The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) is a UK government organisation, authorised to investigate all maritime accidents in UK waters and accidents involving UK registered ships worldwide. Investigations are limited to establishing cause, promoting awareness of risks and preventing recurrence. It also participates in other maritime investigations where British citizens are involved.
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) was established in 1989 as a result of a recommendation of the public enquiry into the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster in 1987, when a ro-ro passenger ferry capsized off Zeebrugge, leading to the loss of 193 lives, many of them British citizens.
The MAIB is a branch of the United KingdomDepartment for Transport which can investigate any accident occurring in UK waters, regardless of the nationality of the vessel(s) involved, and accidents involving UK registered ships worldwide.
Empowered by the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, it is a government organisation headed by the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents, currently Andrew Moll, who served in the Royal Navy prior to joining the MAIB. The MAIB is the marine equivalent of the much older Air Accidents Investigation Branch and the more recent Rail Accident Investigation Branch all of which report directly to the Secretary of State for Transport.
Investigations are thorough but are strictly limited to establishing cause, promoting awareness of risks and preventing recurrence. Reporting of accidents to the MAIB is mandatory for all commercially operated vessels in UK waters and for all UK registered vessels worldwide. The MAIB receives around 1,200 accident reports annually of which 25 to 30 become full investigations with published reports. The choice of which accidents are investigated is made on the basis of the scope of the safety lessons which may be learned as a result of the investigation. The reports which are without prejudice, do not apportion blame and do not establish liability.
Beginning on 3 August 2009 the MAIB had been headquartered in the Mountbatten House in Southampton. Previously the MAIB was headquartered in the Carlton House in Southampton.