Ten deaths in 2020 involving EU-registered ships

Between 2016 and 2020, an average of 23 people died each year worldwide in maritime accidents involving EU-registered ships.

In 2017, deaths fell by one third when compared with 2016 (from 31 to 20 deaths), but then increased during 2018 and 2019 until they had returned to the level observed in 2016. A sharp fall (of two thirds, to 10) followed in 2020, which may be explained by the COVID-19 pandemic and the reduction in maritime activities.

This information comes from data on maritime safety published recently. The article presents a handful of findings from the more detailed Statistics Explained article.

The location of the ten deaths involving EU-registered ships that took place in 2020 included the Mediterranean Sea (three deaths) and the Baltic Sea (one death). The remaining six deaths resulted from accidents in other regions of the world.


Meanwhile, for accidents involving ships that were registered in countries outside the EU, an average of 18 people died each year in EU territorial seas during the same period. From 2016 to 2018, the number of such deaths fell sharply (from 42 deaths in 2016, to 9 in 2018). However, the number of deaths increased again in 2019 (to 16), and remained at roughly the same level in 2020 (14).

For more information:

  • The data are based on maritime accidents and incidents reported by the accident investigation bodies of the EU Member States, Iceland and Norway to the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).
  •  Statistics Explained article on maritime accident fatalities in the EU
  • Eurostat website section on transport
  • Eurostat database on transport (safety datasets under multimodal data)