Incident Investigation


Under the IMO instruments, each flag State has a duty to conduct investigations into any marine casualty or marine incident occurring to any ship flying its flag, when it judges that such an investigation may assist in determining what changes in the present regulations may be desirable, or if such a casualty or incident has produced a major deleterious effect upon the environment.

The sovereignty of a coastal State extends beyond its land and port waters to the extent of its territorial sea. This jurisdiction gives the coastal State an inherent authority to investigate a marine casualty or marine incident connected with its territorial waters.

In this regard, MPA has legal provisions to carry out investigation into a marine casualty or marine incident that occurs within Singapore port waters and Singapore territorial waters, regardless of the flag. There are provisions that allow MPA investigator(s), conducting an investigation, to board a ship, interview the master and crew and any other persons involved, and acquire evidential material for the purposes of the investigation.


Owners and Masters must report a marine casualty or marine incidents to the Director of Marine (Fax: 65 6278 6992, Email: within 24 hours using the MPA Casualty Reporting Form which can also be found in our Shipping Circulars.

Marine Safety Investigation (MSI)

A Marine safety investigation conducted by the Ship Investigation Department (IVD) does not seek to apportion blame or determine liability. It is an investigation conducted with the objective of preventing marine casualties and marine incidents in the future.

The objective of a marine safety investigation is to advance maritime safety and protection of the marine environment. This is achieved by identifying safety deficiencies through systematic investigation of marine incidents and making appropriate recommendations or effecting change in the maritime system to correct these safety deficiencies e.g. reporting to IMO.

Sharing of Lessons Learnt

MPA shares the findings and root causes with the shipping community as appropriate, using -

  • Shipping Circulars;
  • Maritime Forums;
  • Seminars; or
  • Workshops and briefings


MPA as the National Maritime Regulator has a statutory duty to conduct investigations to determine culpability and take appropriate enforcement actions against those who contravene MPA’s regulations.

There are clear provisions to ensure that MSI and SI functions are distinct, and information or records obtained for the purpose of a Marine Safety Investigation cannot be used for the Statutory Investigation.