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State of Maritime Safety report launched today

08 April 2020

Ship safety is improving, with vessel total loss incidents in a slow but steady decline between 2015-19, according to the inaugural State of Maritime Safety report published by IHS Markit. However, attention must remain on investment in safety amidst global market volatility, the report argues.

The annual State of Maritime Safety report, launched today, sponsored by DNV GL, provides IHS Markit data-led insights and analysis of vessel casualties and total losses, crew fatalities, inspection and detention regimes and expert maritime industry opinion.

The report shows that vessel total loss incidents have seen a small downward trend between 2015-19, accounting for just 0.09% of the world fleet vessel count in 2019 when compared with 0.16% in 2015.

Despite media coverage suggesting there has been a stark rise in the number of total losses due to fire/explosion, IHS Markit Maritime & Trade data shows that these have remained largely consistent in number, with a mean average of 30.2 vessels a year.

However, the size of vessels lost to fires and explosions is slowly growing, with 196,836 gt in 2019, compared with 156,287 gt in 2015, raising concerns over the effectiveness of fire-detection and prevention systems on larger vessels.

The report finds that total losses between 2015-19 have largely occurred after vessels foundered [ships that sank as a result of heavy weather, springing of leaks or breaking in two] (301 vessels) or were wrecked or stranded (177 vessels). The rise in extreme weather events and low investment in repair and upkeep of machinery and hull damage (the top cause of ship accidents) following the 2008 and 2016 economic downturns, are allowing preventable incidents to turn into tragedies, according to the report.

Key findings in the State of Maritime Safety report include:

  • Vessel losses by type and location and numbers of killed and missing crew
  • Top causes of ship casualties including by incident type and vessel sector
  • The number of lives saved via the Cospas-Sarsat satellite system
  • Trends of vessel detentions including by flag, vessel age and sector

The report offers insight into contemporary risks and concerns, and highlights problem areas that need more attention and safety solutions from the maritime industry.

To download your copy of the report, click here

Image copyright Getty Images/ Gremlin

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