The bridge is a common maritime term for the room from which a large vessel is generally commanded. Though decisions about its operation are made all over the vessel, the bridge is generally considered to be central command and from this place the consequences of important navigational, logistical and safety choices are weighed.
Too often, accidents resulting in maritime injuries start with decisions that are made by individuals stationed at the bridge. Both the technical equipment they engage with as well as the more complex personal choices they grapple with may affect the well-being of everyone aboard. Accordingly, a new research and development project focused on bridge safety is currently being launched.
The new project is being funded by numerous organizations with assistance from the European Union broadly. It aims to consider both the technical and human aspects of bridge operations that lead to safety crises. By contemplating ways to forge both technical and human safety gaps in bridge operations, the experts conducting this three year project hope to influence safety positively throughout the operations of any given vessel.
Interestingly, four out of five maritime collisions and groundlings occur as a direct result of bridge system errors, failures and technical missteps. In addition, a host of other maritime accidents occur as a result of both technical and human errors within bridge operations.
It can often be difficult to know just where to begin when re-evaluating operational safety for maritime vessels. The industry is so dangerous that it seems that there is room for improvement everywhere. However, this new project is aimed at the heart of operations, which is not a bad focal point for considering new approaches to safety.
Source: Maritime Executive, “New R&D Project to Help Enhance Maritime Safety,” Marex, May 22, 2013
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