By Captain Rahul Khanna, Worldwide Head of Maritime Danger Consulting, Allianz World Corporate & Specialty
June 7, 2022
Commercial insurance provider Allianz International Company & Specialty introduced its Basic safety & Shipping and delivery Evaluate, an once-a-year evaluation of transport losses and mishaps globally. The 2022 report reveals that the maritime sector proceeds its very long-term positive security trend more than the past yr with 54 total losses of vessels noted globally, when compared with 65 a calendar year earlier. This represents a 57% drop more than 10 years (127 in 2012) even though in the course of the early 1990s the global fleet was dropping 200+ vessels a 12 months.
The 2021 decline total is manufactured more outstanding by the actuality that there are an believed 130,000 ships in the worldwide fleet nowadays, in contrast with some 80,000 30 many years back. These kinds of development displays the enhanced emphasis on protection measures about time through teaching and safety systems, improved ship style, technological innovation and regulation.
Having said that, the sector is not without having its issues. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, expensive difficulties involving much larger vessels, crew and port congestion and controlling decarbonization targets, implies there is no home for complacency.
Another escalating obstacle facing the shipping industry is fireplace on huge vessels, which remains a essential lead to of big losses, necessitating urgent motion to boost vessel safety. A fire on board motor vehicle provider Felicity Age, commencing in February 2022, led to the vessel sinking in the Atlantic Ocean, along with its cargo of 4,000 vehicles. The incident occurred a lot less than one particular year right after a fire led to the sinking of the large container ship X-Push Pearl in Could 2021 off Sri Lanka.
Catastrophic fires on large vessels commonly start out with combustible cargo, which then spreads rapidly and outpaces the firefighting abilities of the crew. The measurement and structure of huge vessels makes hearth detection and combating much more challenging than classic delivery, and the moment crew are forced to abandon ship, crisis response and salvage operations turn into a lot more complicated and pricey, and the risk of a main or whole decline increases.
No permit-up in container ship hearth frequency
Fires on board substantial container ships are a best problem for maritime insurers as a escalating amount of incidents go on to create large losses. The Safety & Delivery Overview assessment shows there have been above 70 reported fires on board container ships on your own in the past 5 years, such as incidents these as the Yantian Express (2019), and the Maersk Honam (2018), which built headlines all around the earth. Additional just lately, a hearth broke out on board the massive container ship Zim Kingston in Oct 2021 soon after a container of harmful items was damaged in a storm.
There have also been numerous in close proximity to misses. In 2021, a container of flammable items brought about a large fireplace and explosion at Dubai’s Jebel Ali port. Safety and indemnity insurance provider Gard estimates that there was at the very least just one fire involving containerized cargo just about every two weeks in 2020.
Fires can consider hold promptly and unfold quickly, nonetheless container ship crews are reasonably compact in quantity, while detecting, finding and accessing a fire in just a stack of containers is time-consuming. Fireplace-battling tools currently demanded less than the Intercontinental Convention for the Safety of Everyday living at Sea (SOLAS) implies crew confront considerable challenges when tackling a container fireplace, and are typically unable to do so productively.
Lessening the chance of hearth on board massive container ships will involve a blend of regulatory action and sector initiatives, and there are encouraging signals that these are underway. Following proposals by insurers, ship owners’ associations and the flag states of Germany and Bahamas, the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO’s) Maritime Security Committee agreed very last calendar year to amend SOLAS with the aim of boosting hearth detection and fighting capabilities on new container ships. Whilst the overview was held up by Covid-19, the amendments are anticipated to enter into power on January 1, 2028.
However, with the regulatory improvements some many years absent, the emphasis will be on the shipping and delivery market to deal with the challenge in the limited term. We now have ships that are pretty much too large for the crew to combat fires effectively. There needs to be an urgent critique of hearth detection and preventing protections and equipment on board significant container ships.
Cargo mis-declaration at coronary heart of issue
Addressing a root trigger for fires on board container ships is crucial to resolving the issue.
A range of blazes at sea in new yrs have been traced again to combustible or mis-declared cargos in containers, which include batteries, charcoal and chemical compounds this sort of as calcium hypochlorite, an component in cleaning products and solutions.
In March 2022, the US Coastline Guard (USCG) issued a protection inform about the threat posed by lithium batteries pursuing two individual container fires brought about by mis-declared cargo. The 1st, saw a shipping and delivery container waiting to be loaded onto a container ship certain for China capture fire. According to the USCG, the payments of lading indicated that the container was carrying ‘synthetic resins’ when, in simple fact, it held utilized lithium-ion batteries.
In a comparable incident in August 2021, a container entire of discarded lithium batteries caught fireplace although currently being transported by highway to the Port of Virginia, in which it was owing to be loaded on to a container ship. The cargo was mis-declared as ‘computer parts’. These incidents would have been perhaps “catastrophic” experienced the containers caught fireplace immediately after staying loaded aboard the container ships, the USCG said.
It is believed that close to 10% of all containers loaded on board ships consist of declared risky cargo. On the other hand, about 5% of containers shipped consists of undeclared harmful items — both owing to administrative mistake or currently being intentionally mis-declared. For illustration, this would equate to 1,000 teu or far more of undeclared harmful cargo on board a 24,000 teu extremely-significant container vessel.
In 2019, the Worldwide Union of Marine Coverage (IUMI) and other stakeholders co-sponsored a submission to the Intercontinental Maritime Firm (IMO) Sub Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers proposing a thorough assessment of the Worldwide Maritime Harmful Merchandise Code (IMDG Code), which outlined and categorized perilous merchandise, as nicely as treatments for declaration. At existing, some of those commodities are not regarded as risky and do not have to have to be declared as these by the shipper to the carrier.