Risk assessment in maritime domain is one of the most cited topics since maritime transportation poses potential hazard for human life, marine environment and property. To mitigate risk and enhance safety awareness in maritime transportation, safety researchers have been seeking proactive solutions. This article prompts a quantitative risk-based approach combining interval type-2 fuzzy sets (IT2FSs) with failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) to perform a comprehensive risk analysis. Thus, potential failure modes and their effects are revealed by calculating risk prioritisation numbers (RPNs). Whilst the FMEA method provides a robust risk analysing tool with relevant control options, the IT2FSs deals with ambiguity and vagueness of linguistic assessment of decision-makers through the FMEA. Hence, expert's linguistic assessment in risk assessment can be transformed into useful information in terms of enhancing safety and pollution prevention in maritime industry. To demonstrate the proposed approach, potential failures and effects of a real shipboard oil spill case are handled. The findings show that incomplete information exchanged with local maritime authorities, malfunction of oil skimmer and poor organization of shoreline clean-up team are the most important failures during case of oil spill. The proposed approach provides not only theoretical insight into the maritime transportation industry but also practical contributions to chemical/oil tanker safety and environmental protection by mitigating risk in terms of technical or operational aspects.