For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Ship collision.

Ship collision

This article is missing information about investigations and laws following ship collisions. Please expand the article to include this information. Further details may exist on the talk page. (September 2010)

Ship collision is a type of maritime incident, a violent encounter involving moving ship(s). While the standard definition of collision involves more than one moving ship, and an engagement between a ship and a motionless object is formally known as "allision", in practice the word "collision" is used to describe also the situation where a moving ship hits a stationary ship or a fixed object, like a bridge.[1]

Ship collisions are of particular importance in marine accidents. Some reasons for the latter are:

  • The loss of human life.
  • The environmental impact of oil spills, especially where large tanker ships are involved.
  • Financial consequences to local communities close to the accident.
  • The financial consequences to shipowners, due to ship loss or penalties.
  • Damage to coastal or off-shore infrastructure, for example collision with bridges.

As sea lanes are getting more congested and ship speeds higher, there is a good possibility that a ship may experience an important accident during her lifetime. Higher speeds may cause larger operational loads, like slamming, or excessively severe loads, for example during a collision. Denser sea routes increase the probability of an accident—in particular a collision—involving ships or ships and shore or offshore structures.[citation needed]

Almost 27% of ship collisions occur near coasts and 22% at narrow channels.[2] This is due to disregarding best practices and regulations by navigation officers and masters. In addition, the IMO guidelines for voyage planning are not always followed. Violations usually occur when inadequate safe speed, overtaking or miscommunication with the pilot.[3]

Collisions with wildlife

Large whales and species like sea turtles or whale sharks often suffer lethal wounds from collisions with ships ("vessel strikes").[4][5][6] There are programs in development and implementation phases, aimed at reducing vessel speed in critical waterways, both voluntarily and by regulation, which aim to protect endangered whales.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Healy & Sweeney 1991, p. 359.
  2. ^ Karahalios, Hristos (1 March 2014). "The contribution of risk management in ship management: The case of ship collision". Safety Science. 63: 104–114. doi:10.1016/j.ssci.2013.11.004.
  3. ^ Karahalios, Hristos (2019). Risk Analysis of Ship Operations: Research and Case Studies of Shipboard Accidents. Independently Published. ISBN 978-1-7907-9149-1.[page needed][self-published source?]
  4. ^ "Ship Strikes". IWC. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  5. ^ "Ship strikes". WWF. Retrieved 2018-02-26. Collisions between cetaceans and vessels – known as 'ship strikes' or 'vessel strikes' – are a significant cause of death and traumatic injury for cetaceans. And these accidents are likely to become more common in the future due to the increasing amount of traffic on our seas, and the increasing size and speed of today's ships.Tackling this threat to the world's cetaceans is hampered by the fact that under- or non-reporting of ship strikes is still the norm around the globe. ... Since its creation in 2009, more than 1,200 incidents have been registered [until 2014].
  6. ^ Womersley, Freya C.; et al. (2022). "Global collision-risk hotspots of marine traffic and the world's largest fish, the whale shark". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 119 (20): e2117440119. Bibcode:2022PNAS..11917440W. doi:10.1073/pnas.2117440119. hdl:10754/676739. PMC 9171791. PMID 35533277.
  7. ^ "Innovating to Save Endangered Whales in the Santa Barbara Channel". UCSB Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. Retrieved 2024-01-23.


  • Healy, Nicholas J.; Sweeney, Joseph C. (July–October 1991). "Basic Principles of the Law of Collision". Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce. 22 (3): 359–404.

{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Ship collision
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?