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Article Open Access

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Journal of International Maritime Safety, Environmental Affairs, and Shipping

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Safety is often described as freedom from unacceptable risk. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) since its establishment has consistently been working towards mitigation of risks at sea by implementing measures through specific legal Instruments. The IMO’s principle Instrument with this focus is the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended (SOLAS). By identifying and examining a wide range of risks that must be addressed in order to ensure the safe operations of ships at sea, the chapters of SOLAS provide the necessary mitigation measures. This paper goes on to discusses three specific risks among those being mitigated by SOLAS, which are a) structural integrity and stability related risks; b) fire risk and c) navigational risk. The reason for this choice is quite simple: analysis of past statistics from shipping incidents databases clearly indicates that these risks are recorded with the highest numbers; with statistics testifying that navigational risk is linked to the greatest number of accidents. A conclusion clearly standing out is that the various measures being put forward by SOLAS and the associated supporting Codes work in a complementary manner and together have provided a positive contribution towards the safety of personnel, environment and property.

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