Maritime transportation risk analysis: Review and analysis in light of some foundational issues

Floris Goerlandt, Jakub Montewka

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    175 Citations (Scopus)
    350 Downloads (Pure)


    Many methods and applications for maritime transportation risk analysis have been presented in the literature. In parallel, there is a recent focus on foundational issues in risk analysis, with calls for intensified research on fundamental concepts and principles underlying the scientific field. This paper presents a review and analysis of risk definitions, perspectives and scientific approaches to risk analysis found in the maritime transportation application area, focusing on applications addressing accidental risk of shipping in a sea area. For this purpose, a classification of risk definitions, an overview of elements in risk perspectives and a classification of approaches to risk analysis science are applied. Results reveal that in the application area, risk is strongly tied to probability, both in definitions and perspectives, while alternative views exist. A diffuse situation is also found concerning the scientific approach to risk analysis, with realist, proceduralist and constructivist foundations co-existing. Realist approaches dominate the application area. Very few applications systematically account for uncertainty, neither concerning the evidence base nor in relation to the limitations of the risk model in relation to the space of possible outcomes. Some suggestions are made to improve the current situation, aiming to strengthen the scientific basis for risk analysis.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)115-134
    JournalReliability Engineering and System Safety
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Foundational issues
    • Maritime accident
    • Maritime safety
    • Maritime transportation
    • Risk analysis principles


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