Trends, Causal Analysis, and Recommendations from 14 Years of Ferry Accidents

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - ferry, operations - crowding, planning - safety/accidents


Ferry accidents, low-income nations, overcrowding, inadequate training, hazardous weather


Ferries and other passenger vessels provide a crucial mode of transportation for many in the developing world, especially in archipelagic nations like Indonesia and in river delta nations like Bangladesh. However, this dependence on passenger vessels coincides with a high rate of accidents and fatalities in many countries, linked to purchase of old, substandard, and/or inappropriate vessels in low-income nations; overcrowding; inadequate training; and sudden hazardous weather. Any serious attempt to decrease the number and fatality count of ferry accidents in the developing world must have a complete record of past incidents on which to draw. This report compiles detailed information on the 232 major accidents that occurred around the world between 2000 and 2014. It assesses the prevalence of various common factors in ferry accidents, including human error, hazardous weather, and overcrowding, and makes recommendations for future research into the prevention of ferry accidents.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by the Journal of Public Transportation, copyright remains with them.