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BULKER SAFETY IMPROVING - BUT NO ROOM FOR COMPLACENCY

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 

Intercargo has published its Bulk Carrier Casualty Report 2018, which provides an analysis of reported bulk carrier losses during the period 2009-2018, when 188 lives were lost and 48 bulk carriers over 10,000 dwt were identified as total losses.

Although there has been no reported loss of a bulk carrier in 2018 and the 10-year trends in annual average numbers of lives and dry cargo ships lost show positive signs of safety improvement, there is no room for complacency, says the trade body.

Cargo failure and liquefaction continue to be a major concern for dry bulk shipping. Nine casualties with loss of 101 seafarers’ lives between 2009 and 2018 were believed to be from cargo related failures - six bulk carriers carrying nickel ore from Indonesia, two with laterite (clay) iron ore from India and one with bauxite from Malaysia.

Lessons learnt from past incidents play an important role in determining the scope of additional safety improvements. 23 investigation reports on these 48 losses were still not submitted to IMO by their flag States, as per information on IMO GISIS database at end January 2019. Examples of pending investigation reports for submission include:

  •  The highest loss of life has been attributed to cargo failure (liquefaction), totalling 101 lives lost from the nine casualties. Two investigation reports of those nine cases have not been submitted to IMO.
  •  The most common reported cause of ship losses has been grounding, totalling 19 losses among the 48 cases. Six investigation reports of those 19 cases have not been submitted to IMO.
  •  Six ships lost with unknown causes claimed 61 lives. Five investigation reports of those six cases have not been submitted to IMO.
  •  Reported flooding led to losses of six ships. No investigation report of those six cases has been submitted to IMO.

The recent publication of the Stellar Daisy Casualty Investigation Report by the Marshall Islands Maritime Administrator (on 19 April 2019) was much expected by the industry and Intercargo had repeatedly urged for its timely submission to IMO, as over two years had passed since the tragic sinking of Stellar Daisy in the South Atlantic on 31 March 2017 with the loss of 22 lives.

Intercargo welcomes the publication of the above report, reiterating the importance of flag States’ timely submission of casualty investigation reports to IMO, as a means for identifying the cause of incidents and enabling preventive actions to be taken. Intercargo will carefully study the report to contribute to this direction and urges all relevant administrations, that have not done so, to investigate incidents and publish the reports in a timely manner.

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