Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Maritime Disaster Hot Spots Identified as Latest Stricken Vessel Still Burns  

Global Ship Losses Analysed by Marine Insurers

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Shipping News Feature WORLDWIDE – As the Iranian operated Suezmax tanker Sanchi continues to burn at sea, the area she was stricken in has been identified as the leading region for maritime accidents. Marine insurance group Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) has been analysing data from the Lloyd's List Intelligence casualty statistics which reveal East/South East Asian waters as the top worldwide hotspot for shipping losses. The 34 ships lost in this region in 2016 account for 40% of global losses of 85 ships for the period. Although the main losses were freight and container vessels, passenger ships are also included in the totals.

The areas in question incorporate the collective maritime zones covering Japan, Korea, North China as well as South China, South East Asia, Indonesia and Philippines. The picture however is not as gloomy as it might be, total losses have dropped by 50% globally from 171 ships in 2007 to that figure of 85 in 2016. However, the number of total losses in these East/South East Asian waters have declined far less over this decade, averaging 39 per year which equals one third of all worldwide total losses (33%). Fire/explosion was the cause of 7% of all shipping incidents (including losses) in the East/South East Asia region over the past decade (269 out of 3,915).

In its 2017 Safety and Shipping Review, AGCS analysed 25,898 shipping incidents including 1,186 ‘total losses’ between January 2007 and December 2016. Captain Rahul Khanna, Global Head of Marine Risk Consulting at AGCS, who is an ex-tanker captain with over 14 years’ experience at sea, explained why he feels so many incidents have occurred in those East/South East Asian waters, saying:

“Some have dubbed this wide region as a ‘new Bermuda Triangle’. I wouldn’t go that far but it is certainly the number one region worldwide for major shipping incidents. Not only are the seas here very busy, but they are also prone to bad weather and, although I can’t speculate on this event, some safety standards in the region are not always as high as one would expect from established international standards.”

The tanker sector comes in for praise having made great strides in safety in recent year and enjoying an extended period of benign loss activity. It has been excellent at pursuing self-regulation and maintaining high safety standards. The tanker sector has seen just 15 total losses over the past decade around the world, according to AGCS analysis.

As to the reasons for ship losses, these can be broken down proportionately with foundering, wrecking and fire/explosion followed by collision as the top causes. Obviously the matter is often not clear cut, collision, as with the Sanchi accounts for just 6% of total global losses (72 in the past ten years) but, to an insurer, the main costs will doubtless come as a result of the devastating fire which followed the initial accident and destroyed a cargo valued at around $60 million, rather than the ten year old ship which carried it.

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