Text mining is a process of extracting information of interest from text. Such a method includes techniques from various areas such as Information Retrieval (IR), Natural Language Processing (NLP), and Information Extraction (IE). In this study, text mining methods are applied to extract causal relations from maritime accident investigation reports collected from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB). These causal relations provide information on various mechanisms behind accidents, including human and organizational factors relating to the accident. The objective of this study is to facilitate the analysis of the maritime accident investigation reports, by means of extracting contributory causes with more feasibility. A careful investigation of contributory causes from the reports provide opportunity to improve safety in future.
Two methods have been employed in this study to extract the causal relations. They are 1) Pattern classification method and 2) Connectives method. The earlier one uses naive Bayes and Support Vector Machines (SVM) as classifiers. The latter simply searches for the words connecting cause and effect in sentences.