Martime disasters including high profile incidents – such as the Costa Concordia disaster, Sewol ferry sinking and Norman Atlantic ferry fire – have made banner headlines in recent years but, interestingly, the overall number of ships lost at sea is declining. Back in 2007, 170 large vessels were lost and this fell to just 75 in 2014, according to a new report by Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty.
22 percent of all losses between 2009 and 2013 can be attributed to machine damage/breakdown with fire accounting for 16 percent. Hull damage and collision made up 9 percent of all losses each while 8 percent were due to storms. Even though the declining number of sinkings/losses may seem like good news for insurance companies, the increasing size of container ships may actually lead to bigger losses. The Mediterranean Shipping Co’s MSC Oscar became the largest container vessel in the world this year. Almost as long as four football fields and with a 19,224 teu capacity, a serious mishap involving a vessel like this could cost upwards of $1 billion.
Other interesting points from the report include:
• There were 2,773 casualties (incidents) during 2014 with the East Mediterranean & Black Sea region the hotspot (490), up 5% year-on-year.
• 75 large ships lost worldwide in 2014, down 32% year-on-year
• South China and South East Asian waters top loss hotspots
• East Mediterranean and British Isles top locations for incidents
• Cargo and fishing vessels account for over 50% of all losses
• Ship size growth raises risk management concerns. Industry should prepare for $1bn+ loss
• Lessons not learned from overreliance on e-navigation. Cyber protection a major concern
• December is the worst month for losses in the Northern Hemisphere (110) over the past decade with a 64% increase compared with the quietest month (May).