Source: adapted from data of The Swedish Club. Note: include bulk carriers, container vessels and tankers.
Ship grounding or ship stranding can be intentional or unintentional:
- Intentional grounding occurs in order to land crew or cargo, to ‘beach’ a vessel for scrapping, or to conduct maintenance or repairs. It demands very careful maneuvering and high navigational skills.
- Unintentional grounding refers to the accidental impact of the ship on the seabed or waterway side. Human errors mostly cause ship grounding accidents, sometimes by inadequate information related to the port access route or the seabed. Also, improper maneuvering and navigational operations are common causes for unintentional ship grounding. Mechanical failure (e.g. rudder malfunction or faulty navigation instruments) and bad weather conditions can also lead to groundings.
Grounding accidents can have wide-ranging effects on the ship, the port or navigational route, and the wider economy. In extreme cases, they can lead to the loss of human lives on board, the complete blockage of a port or maritime passage (such as in the case of the Ever Given incident at the Suez Canal), and/or severe environmental impacts (e.g. oil spills or damage caused by cargo loss on impact).