Marine Accident Investigation Branch

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Marine Accident Investigation Branch
Marine Accident Investigation Branch - Logo.svg
Agency overview
JurisdictionUK vessels worldwide, any vessels in UK waters
HeadquartersSouthampton, Hampshire, United Kingdom
Annual budget£4,153,000 (2019)
Agency executive
  • Andrew Moll, Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents
Parent departmentDepartment for Transport
WebsiteOfficial website

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) is a UK government organisation, 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.


The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) was established in 1989 as a result of a recommendation of the public enquiry into the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster in 1987, when a ro-ro 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 organisation headed by the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents, currently Andrew Moll, who served in the Royal Navy prior to joining the MAIB.[4][5] 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.[6]

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 around 1,200 accident reports annually of which 25 to 30 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.[7]


Its current offices are located in Spring Place, Commercial Road, Southampton, Hampshire.[2]

Beginning on 3 August 2009 the MAIB had been headquartered in the Mountbatten House in Southampton.[8][9] Previously the MAIB was headquartered in the Carlton House in Southampton.[10]


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.[11]

See also[edit]

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. ^ "Southampton boat crash: Emily Lewis died after 'high-speed manoeuvres'". BBC. 20 May 2021. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  6. ^ "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)
  7. ^ "MAIB Information leaflet". Marine Accident Investigation Branch. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  8. ^ "Welcome to the MAIB website." Marine Accident Investigation Branch. Retrieved on 21 September 2009.
  9. ^ "How to find us." Marine Accident Investigation Branch. Retrieved on 21 September 2009.
  10. ^ "About Us." Marine Accident Investigation Branch. 22 June 2007. Retrieved on 21 September 2009.
  11. ^ "Review of lifeboats and launching systems' accidents". MAIB. Retrieved 29 October 2013.

External links[edit]