There continue to be fatalities within enclosed spaces on board ships. Mariners go to work at sea, undertake jobs onboard their ships, enter enclosed spaces, and some die during this activity. This is despite many years of guidance, legislation, and industry campaigns.

Over many years it has become clear that the fundamental root cause of the deaths occurring in marine enclosed spaces is the failure to establish a truly global marine industry safety culture, without which there remains an inability to learn and therefore improve.

A consequence of the lack of safety culture is the lack of effective education and training for the marine industry, both shore-based managers and seagoing mariners; on the complexities of identifying, managing and controlling enclosed space hazards and risks.

These problems all continue today because there is a demonstrable failure to learn from enclosed space incidents and any other incident in the past, combined with a lack of effective legislation designed to deal with this apparently intractable problem.

The number of casualties relating to enclosed spaces in the international maritime industry should be recorded within the International Maritime Organisation’s database system GISIS. However, it is felt that not all enclosed space casualties are recorded, and the analysis of this data is not robustly undertaken.

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