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Abstract

The harbor tugboat operation is a very important business and process of Kaohsiung port. To ensure the safety of harbor tugboat operations and to reduce the occurrence of accidents, it is an important issue to conduct a risk assessment of tugboat operations for Kaohsiung port. Hence, the main purpose of this paper is employ the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) method to evaluate key risk factors influencing the harbor tugboat operations for Kaohsiung port. At first, a total of three evalu-ation dimensions with 14 preliminary risk factors are gener-ated from literature and interviews of tugboat captains. We then applied the steps of AHP method and AHP experts’ ques-tionnaires to evaluate the key risk factors. The empirical re-sults showed that: (1) ‘Tugboat operators’ is the most im-portant risk evaluation dimension influencing harbor tugboat operations for Kaohsiung port in Taiwan. (2) In order of rela-tive importance, The top six key risk factors influencing the harbor tugboat operations for Kaohsiung port are “judgment error,” “work fatigue,” “poor skills,” “communication mis-understanding,” “negligence of the relative motion between tugboats and commercial ships,” and “personality factors,” respectively. Furthermore, some recommendations concerning effective risk management strategies and advices are provided for harbor tugboat practitioners.

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