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Coastal Maritime Risk Assessments

Data relating to maritime casualties and operations is recorded and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), respectively. Almost all of this data exist only in tabular form, however, the datasets may be geocoded for analysis inside a geographic information system (GIS). A great number of steps must be taken to relate accident location to vessel trips.

Dobbins and Abkowitz recently performed a GIS-based analysis of inland marine casualties.[1] The study’s findings included the following:

  • Determining the number of trips on inland waterways was extremely difficult given current levels of aggregation and that the USACE uses to maintain carrier confidentiality.
  • There are quality issues related to the casualty’s location information (latitude/longitude and river/milepost). Precision of reported geographic coordinates has increased in recent years.

This research will build upon the inland waterway casualty data work mentioned above by adding U.S. deepwater ports and coastal areas to the case study area. The complete coastal vessel traffic picture will be developed using historical vessel entrance/clearance data maintained by the US Customs and Border Patrol Agency. The risk assessments will include safety data reports by vessel type (e.g., tanker, containership, etc.), vessel attributes (draft, etc.), year, registry flag and other relevant metrics.

Supplemental Notes: This research was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program (University of Memphis, Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute).

[1] Dobbins, J. and Abkowitz, M. “Use of Advanced Information Technologies for Marine Accident Data Analysis Visualization and Quality Control.” Journal of Transportation Safety and Security, awaiting publication 2010