Ship grounding is the impact of a ship on seabed or waterway side. It may be intentional, as in beaching to land crew or cargo, and careening, for maintenance or repair, or unintentional, as in a marine accident. In accidental cases, it is commonly referred to as "running aground."
When unintentional, grounding may result simply in stranding, with or without damage to the submerged part of the ship’s hull. Breach of the hull may lead to significant flooding, which in the absence of containment in watertight bulkheads may substantially compromise the ship's structural integrity, stability, and safety.
Severe grounding applies extreme loads upon ship structures. In less severe accidents, it might result only in damage to the hull; however, in most serious accidents, it might lead to hull breaches, cargo spills, total loss of the vessel, and, in the worst cases, human casualties.
From a global perspective, grounding accounts for about one-third of commercial ship accidents, and ranks second in frequency, after ship–on–ship collision.
Among the causes of unintentional grounding are:
However, the effects of most of the causal factors have been considered anecdotal, without evidential support.
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