Marine Accident Investigation Branch

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) is a UK government agency, authorised to investigate all maritime accidents in UK waters and accidents involving UK registered ships worldwide. Investigations are limited to establishing cause, promoting awareness of risks and preventing recurrence. It also participates in other maritime investigations where British citizens are involved.

Marine Accident Investigation Branch
Marine Accident Investigation Branch - Logo
Agency overview
JurisdictionUK juristicaional waters,
HeadquartersSouthampton, Hampshire, United Kingdom
Annual budget£3,970,000 (2017)
Agency executive
  • Steve Clinch, Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents
Parent departmentDepartment for Transport
WebsiteOfficial website


The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) was established in 1989 following the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster, when a passenger ferry capsized off Zeebrugge, leading to the loss of 193 lives, many of them British citizens.[1]


The MAIB is a branch of the United Kingdom Department for Transport which can investigate any accident occurring in UK waters, regardless of the nationality of the vessel(s) involved, and accidents involving UK registered ships worldwide.[2][3]

Empowered by the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, it is a government agency headed by the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents, currently Steve Clinch, who worked in the shipping industry prior to joining the MAIB.[4] The MAIB is the marine equivalent of the much older Air Accidents Investigation Branch and the more recent Rail Accident Investigation Branch all of which report directly to the Secretary of State for Transport.[5]

Investigations are thorough but are strictly limited to establishing cause, promoting awareness of risks and preventing recurrence. Reporting of accidents to the MAIB is mandatory for all commercially operated vessels in UK waters and for all UK registered vessels worldwide. The MAIB receives between 1500 and 2000 incident reports annually of which 40 to 50 become full investigations with published reports. The choice of which accidents are investigated is made on the basis of the scope of the safety lessons which may be learned as a result of the investigation. The reports which are without prejudice, do not apportion blame and do not establish liability.[6]


Its current offices are located in Spring Place, Commercial Road, Southampton, Hampshire.[2] Since 3 August 2009 the MAIB had been headquartered in the Mountbatten House in Southampton.[7][8] Previously the MAIB was headquartered in the Carlton House in Southampton.[9]


Accident reports provide a very detailed analysis of one specific accident and recommendations to parties involved.
Annual Safety digests summarise the type of accidents and lessons which can be learnt. This is now classified by vessel type.
Safety flyers are issued if an investigation reveals an urgent general risk.
Safety studies look at patterns of accidents to inform policy makers, including the International Maritime Organization, Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Health and Safety Executive, some of whom have overlapping responsibilities. For example, the Review of lifeboats and launching systems' accidents revealed that 16% of fatalities investigated on merchant ships occurred during lifeboat training exercises. Unfortunately not one life was saved by a ship's lifeboat, reported in the UK, in the same 10-year period.[10]

See also

Other British accident investigation agencies

Equivalent agencies in other countries


  1. ^ The Herald of Free Enterprise - The official investigation report (Report of court No. 8074) (PDF) (Third ed.). Taunton: Department of Transport, UK (DOT) and Her Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO). 1 September 1987. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b "MAIB - About us". MAIB. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  3. ^ "What really happened, Learning by in depth accident investigation". Archived from the original on 21 January 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  4. ^ "Department for Transport: Steve Clinch appointed as new Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents". Department for Transport. 15 February 2010. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  5. ^ "After the political union of England and Scotland in 1707, the nation's official name became 'Great Britain'", The American Pageant, Volume 1, Cengage Learning (2012)
  6. ^ "MAIB Information leaflet". Marine Accident Investigation Branch. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Welcome to the MAIB website." Marine Accident Investigation Branch. Retrieved on 21 September 2009.
  8. ^ "How to find us." Marine Accident Investigation Branch. Retrieved on 21 September 2009.
  9. ^ "About Us." Marine Accident Investigation Branch. 22 June 2007. Retrieved on 21 September 2009.
  10. ^ "Review of lifeboats and launching systems' accidents". MAIB. Retrieved 29 October 2013.

External links

Accident Investigation Branch

Accident Investigation Branch or Accidents Investigation Branch may refer to:

Air Accidents Investigation Branch, a British government agency that investigates aviation accidents,and formerly known as the Accidents Investigation Branch

Marine Accident Investigation Branch, a British government agency that investigates marine accidents

Rail Accident Investigation Branch, a British government agency that investigates railway accidents

Bez 2 Trailer Sailer

The Bez 2 is a Trailer Sailer dinghy. In July 2005, the Bez 2 was involved in an accident in which two people died, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) made a subsequent report on the matter, which concluded that the dinghy does not meet stability and buoyancy requirements. The dinghy has since been taken off the market.

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is a sailing race around the world in 8 legs, with trained amateur crew members. The organisers own a fleet of identical yachts, the Clipper 70, and provide qualified skippers and additional qualified persons (AQPs) to lead each team. Crew can either sign up for the whole race, or one or more legs. The race was conceived in 1995 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston who founded Clipper Ventures plc as a company to run the race. The race ran every two years between 1996 and 2002, and then skipped a year, with subsequent races beginning in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2013, 2015 and 2017.In contrast to the slightly older but now-defunct Global Challenge the Clipper Race uses lighter, faster boats and the route follows the prevailing currents and winds. The current fleet of yachts are 11 Clipper 70 yachts first used in the 2013-14 race. The race has used two other previous classes of yacht comprising 8 Clipper 60s and 10 Clipper 68s. The inaugural race did not feature sponsor's branding. In 2000, The Times newspaper came on board as title sponsor with some yachts being sponsored by international cities. The 2017-18 race had yachts sponsored by international cities as well as yachts sponsored by varying organisations, the 2019–20 race is still announcing sponsors.

Flying Phantom

Flying Phantom was a tug built in 1981 for the Clyde Shipping Company and based in Greenock in Scotland. As a consequence of business takeovers and mergers, by 2001 she was owned by Svitzer Marine Ltd of Middlesbrough, though still based on the Clyde.

She sank in the River Clyde at Clydebank on 19 December 2007, with the loss of Stephen Humphreys (captain), Robert Cameron (engineer) and Eric Blackley (deckhand) with only Brian Aitchison surviving. She was one of three tugs assisting the bulk carrier Red Jasmine. On the night of the accident, there was extremely poor visibility, due to heavy fog.

Following the incident the Marine Accident Investigation Branch carried out a full investigation on the accident, and their report was published in September 2008. The MAIB concluded that failings in the safety regime of the harbour authority Clydeport, as well as operational shortcomings by the tug operator, contributed to the capsize of Flying Phantom and the loss of the three crew-members.

Earlier reports that criminal charges had been laid against Clydeport and Svitzer were confirmed on 22 April 2013.

In October 2013, Svitzer pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety laws, and was fined £1.7 million.In September 2014 Clydeport was also fined.

HSC Express 1

Express 1 is a high-speed catamaran operated by Molslinjen between Aarhus and Odden.

Along with its sister ship, the Express 2, they are the world's largest diesel-powered catamarans.

Hythe Pier, Railway and Ferry

Hythe Pier, the Hythe Pier Railway and the Hythe Ferry provide a link between the English port city of Southampton and the Hampshire village of Hythe on the west side of Southampton Water. It is used both by commuters and tourists, and forms an important link in the Solent Way and E9 European coastal paths.

The pier, railway and ferry service are currently operated by Blue Funnel Ferries of Southampton. In October 2016 the previous owners (White Horse Ferries) warned their staff of potential redundancy which suggested an uncertain future from the pier and ferry service. After months of talks Lee Rayment of Blue Funnel completed negotiations to acquire the Pier, Train and Ferry with operations starting on 21 April 2017.The railway is the oldest continuously operating public pier train in the world.

Kenny Dwan

Kenneth Victor Dwan (born 6 July 1948) is a former British rower who competed in the Olympic Games in 1968 and 1972 and won the Wingfield Sculls six times.

Dwan was born in Rotherhithe, London to a family of lightermen in the Port of London. He joined Poplar Blackwall and District Rowing Club at the age of 12 initially as a cox but soon as an oarsman. When he was 15 he was apprenticed as lighterman to his grandfather Williams and this allowed him to enter the novice sculls in the National Dock Labour Board (NDLB) regatta at Putney. He won the race which included contestants of that year’s Doggett's Coat and Badge Race. While he was sculling he continued working as a lighterman and worked for Humphrey & Grey starting as a boy in the tug Sir John. After two year with Humphrey & Grey he obtained his lighterman’s licence and went on the dock labour pool to experience a variety of firms. During 1967 the decasualisation scheme following Devlin’s report was implemented and all dock workers had to be allocated to an employer. Dwan was allocated to F.T. Everard at Greenhithe, of whom he said “The management were very good to me in allowing me time to train. I could not have wished for better employers”.In 1968 Dwan was runner-up in the Diamond Challenge Sculls at Henley Royal Regatta. He also competed for Great Britain in the single scull in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico. He reached the final and came 6th overall. Also in 1968 he won the Wingfield Sculls for the first time. He won the WIngfield Sculls again in 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1972. In 1972 he competed again for Great Britain in the single scull in the Summer Olympics in Munich when he came 9th. Dwan was runner up in the Diamond Challenge Sculls in 1974 and won the Wingfield Sculls for the sixth time in 1975.

In 1977 Dwan was accepted as one of Royal Watermen during the Queen’s Jubilee Year. Dwan continued to work as a lighterman, but with severance at the docks, he decided to work for himself and withdrew from lighterage and rowing at the same time. For a while he worked on the building of the Thames Barrier, and then on pleasure boats on the River Thames. He then went into business with Bill Ludgrove and set up their own company Thames Cruises. The business grew and they bought a repair yard at Eel Pie Island. Thames Cruises owned the pleasure boat Marchioness which was sunk with loss of life in the Marchioness disaster when the pleasure boat collided with a dredger ""Bowbelle" in August 1989. The disaster was found by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch to have been caused by the poor visibility from each ship's wheelhouse, the fact that both vessels were using the centre of the river, and that no clear instructions were given to the look-out at the bow of the Bowbelle. Twelve years later another report by Lord Clarke also blamed poor lookouts on both vessels for the collision and criticised the owners and managers of both vessels for failing to properly instruct and monitor their crews. In 2004 Dwan was appointed Queen's Bargemaster, being responsible for the safety of the Queen when she travelled by water. However in the light of protests because of his involvement with the Marchioness disaster, he resigned.


MAIB is an acronym which may refer to:

Marine Accident Investigation Branch, United Kingdom

Movement for the Self-Determination of Bioko Island (Movimiento para la Auto-determinación de la Isla de Bioko), Equatorial Guinea

Moldova Agroindbank, Republic of Moldova


MIAB may refer to:

Magnetically Impelled Arc Butt, a type of welding process

Marine Accident Investigation Branch, a branch of the United Kingdom Department for Transport

Member of the International Association of Book-keepers

Message in a bottle, a form of communication whereby a message is sealed in a container and released into a body of water, an Austrian electronic music band

Music Industry Association of Belize, an organization formed by Ivan Duran

MV Alam Pintar and FV Etoile des Ondes collision

The MV Alam Pintar and FV Etoile des Ondes collision

took place in the English Channel in 2009 and involved the Singapore bulk carrier Alam Pintar and the UK fishing vessel Etoile des Ondes. The fishing vessel sank and, although three of its four crew were rescued, one member, Chris Wadsworth, was never found. The bulk carrier continued on its passage although its crew knew of the collision and later made attempts to hide the fact of their knowledge. Three other vessels nearby did not respond to Etoiles' distress calls, even though these were also broadcast by the coastguards. The rescue was eventually carried out by the ferry MV Norman Voyager. The UK's Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) carried out a full investigation of the incident and issued a damning report. Safety recommendations were made but under maritime law national governments have no authority over foreign-flagged vessels more than 12 nautical miles (22 km) from their coasts. No country attempted any criminal prosecutions.

MV Cemfjord

The Cemfjord was a Cyprus-registered cargo ship which foundered in the Pentland Firth off the north-east coast of Scotland on 2 January 2015. Built as the general cargo ship Margareta in 1984, she was converted to carry cement in 1998 and was en route from Aalborg, Denmark to Runcorn, Cheshire, United Kingdom when she capsized in bad weather and sank in 82 metres (270 ft) of water. All eight crew were presumed lost. No bodies were recovered, and the ship has been left as a sea grave.

MV Claymore (1978)

MV Claymore was a car and passenger ferry built in 1978 for Caledonian MacBrayne. For ten years, she operated between Oban and the Outer Isles. Between October 2002 and March 2009, she was the Pentland Ferries relief vessel on the Short Sea Crossing to Orkney. Since March 2009, she has operated, as MV Sia, a RORO cable-laying and supply vessel.

MV Eurovoyager

The MV Voyager was a freight and passenger ferry which was operated by Transeuropa Ferries.

MV Höegh Osaka

MV Höegh Osaka is a roll-on/roll-off car carrier ship that was built in 2000 as Maersk Wind for A P Møller, Singapore. She was sold to Höegh Autoliners (Leif Höegh & Co) in 2008 and later renamed Höegh Osaka in August 2011. On 3 January 2015 she developed a severe list and was intentionally grounded in the Solent. Her 24 crew and a pilot were subsequently rescued.

MV Swanland

MV Swanland was a bulk carrier.

The ship was built by Bijlsma Lemmer Scheepswerf of Lemmer in the Netherlands in 1977. Originally named Carebeka IX, she was renamed several times. The vessel was last owned and operated as Swanland by Torbulk, a company based in Grimsby, and was registered in the Cook Islands as a flag of convenience. She was 266 feet long and 46 feet wide with a draft of 11 feet, and displaced 2,180 tons.

In 2010, she narrowly avoided grounding off Lizard Point, Cornwall, after her engines failed and she had to be taken in tow by the emergency tow vessel Anglian Princess and towed into Falmouth.Swanland sank in a gale force 8 storm in the Irish Sea 10 miles off the Lleyn Peninsula, Gwynedd at approximately 0200 on Sunday 27 November 2011. She was carrying limestone from Raynes Jetty near Colwyn Bay to Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

The search and rescue mission was co-ordinated by Holyhead Coastguard and involved RNLI lifeboats from Pwllheli, Abersoch and Porthdinllaen, RAF Sea King search and rescue helicopters of No. 22 Squadron RAF flying out of RAF Valley and Royal Marines Barracks, Chivenor, A Royal Navy Sea King from 771 Naval Air Squadron based at RNAS Culdrose, Irish Naval Service patrol ship LÉ Róisín and an Irish Air Corps Casa maritime patrol aircraft, and Irish Coast Guard helicopters from Dublin, Waterford and Sligo, and other ships in the area – MT Bro Gazelle, MT Monsoon and MT Keewhit.

Two of the Russian crew, Roman Savin (26), and Vitaliy Karpenko (48), were rescued during the sinking with Prince William taking part in the rescue mission. A third crewman, Chief Officer Leonid Safonov (50) was later found dead during a search for survivors. The rescued crew described how a large wave broke the ship's back.On 11 December 2011 the BBC reported that Swanland had been subject to repeated safety concerns due to unsafe loading and unloading practices that may have placed stress on the hull. The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) conducted an inquiry into the sinking and published its report in June 2013

Marchioness disaster

The Marchioness disaster was a collision between two vessels on the River Thames in London in the early hours of 20 August 1989, which resulted in the deaths of 51 people. The pleasure steamer Marchioness sank after being hit twice by the dredger Bowbelle at about 1:46 am, between Cannon Street railway bridge and Southwark Bridge.

Marchioness had been hired for the evening for a birthday party and had about 130 people on board, four of whom were crew and bar staff. Both vessels were heading downstream, against the tide, Bowbelle travelling faster than the smaller vessel. Although the exact paths taken by the ships, and the precise series of events and their locations, are unknown, the subsequent inquiry considered it likely that Bowbelle struck Marchioness from the rear, causing the latter to turn to port, where she was hit again, then pushed along, turning over and being pushed under Bowbelle's bow. It took thirty seconds for Marchioness to sink; 24 bodies were found within the ship when it was raised.

An investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) blamed a lack of lookouts, but their report was criticised by the families of the victims, as the MAIB had not interviewed anyone on Marchioness or Bowbelle, but relied on police interviews. The government refused to hold an inquiry, despite pressure from the families. Douglas Henderson, the captain of Bowbelle, was charged with failing to have an effective lookout on the vessel, but two cases against him ended with a hung jury. A private prosecution for manslaughter against four directors of South Coast Shipping Company, the owners of Bowbelle, and corporate manslaughter against the company was dismissed because of lack of evidence.

A formal inquiry was finally held in 2000. Its report concluded that "The basic cause of the collision is clear. It was poor lookout on both vessels. Neither vessel saw the other in time to take action to avoid the collision." Further criticism was also aimed at the owners of both ships, the Department of Transport and the Port of London Authority. The collision and the subsequent reports led to increased safety measures on the Thames, and four new lifeboat stations were installed on the river.

Rail Accident Investigation Branch

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) is a British government agency that investigates rail accidents in the United Kingdom and the Channel Tunnel in order to find a cause, not to lay blame. Created in 2005, it is required by law to investigate accidents causing death, serious injuries or extensive damage. It also has authority to investigate incidents that could have resulted in accidents. It currently has two bases – Derby and Farnborough – to allow it to respond quickly to accidents.

SS Californian

SS Californian was a British Leyland Line steamship that is best known for its inaction during the sinking of the RMS Titanic on 15 April 1912, despite being the closest ship in the area. The United States Senate inquiry and British Wreck Commissioner's inquiry into the sinking both concluded that the Californian could have saved many or all of the lives that were lost, had a prompt response been mounted to the Titanic's distress rockets. The U.S. Senate inquiry was particularly critical of the vessel's Captain, Stanley Lord, calling his inaction during the disaster "reprehensible".Despite this criticism, no formal charges were ever brought against Lord and his crew for their actions. Lord disputed the findings and would spend the rest of his life trying to clear his name. In 1992, the UK Government's Marine Accident Investigation Branch re-examined the case and while condemning the inaction of the Californian, also concluded that due to the limited time available, "the effect of Californian taking proper action would have been no more than to place on her the task actually carried out by Carpathia, that is the rescue of those who escaped... [no] reasonably probable action by Captain Lord could have led to a different outcome of the tragedy."Californian was later sunk on 9 November 1915, by the German submarine U-35, in the Eastern Mediterranean during World War I.

Solway Harvester

The Solway Harvester was a scallop dredger from Kirkcudbright, Scotland which sank off the coast of Ramsey, Isle of Man in heavy storms on 11 January 2000 with the loss of all seven crew members.

Following salvage, the damaged ship was taken to Douglas, Isle of Man, where she remained until cut up for scrapping in January 2014.

Department for Transport of the United Kingdom
Executive agencies
public bodies
Maritime accident and incident investigation agencies

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