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SHK has been investigating maritime accidents and serious incidents since 1990. The Swedish Transport Agency has the role of regulator and supervisory authority for the civil maritime transport sector in Sweden.

SHK investigates accidents and incidents that occur in direct connection with the operation of a ship.

Which types of vessels are affected by the investigation requirements?

  • Commercial, fishing, and government vessels flying the Swedish flag, re-gardless of where the accident occurred.
  • Foreign vessels in Swedish waters (except vessels used for foreign government purposes).
  • Accidents with vessels (regardless of flag and location) where Sweden has a substantial interest in the occurrence, such as accidents resulting in fatalities of Swedish citizens or significant damage to the Swedish environment.

Which accidents and incidents shall be investigated?

Very serious accidents, which have occurred in direct connection with the operation of a ship, where:

the vessel has been lost or abandoned at sea;

  • a person has died, or several persons have been seriously injured;
  • serious damage has occurred to the environment, or
  • the ship, or property that was not transported by the ship, has sustained extensive damage.
  • Incidents that could have led to a very serious accident shall also be investigated.

Preliminary assessment of serious accidents

Serious accidents – but which are not considered very serious – shall be subject to a formalized preliminary assessment before SHK takes a decision whether or not to investigate the event.

The following are examples of such serious accidents: fires, explosions, collisions, groundings, heavy weather or ice damages, hull cracking or similar events, which have occurred in direct connection with the operation of a ship, if the event has resulted in:

  • the vessel no longer fulfilling the applicable safety requirements, which entails a risk of damage to the vessel or injury to persons on board, or which constitutes an unreasonable threat to the environment;
  • damage to the environment;
  • a breakdown, which in turn has led to the need for towage or assistance from shore; or
  • the loss of a person from the ship.

SHK may also investigate less serious accidents and incidents

  • if there are important safety lessons to be learned from such an investigation.

Special rules apply to the investigation of occurrences involving foreign ro-ro or a high speed passenger ships in scheduled service.

SHK may delegate the responsibility to lead an investigation to another state, provided that the investigation is carried out in accordance with the Casualty Investigation Code of the International Maritime Organization, IMO (the IMO Code).


Accident Investigation Act (1990:712) Pdf, 103.3 kB, opens in new window.

Accident Investigation Ordinance (1990:717) Pdf, 121.9 kB.

Ordinance (2007:860) providing instructions for SHK Pdf, 12.5 kB, opens in new window.

Regulation (EU) No 1286/2011 adopting a common methodology for investigating marine casualties and incidents Pdf, 68 kB, opens in new window.

The Swedish Transport Agency External link, opens in new window.

International Maritime Organization, IMO External link, opens in new window.

See also Civil Maritime Transport - International


SHK does not keep accident and incident statistics. Please contact the Swedish Transport Agency for information.

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Last updated:
18 April 2024