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LU industrial engineers support Mariner Safety Research Initiative

Lamar University faculty researchers in Industrial Engineering have joined with the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) in creating the Mariner Safety Research Initiative (MSRI) to support maritime safety internationally.

MRSI is a collaborative effort of LU’s Brian Craig, professor and chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering, James Curry, associate professor, and Weihang Zhu, associate professor, and international maritime industry partners. The project began in 2009 as the Mariner Personal Safety (MPS) project, with the goal of focusing on the shipping side of the maritime industry. 

The MSRI includes two primary components, Craig said.  First, is an international database of more than 120,000 maritime injury or close call (near miss) reports from more than 31 data sources. These records represent more than 2,100 vessels and 50,000 mariners worldwide.

Secondly, MRSI has developed a novel Safety Culture/Leading Safety Indicators Assessment Strategy for the maritime industry.

The data used does not include potentially identifying characteristics, crewmember names, vessel names or ports of entry. Since the creating of the database, numerous improvements have been made to increase its functionality and capabilities. In 2015, it was proposed to create the MSRI as a public portion of the MPS providing the opportunity for all industry to benefit from the work completed through the MPS. It also creates opportunity for additional partnerships between maritime academies, external research groups, universities, and industry groups. 

Several international shipping companies have used this ABS/LU Safety Culture/Leading Indicator (SC/LI) assessment tool to identify areas of safety culture excellence and areas in need of safety culture improvement, as well as recommendations for improvement, Craig said. Craig also said, the Safety Culture/Leading Safety Indicators Assessment is unique it its analyses of the collected data and that the tool’s data collection, statistical analyses, and reports and recommendations generation are essentially automated, resulting in relatively quick and cost effective safety culture assessments.  

“The incident databases have enabled us to create the MSRI, as a public forum to share safety related materials and resources with not only industry partners, but the maritime industry as a whole,” he said. 

“The incident data has been analyzed to identify trends, possible causes and lessons learned to develop safety-related guidance materials including benchmarking statistics and relevant training tools,” Craig said.

The overall goal of the MSRI is to improve mariner safety through shared data findings and providing safety related documents in a useable context.

More details on the Mariner Safety Research Institute can be found at

Since its founding in 1862, the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), a New York not-for-profit corporation, has been committed to setting standards for safety and excellence as one of the world’s leading ship classification organizations.