Shipping and Safety in Review

KVH and Videotel play a large role in helping to improve maritime safety through world-class seafarer training, global satellite communications, and an effective cybersecurity strategy

Earlier this summer, Allianz Insurance issued its valuable report on key developments in maritime safety along with an analysis of shipping loss during the past year.  We’ve culled through the report and have some interesting findings to highlight.

Some Good News

Total number of shipping losses (of over 100 gross tons) for the maritime industry remained stable in 2017 to 94 from the previous year’s total of 98 with the 10-year loss average down 17% to 113 of the 1,129 total losses reported. This means that the last decade has seen total losses down 38%, mostly attributable to improved ship design, technology, and risk management and safety advances.

Problem Areas for Shipping

Almost a third of the 94 losses in the last decade have occurred in the South China, Indochina, Indonesia, and Philippines maritime region, with some calling the area the “New Bermuda Triangle”. The region has been the number one area worldwide for major shipping incidents for the past decade. Losses in this traditionally busy region were additionally impacted by bad weather, specifically Typhoon Damrey which contributed to 6 of the 30 of the shipping losses in this region in 2017. The East Mediterranean and Black Sea region suffered the second most losses (17), followed by the British Isles and the Arabian Gulf (14).

What Do the Numbers Say?

The largest ship lost last year was the Very Large Ore Carrier “Stellar Daisy”. The 148,431GT bulker broke up off Uruguay, with the loss of 22 crew. According to the report 50% of the largest ships lost were bulk carriersThoughlarge shipping losses have declined by more than a third (38%) over the past decade, losses still occur. Fire accounted for 30% of largest losses, and foundering or sinking was deemed to be the cause of >50% of total losses in past decade. Interestingly, Friday was found to be the most dangerous day at sea when it came to maritime safety, with 15% of losses occurring on this day.

Where the Problems Lie

The Allianz Review identified 10 areas of concern that faced the shipping industry:

  1. Behavioral and cultural risk
    • Human error continues to be a major driver of incidents at sea with tight schedules straining resources. Continual training is imperative to strike the right balance between human intervention and technology
  2. Container ship fires
    • Major fires are one of the biggest safety issues. The industry needs to ensure adherence to latest risk management standards
  3. A record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season
    • Shippers’ contingency plans should consider that multiple locations can be impacted by adverse weather
  4. Climate change and ice took a toll
    • With over 1,000 icebergs drifting into North Atlantic shipping lanes, specialist training for seafarers and additional routing support is necessary
  5. Exploitation of the seas
    • Increased maritime activity such as fish and wind farms create collision hazards
  6. New emissions rules
    • Compliance and industry preparation likely to be problematic
  7. Cybersecurity
    • Attacks resulting in large economic losses means industry increasing cyber security protections
  8. Drones used for maritime applications
    • Increasingly used by marine surveyors to assess damage with more uses possible such as cargo tank inspections
  9. The autonomous shipping progresses
    • Significant milestones reached, though legal, safety, and security issues persist
  10. Political risk and piracy pose risks
    • Political tensions around major shipping routes pose risk of shipping disruption with piracy hotspots in South East Asia, Africa, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Venezuela,

The full Allianz report is available here. We’d to hear from you. What do you think are the biggest maritime safety risks facing seafarers and shipping? Share your thoughts and let us know.


About Steven Jones 1 Article
Steven is a maritime consultant at KVH, and has worked in shipping for over 25 years. Qualified as Chief Officer, he has worked on a range of vessel types, before moving ashore and working in maritime fraud investigations, professional development and loss prevention. Steven has written a number of key industry texts, and has a Masters’ degree in Communications and Public Relations.