Careers in international shipping inherently carry a high risk of being injured at work. Off Somalia, the risk of ships’ crews being injured or killed is increased significantly by the activities of pirates.
Piracy around the world
Figures released by the London-based International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in January 2014 show that with 264 attacks on ships by pirates in 2013, global piracy is at its lowest in three years, with 297 and 439 worldwide attacks being reported in 2012 and 2011 respectively.
Piracy off Somalia
According to IMB director Pottengal Mukundan, the biggest reason for this drop in global piracy is the fact that attacks off Somalia are down to an all-time low, with only 15 attacks reported during 2013. Attacks in 2012 totalled 75, while Somali pirate attacks peaked in 2011, when 237 attacks were reported.
In spite of ever-increasing measures to prevent injuries at work, shipping employees still face an array of risks. Storms may cause ships to capsize; ships run aground or collide with other naval vessels, reefs and rocks; workers may be injured by fires or explosions, and there is also a risk of accidentally touching moving or hot machinery.
Injuries at sea can also be caused slipping, tripping or falling from heights. During exceptionally bad storms, crew members can also be thrown overboard or suffer injuries by falling objects. Manual handling accidents may also lead to more or less serious back injuries.
Shipping accidents at work
The severity of injuries sustained at work on ships covers a broad palette of possibilities, ranging from minor injuries like bruising or abrasions to severe lacerations; broken ribs or limbs and major spinal/back, abdominal, chest or head injuries. Death by drowning, asphyxiation or being shot or stabbed by pirates are also among the potential risks.
Repetitive strain injury
Awkward working positions in often cramped environments and exposure to high levels of vibration or noise may also lead to workers suffering work-related conditions like hand-arm vibration, other repetitive strain injuries or industrial deafness, for instance.
If you sustained a work injury as a shipping industry worker and someone else caused the accident leading to your injury, you may qualify for work injury compensation. Talk to an Accident Advice Helpline adviser to learn more on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile. The freephone number is available 24/7, and calls are confidential and obligation-free.
Date Published: March 12, 2014
Author: David Brown