Enhancing maritime safety: A comprehensive review of challenges and opportunities in the domestic ferry sector


  • Mirza Zeeshan Baig World Maritime University, Fiskehamnsgatan1, Malmö 21118, Sweden
  • Khanssa Lagdami World Maritime University, Fiskehamnsgatan1, Malmö 21118, Sweden
  • Maximo Q. Mejia Jr. World Maritime University, Fiskehamnsgatan1, Malmö 21118, Sweden




Domestic passenger ferry, Sustainable shipping, Maritime safety, Challenges and opportunities, Non-convention craft


The domestic ferry sector is uniquely distinctive owing to its challenging navigation conditions and vulnerable accident records that have evoked endless calls for improving maritime safety. The recent adoption of IMO model safety regulations offers viable options for the Member States to standardize incorporation into national law. The operations of domestic ferries range from very large vessels with freight to small craft, which are often the only transport means for a large population of commuters in the developing world. The flexibility of domestic ferries is appealing; on the other hand, their operations are a challenge to handle, raising the need to identify those challenges that are incompatible with smooth operations and business opportunities. The maritime industry, specifically regarding domestic ferry operations, confronts multilayered challenges with direct implications on accident prevention and operational safety that necessitate a thorough analysis for a comprehensive understanding. This study explores five categories, namely, operations, technology and innovations, the human element, policy and regulation, and economics, recognized as pivotal to improving maritime safety. Our content analysis identifies the comprehensive taxonomies, that explain the current challenges and practical opportunities faced by the sector and which are notably lacking, urging efficient tenacity to ensure sustainable domestic ferry operations. The primary objective was to enhance safety standards, promoting sustainable shipping for all stakeholders involved. This study has identified 28 challenges and 90 opportunities, providing a significant pathway for sustainable decision-making that also adds value to the safety of the stakeholders. This study is expected to explore novel and fertile future research areas to promote scholarly discussion in the domestic ferry sector.


  • Policy deficiency - Recognition of inadequate policy frameworks for domestic ferry operations in developing nations, necessitating immediate alignment with international safety standards
  • Governance strengthening - There is an swift need for strong governance structures to address deficiencies in policy formulation, regulatory enforcement, and operational practices, ensuring effective safety oversight
  • Standardization challenges - The absence of standardized definitions and categorizations hampers the development of uniform safety regulations within the domestic ferry sector
  • Capacity building - Continuous training programs are necessary to foster a safety-conscious culture among the domestic ferry workforce
  • Policy adaptation - Policies must adapt to technological advancements, and collaboration with international bodies is vital for enhancing safety standards within the domestic ferry sector


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How to Cite

Baig, M. Z., Lagdami, K., & Mejia Jr., M. Q. (2024). Enhancing maritime safety: A comprehensive review of challenges and opportunities in the domestic ferry sector. Maritime Technology and Research, 6(3), 268911. https://doi.org/10.33175/mtr.2024.268911