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Web Alert: The importance of near-miss reporting

03 May 2016

The ‘Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme’ (CHIRP) works to collect information regarding incidents or near-misses and distribute this knowledge to assist others to learn from these experiences. Their latest initiative, sponsored by The Standard Club, is the production of new ‘video maritime feedback bulletins’ which are released on a quarterly basis.

Each eight minute production promotes good safety practices and provides opportunities for ship owners and operators to compare their organisation’s own performance in such matters, which aligns with The Standard Club’s own efforts to reduce losses and accidents in the international maritime industry.

Near misses and minor incidents should not go unreported as they allow companies to learn from hazardous incidents at sea and those occurring in port at the interface between the ship and the shore facilities. The information for these bulletins is gathered from seafarers, but each report is treated in strict confidence and used only to illustrate a hazard. Seaferers and shore managers should also report near-misses according to their company practices.  For the CHIRP scheme, reports can be submitted at

This first bulletin looks at three reported events and the ways in which they could have been avoided. First, a near miss at Luanda roads in which a collision was narrowly avoided due to poor communication. The lessons learned are that visual bearings cannot be relied upon for predicting outcomes at close quarters, radar trails should be set up to show moving vessels so that vessels at anchorage are not a distraction, VHF should not be used to gain the intent of other vessels as it can cause confusion and, to minimise risk of collision within an anchorage, moving vessels should always be on parallel not converging courses and should not pass close to anchored vessels.

The second case looks at unsafe practices in ribs to raise awareness of the danger of modern ribs being bigger and faster with quick action engine controls, which can lead to greater risks of passengers going overboard.

Lastly, the bulletin features a case in which a yacht had a close encounter with a ferry off Mallorca. Leisureboat users should be aware that yachts may not show up on a radar screen beyond 5 miles due to their material structure, and radar reflectors may not be effective, and also that yachts should have an AIS that transmits as well as receives information. These would have helped avoid the incident, although in this case, the ferry also neglected to keep a proper lookout, an issue which needs to be addressed by the company in question.

The bulletin is available here.