CENTRO INTERNAZIONALE STUDI CONTAINERS
ANNO XXXVIII - Numero LUGLIO 2020
ASIA'S BUSY SHIPPING LANES A HOTSPOT FOR DISASTER, BUT RO-RO
POSES HIGHEST SAFETY RISK
Major ship losses continued to decline last year, but smaller
incidents are on the rise, alongside increased safety risks
resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
Today's Safety & Shipping Review 2020, published by
insurance provider Allianz, reveals 41 ships of over 100 gross tons
were lost in 2019, 20% fewer than in 2018 and 70% fewer than a
Asia was worst hit, with 14 large ship losses, which Allianz
puts down to high levels of trade, busy shipping lanes, older fleets
and typhoon exposure.
There were 15 cargo ships lost last year, most in South-east
Asia, and the report highlights ro-ro vessels as among the biggest
safety risks, with total losses and smaller incidents up 20%.
Rahul Khanna, global head of marine risk consulting at Allianz
said: "The rise in number, and severity, of claims on ro-ro
vessels is concerning. Ro-ros can be more exposed to fire and
stability issues than other vessels. Many have quick turnarounds in
port, and a number of accident investigations have revealed that
pre-sail stability checks were either not carried out as required,
or were based on inaccurate cargo information."
Across all sectors, the number of small incidents, such as those
caused by machinery damage, were up 5% to 2,815.
"We cannot lose sight of the fact that, while total losses
have reduced significantly, the total number of incidents increased
year on year," noted Baptiste Ossena, the Allianz global
product leader for hull insurance.
"It does not take much for a serious incident to result in
a total loss and, hence, the warning signs are there."
For example, Allianz said, there were almost 200 reported fires
on vessels over the past year, a 13% increase, with five total
losses in 2019 alone, with misdeclared cargo the major cause.
Indeed, a spate of containership fires prompted renewed focus on
verified gross mass (VGM) declarations recently, with carriers
implementing new and higher surcharges for misdeclared cargo
And the report highlights the potential safety risks from the
crew change crisis, as well as a raft of other challenges following
the global coronavirus pandemic, lockdowns and, ultimately,
"The inability to change crews is impacting the welfare of
sailors, which could lead to an increase in human error onboard
vessels," Allianz said.
Furthermore, cargo damage and delay are more likely to occur as
supply chains come under strain, the report claims, adding that
disruption of essential maintenance and servicing heightens the risk
of machinery damage - one of the major causes of insurance claims.
Mr Khanna added: "We know from past downturns that crew and
maintenance budgets are among the first areas that can be cut, and
this can impact the safe operations of vessels and machinery,
potentially causing damage or breakdown, which in turn can lead to
groundings or collisions.
"It is crucial that safety and maintenance standards are
not impacted by any downturn."
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