COVID led to spike in maritime distress calls

June 10, 2022 Maritime Safety News

Maritime satcom giant Inmarsat has released a report analyzing data from Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) calls made from 2018 to 2021.

Among the key findings from the Inmarsat data is that there was an abrupt spike in GMDSS calls in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the report, this is likely to have been caused by “issues with crew change, rapid turnaround in ports and fatigue on board.”

Peter Broadhurst, senior vice president of safety and security at Inmarsat Maritime, says that the report (The Future of Maritime Safety) provides insights into safety trends that reveal patterns at a local and global level.

“Better understanding these patterns can help us to take proactive steps to prevent such incidents going forward and help guide us to a safer future,” says Broadhurst. “The Inmarsat GMDSS data shows the top three sectors with the highest distress calls as tankers, fishing vessels and bulk carriers, with the lowest incidents arising in passenger ships. This data should help us focus our attention and tackle known safety issues in these sectors.”

Adding context to the data analysis, the report features expert opinions from industry representatives and seafarers invited to share their views on the most pertinent maritime safety issues and the changes they would like to see implemented to address them.