Anyone in charge of a ship must report any accidents or incidents to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB).

This includes any:

  • collisions
  • breakdown
  • damage or structural failure
  • pollution

This applies to all:

  • operators
  • charterers
  • shipping agents
  • shippers of dangerous or polluting goods
  • port authorities
  • owners of traditional ships
  • managers, masters, pilots and ships’ officers
  • fishing vessel owners and skippers
  • leisure craft

How to report accidents or incidents

The details you need to send to MAIB are listed at annex D of marine guidance notice 458.

Marine Accident Investigation Branch
Telephone: 023 8039 5500
Outside of office hours: 023 8023 2527

Telephone outside the UK: +44 23 8039 5511
Outside office hours: +44 23 8023 2527

Fax: 023 8023 2459
Find out about call charges

Consolidated European Reporting System

You must use the online Consolidated European Reporting System (CERS) to report accidents if your:

  • traditional ship or recreational craft is 45 metres long or more
  • ship is over 300 gross tonnage
  • vessel is carrying dangerous or polluting goods


Some ships are exempt from reporting in certain circumstances. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has detailed guidance on CERS exemptions

Dangerous goods, pollutants and other harmful substances

The MCA has more information on reporting the discharge of harmful substances into the sea.