An accident investigation consists of an enforcement investigation and a safety investigation.
Enforcement investigation conducted by ILT
An enforcement investigation involves the investigation of reports of shipping accidents and occupational accidents in order to ensure compliance with regulations. This can be done with information, penalties or recovery measures. The enforcement investigation focuses on ship managers and shipping companies, but also involves the punishment of officers on Dutch sea-going vessels by means of disciplinary actions or prosecution according to the Dutch Criminal Code.
Safety investigation conducted by the Dutch Safety Board
Conducting safety investigations into shipping accidents and injuries sustained by the occupants of sea-going vessels is the task of the Dutch Safety Board. The Dutch Safety Board requires serious accidents to be investigated. The Dutch Safety Board can also conduct an investigation if a less serious accident has occurred.
If the Dutch Safety Board does not launch an investigation, ILT can investigate instead. In that case, a clear distinction must be made between a safety investigation and an enforcement investigation. A proper safety investigation will reveal all information. The person providing the information will only be willing to do so if this information is not used against him/her, e.g. at a trial at the Maritime Disciplinary Court of the Netherlands.
ILT does not conduct safety investigations
Information gathered by the Dutch Safety Board may not be used for enforcement purposes. Information acquired by ILT is not protected in this way. This information can be used by other services, such as the police, for taking enforcement measures. ILT will therefore not conduct safety investigations at this time.
The Dutch Safety Board and ILT have different roles and cannot simply share information. The Dutch Safety Board and ILT therefore sometimes conduct simultaneous investigations into the same shipping accident. The Dutch Safety Board conducts a safety investigation in that case, while ILT conducts an enforcement investigation. The crew then has to cooperate with two investigations.
Rulings of the Maritime Disciplinary Court of the Netherlands
The rulings of the Maritime Disciplinary Court of the Netherlands can be found on the website of the court.