The Marine Accident Investigation Branch
) established in 1989 following the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster is a branch of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
Department for Transport
In the United Kingdom, the Department for Transport is the government department responsible for the English transport network and a limited number of transport matters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland which are not devolved...
which can investigate any accident occurring in UK waters, regardless of the nationality of the vessel(s) involved, and accidents involving UK registered ships worldwide.
Since 3 August 2009 the MAIB has been headquartered in the Mountbatten House in Southampton
Southampton is the largest city in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated south-west of London and north-west of Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest...
Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, a historic cathedral city that was once the capital of England. Hampshire is notable for housing the original birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force...
. Previously the MAIB was headquartered in the Carlton House in Southampton.
Empowered by the Merchant Shipping Act 1995
The Merchant Shipping Act 1995 is an Act of Parliament passed in the United Kingdom in 1995.The Merchant Shipping Act 2006 amended section 178 of the Act...
, it is a government agency headed by the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents, currently Steve Clinch, previously from the commercial shipping industry prior to taking up this post. The MAIB is the marine equivalent of the much older Air Accidents Investigation Branch
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch investigates air accidents in the United Kingdom. It is a branch of the Department for Transport and is based on the grounds of Farnborough Airport near Aldershot, Rushmoor, Hampshire.-History:...
and the more recent Rail Accident Investigation Branch
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch is a government agency that became operational on 17 October 2005. Its primary role is the investigation of rail accidents in the United Kingdom and the Channel Tunnel in order to find a cause, not to lay blame. The agency has operational centres in The...
all of which report directly to the Secretary of State for Transport
The Secretary of State for Transport is the member of the cabinet responsible for the British Department for Transport. The role has had a high turnover as new appointments are blamed for the failures of decades of their predecessors...
Investigations are thorough but are strictly limited to establishing cause, promoting awareness of risks and preventing recurrence. Reporting of accidents to the MAIB is mandatory for all commercially operated vessels in UK waters and for all UK registered vessels worldwide. The MAIB receives between 1500 and 2000 incident reports annually of which 40 to 50 become full investigations with published reports. The choice of which accidents are investigated is made on the basis of the scope of the safety lessons which may be learned as a result of the investigation. The reports do not apportion blame and are not intended for use in court.
provide a very detailed analysis of one specific accident and recommendations to parties involved.
Annual Safety digests
summarise the type of accidents and lessons which can be learnt. This is now classified by vessel type.
are issued if an investigation reveal an urgent general risk.
look at patterns of accidents to inform policy makers, including the International Maritime Organisation, Maritime and Coastguard Agency
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is a UK executive agency working to prevent the loss of lives at sea and is responsible for implementing British and International maritime law and safety policy.This involves coordinating search and rescue at sea through Her Majesty's Coastguard , ensuring that...
and Health and Safety Executive
The Health and Safety Executive is a non-departmental public body in the United Kingdom. It is the body responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare, and for research into occupational risks in England and Wales and Scotland...
, some of whom have overlapping responsibilities. For example,
the Review of lifeboats and launching systems' accidents
revealed that 16% of fatalities investigated on merchant ships occurred during lifeboat training exercises. Unfortunately not one life was saved by a lifeboat in the same 10 year period.