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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

BTS Releases the Pilot Report on Maritime “Near Misses”

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), in partnership with U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD), piloted an effort to test the feasibility of reporting maritime near-misses, called the Safe Maritime Transportation System (SafeMTS).

Safety Reporting:

Near-miss events, which are narrowly avoided collisions or other accidents, happen in the maritime industry and are an important source of precursor safety information which can be used to develop strategies to avoid collisions or accidents from happening. SafeMTS starts to fill an industrywide gap in near-miss reporting, that the industry has been working toward for years. BTS, MARAD, and industry stakeholders collaborated to develop an information sharing program that, once mature, can be used to develop preventive safety measures and lower the risk of more serious, or even catastrophic events.

Confidentiality Protection:

BTS administered this pilot under its authority stipulated in the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA).  CIPSEA prohibits BTS from disclosing information in identifiable form for any non-statistical purpose without the informed consent of the data provider.  Under CIPSEA BTS was able to satisfy legal concerns among companies about sharing their sensitive information.

Results described in the report, while not representative of the entire maritime industry, are illustrative of the types of data and analyses that can be developed when the program is in full operation.

Impact of Reporting Data:

Industry participation in near-miss reporting is a crucial part of maritime safety. CIPSEA allowed BTS to facilitated data sharing, and this pilot program confirms the feasibility of reporting maritime near-misses.