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Ferry accidents are fairly common globally, causing countless deaths and injuries. Whereas ferry transportation is an integral part of the domestic transport infrastructure in many countries, particularly archipelagic countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines, river deltaic countries like Bangladesh, countries with extensive riverine systems such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and Senegal, or even a combination of great lakes, rivers and archipelago such as Tanzania, these countries are experiencing a high number of ferry accidents and fatalities over the past two decades and, therefore, considered high-risk countries in the ferry transport sector. International community continuously seeks to enhance safety in the domestic ferry industry. Thus, a scoping study has been conducted on the safety of domestic ferries in these seven high-risk countries. The study utilizes a structured methodology to identify focus areas in the seven countries for enhancing safety in the domestic ferry sector. The analysis involves past domestic ferry accidents, maritime profile, industry demographics and stakeholder matrix, regulatory and governance climate, political landscape, and amenability to change and external intervention. Eventually, the study proposes a conceptual framework with fifteen distinct criteria, identified against five attributes as an aid to the decision-making in a country for considering a safety intervention with a high likelihood of success and a significant positive impact on safety in the domestic ferry sector. Furthermore, current hazards threatening the safety of domestic ferries and their role in the formation of accidents; key stakeholders of domestic ferry sector and their state of play; national regulations related to the safety of domestic ferries and alignment with the IMO model regulations; national political landscape; state’s willingness to facilitate and receive a safety intervention; and public attitude towards safety are presented in the respective countries using globally recognized indices, questionnaire surveys and personal interviews.


Publication Date



World Maritime University




domestic ferry safety, ferry accident analysis, inland-water transport, multi-criteria decision analysis



Safety of domestic ferries: A scoping study of seven high-risk countries