Lloyd’s Register (LR) has used its machine learning technology to identify new, previously unseen insights surrounding lifeboat accidents, which will help improve lifeboat safety at sea.

The classification society used its SafetyScanner technology on the largest maritime industry database of lifeboat accidents, which has been compiled by InterManager, the international trade association for the ship management industry. 

Captain Kuba Szymanski, InterManager Secretary General

Source: InterManager

Captain Kuba Szymanski, InterManager Secretary General

InterManager began developing the dataset several years ago, which includes data back to 1980, with the aim of identifying key risk factors. 

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. From this, LR experts have identified new insights into the main causes, hazards and trends surrounding lifeboat accidents. Main findings include:

  • Human beings were not the primary cause of lifeboat accidents
  • 23.8% of accidents were due to issues relating to equipment
  • Most common mechanism issues included: release mechanism, davit, and wire/rope
  • 1 in every 5 accidents involved the boat/crew falling into the water
  • 1 in every 13 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.

Elena Prekopova, LR’s Director of Digital Innovation, said: “By using machine learning technology, our clients can transform the way they approach Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) decisions and gain a clearer picture of where to focus their HSE efforts. In this case, 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. 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.”

Captain Kuba Szymanski, InterManager Secretary General, commented: “We are delighted to team up with Lloyd’s Register to properly examine our Lifeboat Accidents Database and look forward to discussing these findings with our industry peers. Our focus is on finding the root causes of accidents in order to propose their eradication. For far too long our industry has concentrated on blame and it is time we change our approach and go for the real root causes in order to stop lifeboat accidents once and for all.”