Keywords: risk analysis, simulation, Bayesian methods, maritime accidents, Istanbul Channel
A simulation study of the accident risk in the Istanbul Channel
The Istanbul Channel has a considerable amount of maritime traffic and is one of the most difficult-to-navigate waterways in the world. Ships are consequently prone to accidents. These accidents impose risks on the nearby population, property and the environment. Naturally, besides any adverse meteorological and geographical conditions, the increase in the volume of transit and local maritime traffic is likely to increase these risks. This study investigates possible factors contributing to accidents in the Channel using Bayesian analysis and simulation modelling. Bayesian analysis helps obtain estimates for conditional maritime accident probabilities in the Channel (conditions considered corresponding to some suspected accident-contributing factors, which can be routinely monitored and recorded over time). The simulation model takes into account Channel characteristics and critical traffic rules and behaviour in the Channel, and uses the conditional accident probabilities determined through the Bayesian method. Simulation results indicate significant increases in number of accidents in maritime conditions involving higher transit traffic rates, denser local traffic conditions, higher percentage of longer ships and/or adverse weather conditions. As such, this model provides a platform for the analysis of various accident-contributing factors and for scenario analysis.