Bayesian updating in a fault tree model for shipwreck risk assessment
Journal article, 2017
Shipwrecks containing oil and other hazardous substances have been deteriorating on the seabeds of the world for many years and are threatening to pollute the marine environment. The status of the wrecks and the potential volume of harmful substances present in the wrecks are affected by a multitude of uncertainties. Each shipwreck poses a unique threat, the nature of which is determined by the structural status of the wreck and possible damage resulting from hazardous activities that could potentially cause a discharge. Decision support is required to ensure the efficiency of the prioritisation process and the allocation of resources required to carry out risk mitigation measures. Whilst risk assessments can provide the requisite decision support, comprehensive methods that take into account key uncertainties related to shipwrecks are limited. The aim of this paper was to develop a method for estimating the probability of discharge of hazardous substances from shipwrecks. The method is based on Bayesian updating of generic information on the hazards posed by different activities in the surroundings of the wreck, with information on site-specific and wreck-specific conditions in a fault tree model. Bayesian updating is performed using Monte Carlo simulations for estimating the probability of a discharge of hazardous substances and formal handling of intrinsic uncertainties. An example application involving two wrecks located off the Swedish coast is presented. Results show the estimated probability of opening, discharge and volume of the discharge for the two wrecks and illustrate the capability of the model to provide decision support. Together with consequence estimations of a discharge of hazardous substances, the suggested model enables comprehensive and probabilistic risk assessments of shipwrecks to be made.
Probabilistic risk assessment
Fault tree analysis