Τhe importance of incident and near miss reporting in the development of safety is recognized in many high-risk industries, including shipping. Investigating incidents and near misses is a tool for continuous improvement of Safety Management Systems (SMS) in the sense that learning the lessons from incidents should help to improve safety performance in a proactive way and enhance safety culture.

Although most shipping companies have mandatory internal reporting procedures for safety incidents and near misses within their Safety Management Systems, according to the ISM Code of the SOLAS Convention, voluntary contribution of this information to open reporting systems is generally avoided.

The reasons for this are the existence of a blame culture among seafarers and shipping companies, poor or inappropriate feedback that reinforces mistrust to formal reporting systems and helps maintain the blame culture, complicated reporting systems and wide variations in the definition of incidents and near misses. As a result, the maintaining of a blame culture leads to complex reporting systems that do not support the dissemination of “lessons learned”.

To address these issues, HELMEPA in collaboration with DYNAMARINe, managing member-companies and the project partners created the Voluntary Incident Reporting Platform – VIRP.

The aim of this initiative is for HELMEPA and CYMEPA member- managing companies to voluntarily submit to the platform incident and near-miss reports of their vessels that will be maintained anonymously and will produce useful statistics and ‘lessons learned’ on safety issues. This information can then be incorporated in the risk assessment and the SMS of member companies and will be widely disseminated by HELMEPA to avoid repetition of the same mistakes and incidents.

Particular emphasis is placed on high-potential near-miss incidents, which are reported separately to the VIRP and participating companies are encouraged to separate these from the less important incidents.

Each participating Member Managing Company will receive a special password in an exclusive area on the VIRP online platform, where they will be able to maintain, monitor and manage all incidents and “near-miss” incidents of their vessels. From that point, the company will be able to select the high-risk and near-miss incidents that he will upload to the common area of ​​the electronic platform.

All incidents and near-miss reports submitted to the Platform are anonymous. Moreover, they are checked by HELMEPA so that any “sensitive” data that may lead to identification of individuals or vessels are removed. Useful statistics and results on trends and gaps on safety issues will be disseminated to participants through the VIRP platform and HELMEPA electronic updates.

The following HELMEPA Member Companies have supported the creation of the VIRP since the beginning, by providing useful tips and information and through the submission of incident and near-miss reports.

Aegean Bulk


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From the 2nd year of the project, the VIRP will be accessible to fishermen, motor and sailing boat captains, so that through their own voluntary reports of incidents, useful conclusions on safety issues can also be drawn for smaller boats.

Based on the above, it is estimated that the VIRP will constitute:

  • A useful tool for companies to control and manage their vessels’ incidents, identification of gaps or weak points in the SMS and implementation of corrective actions and preventive measures.
  • A valuable source of information for third parties on Safety trends and incidents that could lead to bad situations, in order to avoid recurrence.
  • A means of enhancing maritime safety culture of all seagoers in Greece and Cyprus through their participation in a process of wide experience sharing and enrichment of their knowledge on maritime safety issues.

The following Advisory Panel has been set up to monitor the operation of the platform and evaluate the submitted data so that useful conclusions are drawn (‘lessons learned’):

Advisory Panel

(in alphabetical order by company / organization)

Full NameCompany-OrganizationTitle
Christos GeorgousopoulosAriston Navigation Corp.DPA/CSO-Newbuildings Manager
Giannis Drakogiannopoulos, Merchant Marine Captain Costamare Shipping Company SARS&Q Manager / DPA-CSO
Chairman HELMEPA Training Committee
Dr. Stelios PerissakisDYNAMARINe Director
Vassilis Papazis,
Merchant Marine Captain
Εuronav Ship Management Hellas LtdTraining Manager
Member HELMEPA Training Committee
Costas TriantafillouHELMEPAHead of Strategy & Development
Project Manager
Dimitris SimakisLloyd’s RegisterArea Health & Safety Manager – South Europe
Constantinos Moutzouvis, Hellenic Coastguard CaptainHellenic Bureau for Marine Casualties Investigation (HBMCI)Director
Nikos Aslanis, Merchant Marine CaptainRepresentative - CHIRP Maritime UK, NI MARSHonorary Chairman Νautical Institute Greece (Hellenic) Branch
Michael CrosmanAmorgos Professional Fishing AssociationChairman