18 deaths in 2021 involving EU-registered ships


Between 2017 and 2021, an average of 25 people died each year worldwide in maritime accidents involving EU-registered ships.

The number of deaths for EU-registered ships increased by slightly more than one third, from 20 deaths in 2017 to 32 in 2018. The highest number of fatalities, 39, was registered in 2019 and then in 2020 that number fell to 15. This may be explained by the COVID-19 pandemic and the slowdown of maritime transport activities.

In 2021, the number of deaths involving EU-registered ships increased again to 18 deaths. Another six persons were killed in accidents in EU territorial seas but involving vessels registered outside the EU.

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

Among the 18 fatalities in accidents involving EU-registered vessels in 2021, five happened in the Atlantic Ocean, four in the Baltic Sea, three in the North Sea and one each in the Mediterranean Sea and the English Channel.

Examining the type of vessels involved reveals 12 fatalities on cargo ships, three on fishing vessels and two on service ships. One person died in an accident involving an inland waterway vessel for the first time in a period of five years between 2017 and 2021.

Out of the 18 deaths in 2021, 17 were crewmembers working on ships. For more information:

Methodological notes:

  • 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).