SHK has in two reports found that the legislation on ship safety is unclear regarding barges. This has the consequence that many barges for commercial use in practice is not subject to supervision and rules on certificates do not apply. Over a ten year period there were 44 accidents reported 44 where barges were involved. Many of the accidents can be classified as serious or very serious.
SHK noted in its final report RS 2015:03 that both the Government Offices (Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation) and the Swedish Transport Agency were well aware of the problems and were working actively with the issue to get a satisfactory solution. Against this background, SHK considered that there was no reason at the time to issue a specific safety recommendation on the matter.
According to information given to SHK there will be changes in 2017 that will affect the oversight of the smaller vessel tonnage. However, the changes will not include barges at this stage.
Due to this, SHK has in its final report RS 2016: 08, published October 26, 2016, issued a safety recommendation to the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation to speed up the work so that also barges without their own steering system shall be subjected to supervisory requirements and other regulations relevant to maritime safety.