun (