Risk assessments for passenger vessel operations

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Our article, Implementing risk assessments, highlighted the rise in claims which have been recorded by the Club as a result of incidents occurring during routine shipboard operations. As the article explained, these claims may have been avoided had a proper risk assessment been carried out. In this, the second in our series of risk assessment articles, we focus on risk assessments for passenger vessel operations.

The carriage of passengers is a crucial operation and involves efficient supervision and care. The operator’s responsibility for the lives of the passengers begins as soon as they board the vessel and continues throughout the duration of the voyage until they disembark at their destination. For ease of reference, this operation can be split into three sections – embarking/disembarking of passengers, care of passengers during the voyage and care of passengers during emergency situations.

The charts below illustrate the type and frequency of claims recorded by the Club during the embarking and disembarking and voyage stages:

The management of passengers on board can be challenging as most often the number of passengers carried far outweighs the number of crew. Coupled with factors such as the passengers’ movement on board, unpredictable weather and the effect this may have on the vessels motion, the probability of incidents occurring can increase. For these reasons it is essential that operations on board have been carefully planned and managed and particularly attention has been paid to any potential risks.

Identifying hazards and implementing controls

To assist Members in identifying hazards and implementing the appropriate controls, the Club has produced three sample risk assessments based on the sections identified:

The forms include a hazard category which has been added solely for the purpose of facilitating a better understanding of risk assessment procedures and is not required as part of a formal risk assessment. We emphasise that these forms are for guidance purposes only. It is imperative that operators conduct their own risk assessments based on their individual operating parameters.

We take this opportunity to remind our Members of the Club’s booklet on Learning from Passenger Vessel Incidents and also posters on Passenger Safety and Yacht Safety.

We trust Members find this guidance useful and if further assistance is required please contact the Loss Prevention Team.

This article was written in conjunction with the Technical and Risk team at CTRL Marine Solutions Ltd. CTRL’s knowledgeable and experienced staff can work with your in house teams to audit and assist with new or existing risk assessments on favourable rates and flexible terms.