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What is the reason behind the paradox of accident prevention in the maritime industry? This is the recurring theme in the book Leadership Under Conditions of Risk. In the 1980s and 1990s, the maritime industry experienced a series of accidents where human error was singled out as the major cause. As a consequence, the International Safety Code (ISM) was implemented. This code imposed all ships and shipping companies above a certain size to introduce quality systems. The paradox is that the number of shipping accidents was not reduced. On the contrary, such accidents had a slightly rising trend (see graphic).

Work-related injuries and ship accidents on NOR and NIS ships in the period 2000–2014. Source: the Norwegian Maritime Authority.


During the same period, however, the number of work-related injuries was greatly reduced. What causes this difference? What is the reason that the number of work-related injuries is going down, while the number of ship accidents remains as high, or is even increasing?

This question discussed in the Leadership Under Condition of Risk. The book provides a critical insight into the models the maritime industry has used as a foundation of the quality systems they have implemented. It provides insight into the fundamental differences between how work related accidents and ship accidents occurs and how they represent risks which are of different nature and therefore requires different approaches.

The author, Leiv Kåre Johannessen, has operational experience as a naval officer. He also has background from NTNU in Ålesund, both from teaching and research.