AN ANALYSIS OF DETERMINANTS OF ACCIDENT INVOLVING MARINE VESSELS IN NIGERIA’S WATERWAYS: A CASE STUDY OF THE NIGER DELTA REGION

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ABSTRACT
Cases of marine vessel accident involving personal injury, deaths, property and environmental damage have grown in tandem with increased oil prospecting and other commercial seaborne transportation activities in Niger-Delta/coastal regions of Nigeria. The incidence of marine vessel casualties and associated risk factors generate serious concern as further empirical evidence suggests that between 75-96% of marine vessel casualties are caused at least in part by some form of human error. This study investigates the determinants of accident involving marine vessels in Nigeria’s waterways. Perceptual data analysed in this study were obtained from structured questionnaires administered to a random sample of marine vessel operators in marine terminals and anchorage locations. Findings from parametric tests using multinomial logit regression model indicate that human and environmental factors significantly affect probability of accident involving marine vessels. Policy implications of the results are discussed.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study
A vessel accident is an unintended happening. Its severity may vary from no vessel damage to the complete loss of the vessel, no cargo damage, to loss of the entire cargo, and no crew injuries to deaths (Talley, Jin, & Kite- Powell, 2005). Thus, vessels safety regulations and their enforcement focus on prevention and reduction of severity of marine vessel accident. Accident involving marine vessels is common in inland and coastal navigation where requisite safety regulation may not be strictly observed. This is of serious consequence since such occurrences impact on safety of shipping in inland/coastal and inland waterways especially in developing countries.

Accidents are undesired events resulting from unexpected combination of conditions that lead to adverse consequences such as injury, loss of life, economic loss, environmental damage and damage to or loss of property (Ceyhun, 2014). Accident also refers to anything that happens without foresight and expectation; an unusual event, which proceeds from unknown cause or is an unusual effect of a known cause (Akten, 2006). The terms ’marine accident and incident’ and ’marine casualty’ denote undesirable events arising from shipping operations (International Maritime Organization (IMO), 1996). Accidents occur in almost all spheres of human existence and in most industrial occupations – manufacturing, construction, marine and air transportation, atomic energy etc. Accidents are not only injurious to lives and properties, but also hinder corporate business success. Consequently, a high level of safety performance is essential in hazardous work environments. As an unintentional event, accident involving marine vessel is common in inland and coastal navigation where requisite safety regulation may not be strictly observed. For marine organizations, an important concern is how to prevent vessel casualties involving personal injury, deaths, property and environmental damage by establishing and maintaining a culture of strict adherence to safety practices.
In Nigeria, the number of marine accidents increases withincrease in the level of oil prospecting and other maritime transport activities along the Niger-Delta and coastal regions (Onwuegbuchunam, 2013). For example, it has been documented that between year 2000 and 2009, a total number of 552 persons died either as a result of marine vessel and boat capsizing or collision in inland waters of Nigeria (Dogarawa, 2012). Thus, an average fatality rate of about 55 deaths per year excluding vessel and cargo losses which have been recorded in Nigeria’s coastal and inland waterways in the last ten years (Ekpo, 2012). When accidents such as described above occur at sea, it is the norm within the industry to investigate, with the view of identifying the cause(s), evaluate its effects on lives and property, proffer remedial solutions and establish a system to prevent reoccurrence in future. In the past, the causes of marine accidents were mostly attributed to technological breakdown while the human element was neglected (Wayne et al., 2005). However, with continuous improvement in vessel design, technical infrastructure and global regulatory supervision, the frequency of technological failures has diminished and human factors have become more apparent determinant of marine accidents (Dogarawa, 2012; Cormier, 1994). The understanding is that performance of a highly complex socio-technical system such as marine vessel is dependent upon the interaction between technical, social, environmental and human elements; factors that can be important contributors to incidents which could potentially lead to catastrophe at sea (Wayne et al., 2005).

Cases of marine vessel accident involving personal injury, deaths, property and environmental damage have grown in tandem with increased oil prospecting and other commercial seaborne transportation activities in Niger-Delta/coastal regions of Nigeria. The incidence of marine vessel casualties and associated risk factors generate serious concern as further empirical evidence suggests that between 75-96% of marine vessel casualties are caused at least in part by some form of human error. This study investigates the determinants of accident involving marine vessels in Nigeria’s waterways.

1.2 Statement of the problem
In recent times, cases of marine vessel casualties involving personal injury, deaths and property/ environmental damage have grown in tandem with increased vessel traffic associated with oil prospecting activities and other commercial seaborne transportation in Niger-Delta/coastal regions of Nigeria. For example, statistics (cumulative figures) based on the study carried out by Dogarawa (2012) indicate that between year 2000 to 2009, a total number of five hundred and fifty-two (552) persons died either as a result of marine vessel and boat capsizing or collision in inland waters of Nigeria. This figure indicates an average fatality rate of about 55 deaths per year excluding vessel and cargo losses, in Nigeria’s coastal and inland waterways in the last ten years. Based on anecdotal evidence from some of the investigated cases; over-loading, excessive speeding, poor attention to weather condition, abandoned wrecks on navigation channels, incompetence and inadequate navigational aids are implicated. Across the globe, similar cases of marine vessels accidents at sea (and in seaports) have been documented. Darbra and Casal (2004) conducted a study on 471 cases of while vessel was underway at sea and 43% of accident in ports. Various causal factors have been documented; for example, the Maritime Safety Authority of New Zealand asserts that between the periods of 1995-1996; 49% of marine vessel incidents were attributed to human factors, 35% due to technical factors while 16% were caused by environmental factors. Similarly Rothblum (2002), reports that between 75 and 96% of marine vessel casualties are caused at least in part by some form of human error. Further empirical evidence also indicates that human error accounts for 84-88% of tanker accidents, 79% of towing vessel groundings, 89-96% of collisions, 75% of all collisions, 75% of fires and explosions (Rothblum, 2002). Similarly, Talley et al. (2005) observe that UK Thomas P&I Club survey of 1,500 insurance claims for shipping accidents around the world between 1987 and 1990, had found that 90% of the accidents were caused by human error. Two-thirds of the accidents involving personal injury claims were due to human error, e.g. carelessness or recklessness under commercial pressures, a misplaced sense of overconfidence, or a lack of either knowledge or experience. Human factor in this context is defined by Rothblum (2002) as one of the following: incorrect decision, an improperly performed action, or an improper lack of action (inaction). These statistics are disturbing given the level of measures so far adopted by local and international organizations to improve the standard of shipping and navigation.

1.3 Significance of the study
Maritime safety is governed by the combination of international rules and regulations, national regulations of the flag states and port states, port regulations, rules of the Classification Societies and Insurance Companies. For marine organisations, an important concern is how to prevent vessel casualties involving personal injury, deaths, property and environmental damage by establishing and maintaining a culture of strict adherence to safety practices. In Nigeria, the number of marine accidents increases with increase in the level of oil prospecting and other maritime transport activities along the Niger-Delta and coastal regions. For example, it has been documented that between year 2000 and 2009, a total number of 552 persons died either as a result of marine vessel and boat capsizing or collision in inland waters of Nigeria. Thus, an average fatality rate of about 55 deaths per year excluding vessel and cargo losses which have been recorded in Nigeria’s coastal and inland waterways in the last ten years. When accidents such as described above occur at sea, it is the norm within the industry to investigate, with the view of identifying the cause(s), evaluate its effects on lives and property, proffer remedial solutions and establish a system to prevent recurrence in future. Hence, the outcome of this research will improve both our understanding of the contribution of human and other causal factors of accident involving marine vessel and hence support implementation of prevention measures that effectively target these factors.

1.4 Aim and Objectives of the study
The main aim of the study is to investigate the determinants of accident in Nigerian waterways, utilizing a case study of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
The objectives of this study are to:
Assess the incidence of marine vessel accidents in the Niger Delta Nigerian waterways.
Determine the risk factors that lead to marine vessel accidents in Niger Delta Nigeria’s waterways.

AN ANALYSIS OF DETERMINANTS OF ACCIDENT INVOLVING MARINE VESSELS IN NIGERIA’S WATERWAYS: A CASE STUDY OF THE NIGER DELTA REGION