Stephen E.Roberts: Surveillance of work related mortality among seafarer...

Start2006Stephen E.Roberts: Surveill...


The Isle of Man is a UK crown dependency able to operate a category 1 shipping register, permitting its marine administration to register vessels of unlimited size and tonnage. Little is known about work related mortality among seafarers who are employed in Isle of Man registered shipping.


To establish the causes and circumstances of all work related deaths among seafarers who were working on board Isle of Man registered ships during the 20 year period from 1986 to 2005, to compare mortality rates with those in other merchant fleets, and to discuss preventative measures.


A longitudinal population based study, based on examination of death inquiry files, and information from marine investigations of fatal accidents.


Over the 20 year study period, there were 65 work related deaths identified among seafarers employed in Isle of Man shipping. These deaths were caused by disease (20), accidents (34), suicide (2) and from unexplained circumstances (9). The mortality rate for accidents occurring at work was 53 per 100 000 seafarer-years for the seven years 1990, 1991, 1993-1997. Over the 18 years from 1988 to 2005 it was estimated at 44 per 100 000, while for confirmed suicides the suicide rate was estimated at 1.3 per 100 000.


Although the fatal accident rate was higher in Isle of Man shipping than in the national UK fleet; compared with those in other merchant fleets internationally, the fatal accident and suicide rates in the Isle of Man fleet are quite low.

Key words

merchant shipping, seafarers, Isle of Man, fatal accidents, mortality rates

Correspondence to:
Dr Stephen E.Roberts,
School of Medicine,
Swansea University,
Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP