The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has published a report prepared by Frazer-Nash Consultancy and its project partner, Solis Marine, which analyses the risks to and from shipping in the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The UK EEZ Shipping Risks and Emergency Towage Provision Study, which can be found on the UK Government website here, was initiated upon the recommendation of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) to assess the risk to and from shipping in the Dover Strait. Stimulus for the report followed the MAIB’s investigation into a shipping incident in November 2016, but the scope of the recommendation was expanded to include the entire EEZ, to provide the MCA with a broad comprehension of risk within its waters.
Keir Gravil, Commercial Marine Business Manager at Frazer-Nash, described the background to the report, and what was involved in its preparation:
“The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has a duty on behalf of the UK Government to regularly reassess the risk to UK waters from shipping related pollution. Until 2011, the MCA operated four Emergency Towage Vessels (ETVs), whose role is to intercept ships which have become disabled before they ground or collide with other ship traffic, as a risk mitigation measure for counter-pollution purposes, but in 2011 a decision was made to remove these vessels. It was believed that market forces would take hold, and the provision of commercially-available towage would increase. There is evidence, however, that the commercial towage market has not responded as originally envisaged, while the UK maritime environment has increased in complexity over the same period.
“Over the course of 2019/2020, Frazer-Nash and its project partner, Solis Marine, worked with the MCA to develop an analysis of the risks to and from shipping in the UK's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). We also undertook a cost-benefit analysis for the provision of new emergency towing vessels around the coastline.
“This challenging project involved the interrogation of terabytes of data and some very complex analysis, to be presented at ministerial level. Our expertise in big data analysis and interrogation, risk analysis and economic analysis, together with our knowledge of the maritime domain meant we were able to undertake a risk analysis and cost-benefit analysis to help the MCA understand the societal cost of a potential incident.
“The report is now being used as part of an ongoing assessment for the future provision of ETVs, and the MCA is engaging with ministers to assess the implications of the report’s recommendations.”
Read the full report, UK EEZ Shipping Risks and Emergency Towage Provision Study here.